"Let the student learn"
Alia College, Hawthorn East VIC
“People who read these pages often comment that they are too good to be true. We see so much spin in general communication these days that we automatically expect to find it everywhere. For this reason, we allow unprecedented access to the College everyday and allow visitors to meet the students. This way you can make up your own mind about whether this school is the right place for you or your children.”
— Founder and Principal of Alia College, Bob Morgan
The school is built around values of tolerance, creativity, self-expression, respect and responsibility. The problem of course is that every school can say that, and people are so used to hearing spin that nothing can be believed until it is observed.
Although the curriculum that Alia College provides is the same as mainstream schools, the environment in which Alia College provides this education is very different.
Alia College seeks to develop students who are reflective and creative thinkers encouraged and supported by a passionate and good-humoured team of collaborative educators. Students report that they feel more respected and connected with staff. We keep class sizes smaller so that teachers and staff can get to know each student as an individual. Teachers have the time to interact with each student, to understand their needs and enjoy a vibrant and professional teaching environment. This allows the student to make the most of their individual strengths.
Alia College, an independent secondary school of less than 100 students in Melbourne’s inner East, cannot easily be described as any one “type” of school.
Alia has established a degree of cheerful productivity in an atmosphere of open communication. Visitors say that the unstrained, spontaneous reactions of students are refreshing and immediately obvious upon visiting the school.
The school does not fit with other strongly academic schools because it is considerate of students’ concerns and feelings. It does not ascribe to the militaristic discipline and uniform dress requirements of traditional English public schools. It is equally supportive of students who are artistic, creative or practical. Nor does it fit with the usual alternative, progressive, holistic, caring, community type schools because it has high expectations of academic learning.
If you are keen to attend Alia College and have concerns about your ability to pay fees then you are welcome to apply for a General Excellence Scholarship (bursary). To apply for a scholarship, write us a letter/email explaining why you might be good for the school and/or why the school might be good for you. You can include a bit about your story or anything else you think might sway us.
We will read what you say and consider it in relation to how a student like you might fit into our currently enrolled group, whether we think you or someone else wrote it, and how nice or awful a day we’ve just had.
The questions you answer/ details you include in your application are up to you. You can include as many or as few as you like – although if you send us a short novel we might not get to time to read it. We are not into such things as key performance indicators that must be thoroughly addressed in order to get past the first base. The one thing that you must include is your contact details (name, email address and telephone number).
Alia caters to students with differing levels of academic ability and aims. We don't believe that an ATAR necessarily reflects the achievement of all students, as each has their experience tailored to their needs. Some students come to Alia with the appropriate self-motivation and aim to achieve a very high ATAR, and are fully supported in doing so, while other students are simply looking to finish high school in a pleasant and non-authoritarian environment.
Alia College offers a varied curriculum aimed at success in Year 12. It goes beyond the requirