Beyond the Bell is a community-led initiative committed to ensuring all young people in the Great South Coast are supported and inspired to achieve their full potential.

We believe that education is the key to unlocking life opportunities. Those who complete Year 12 or equivalent (VCAL or Certificate II) are more likely to be healthier, wealthier and happier.

Young people in the Great South Coast are less likely to achieve Year 12 than their metropolitan counterparts. Beyond the Bell’s vision is for 90 per cent of our young people are achieving Year 12 or equivalent.

To achieve our goal, Beyond the Bell engages with all sectors in our regional and local communities. Seven Local Action Groups work diligently with community and partners to offer innovative solutions that support our young people on the ground. Bespoke program facilitation ensures that local solutions are offered for local problems. Regionally led initiatives advocate for large scale systems change. 

Beyond the Bell was founded in 2012 and aims to achieve our mission by 2030.


Beyond the Bell supports young people to be engaged with education from birth to young adulthood. We view educational attainment as a continuum from 0-19 and innovate at every stage to give our young people the best life opportunities.

Beyond the Bell supports young people to thrive by:

Supporting Social and Emotional Wellbeing so that young people are resilient and well connected.

Encouraging Early Years Literacy and supporting transitions so every child is ready for school.

Increasing access to services and pathways to Support Disadvantaged Young People to engage in education.

Promoting education so that children, young people and families are Engaged in Learning and aspire to meaningful careers and jobs.

Creating Collaborative Practice between thought leaders and change makers in the Great South Coast to interrogate data, undertake research and tackle the wicked problems facing our young people.


Beyond the Bell uses a Collective Impact approach to drive place based, community wide change so that our young people can thrive. Collective Impact is a framework that encourages collaboration across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organisations and community members. It is based on the recognition that no single person, organisation, sector or government can tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society. 

Beyond the Bell works to bring the many stakeholders in the Great South Coast who are involved in the delivery of programs, services and education to improve outcomes for our young people together. Coordinating our efforts and developing a mutually reinforcing plan of action means that together we can change support our young people to thrive.



Beyond the Bell is guided by our Theory of Change.


In late 2017 the Beyond the Bell collective came together to develop five strategic priorities which would guide the work of the collective between 2018 and 2020.

Three overarching themes emerged from further discussion and analysis of the priority areas.  These themes are inter-related, and overlapping and affect all aspects of our work:

1. Culture:

the beliefs and attitudes that determine how the families, parents and others in the Great South Coast region behave, interact, and access services and how agencies and organisations work together, support each other.

2. Access:

has a dramatic impact on educational attainment.  Access to services due to distance and cost and lack of transport; access to higher education and role models; and access to opportunities to experience cultural activities to name a few.

3. Families:

Family structure and background is known to affect educational engagement and attainment, including parent education levels, occupations, household income, size and attitudes towards education.  Many of the Beyond the Bell interventions and activities are based on family centred practices.

The following priority areas are also interconnected and draw on the above themes.

Our goal: Children and young people are resilient and well connected.

There is a substantial body of evidence which shows that initiatives to build the Social and Emotional Wellbeing, Social and Emotional Learning, and School Connectedness of school students enhances learning outcomes and builds protective health factors. 

Our Social and Emotional Wellbeing work:

Live4Life in Glenelg and Southern Grampians –A youth mental health initiative upskilling young people and the community about teen mental health first aid. 

The Outdoor Effect  and Walk and Talk in Colac Otway – A bush adventure therapy program aiming to increase the social and emotional wellbeing of young people

AIME Mentoring Program in Colac Otway program to develop skills, knowledge of pathways post year 12 of Indigenous youth. 

I Can Mentoring Program in Moyne supporting students with autism through ongoing in school intervention. 

Rural School Communities of Practice Project in Moyne increase knowledge of trauma, informed interventions, sharing of learnings and challenges in student behaviour/wellbeing issues in small rural schools. 

 The Climate Schools Program in Colac Otway digital program increasing health and wellbeing knowledge of students.

Our goal: Children are ready for school with good language and speech skills.

Investing in resources to support high quality early childhood learning has been found to have significant and long-lasting effects on children’s educational attainment and improved long-term education, health, social behaviour and employment outcomes.  This translates into societal and economic benefits. 

Our Early Years Literacy work:

Literacy Challenge Project in Southern Grampians Professional development and community forums increasing community awareness of the importance of literacy. 

Early Years Reading Parents Seminar in Casterton – community event raising  awareness on the impact and importance of the early years for literacy. 

The Open Book, Let’s Read and Reading Champions Programs in Corangamite – increasing access to books, promoting and increasing exposure to reading. 

The Little Book Boxes initiative in Glenelg – increasing access to books and promoting reading in the community. 

Growing Greater Readers in Southern Grampians increasing access to books via outdoor book boxes and promotion of reading. Little Book Bugs in Warrnambool – increasing access to books in the community via book boxes.

Our goal: Vulnerable children and young people are able to access services and pathways when and where needed. 

A student’s family background plays a large role in determining his or her educational pathway. At all stages of learning and development, there remains a strong and persistent link between a young person’s socio-economic status, culture and educational outcomes. 

Our Disadvantaged Young People work:

Stepping Stones to School in Glenelg, Casterton and expanding into Southern Grampians – improving kinder to school transitions for vulnerable families. 

Donate for the Kids in Warrnambool gathering school specific donations to aid vulnerable families. 

School Food in Warrnambool eliminating student fatigue and food insecurity by preparing and distributing toasted sandwiches to schools. 

Continuum of Need project in Colac Otway and Corangamite – supporting schools and service providers to achieve a coordinated interagency response for students.

Our Goal: Children, young people and their families are engaged in education and training and aspire to meaningful careers and jobs. 

There is evidence that positive parental engagement in learning and education improves academic achievement and educational attainment. Evidence also suggests that school engagement and attendance is linked to better educational outcomes. Research suggests that clear visible and attainable pathways to attractive training and employment options assists with educational attainment. 

Our Engagement with Learning work

Corangamite Trade Training Cluster support in Corangamite strengthening pathways to employment through vocational education and training opportunities. 

The Regional Transitions Program in Colac Otway – assisting vulnerable year 6 students to transition into secondary school. 

Every Day Counts in Warrnambool – campaign encouraging families to rethink unnecessary school absences.

Our Goal: High performing Beyond the Bell governance, systems and partnerships

Effective light weight governance ensures the future success of Beyond the Bell, with the support of strong leadership and region wide commitment. Strategic partnerships with all government sectors, philanthropic organisations, community organisations, businesses and citizens are also critical for long term sustainability and viability.  

Our Collaborative Practice work

Collaborative Table regional group of thought leaders leading regional change 



A voluntary Board of up to 9 members has responsibility for the governance of Beyond the Bell, helping to provide strategic oversight for the imitative and ensure legislative compliance.

btb structure

Francis Broekman


alistair mccosh

Alistair McCosh

andrew jeffers

Andrew Jeffers

edith farrell

Edith Farrell

jeannine creely

Jeannine Creely

leeona van duynhoven

Leeona Van Duynhoven

michael gray

Michael Gray


The Collaborative Table is a voluntary group of community leaders who develop regional collaborative strategies, review data and identify leverage point to enable young people in the Great South Coast to thrive.

Elisia Nichol

Iain Jackson

Janette Lowe

Julie Dreschler

Leon Carey

Kate Roache

Edith Farrell


Local Action Groups develop and implement innovative programs across the Great South Coast region. For key contacts in your region email info@btb.org.au


A regional backbone team develop partnerships, support evaluation, implement regional projects and support the work of the Board, Collaborative Table and Local Action Groups.

Kate Roache

Executive Officer


Beyond the Bell developed an evaluation framework in 2017, which has formed the foundation of our measurement system. BtB acknowledges the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for their support of this work. 

We are currently revisiting and revising this framework to create a  Shared Evaluation Framework. This work is being undertaken with the assistance of  Phoebe Nagorcka-Smith. 

Our shared evaluation framework uses mixed-methods for monitoring and evaluation to regularly appraise progress. Key areas of focus are:

  • Changes in systems, environments, and determinants of educational attainment, including short and medium term indicators;
  • The success and impact of collaboration undertaken within and between regions, including opportunities for leverage;
  • The processes used as a part of the project, for example those demonstrated through planning documents such as project logics.

The Beyond the Bell regional team will work with Local Action Groups in 2020 to evaluate one existing program using the framework.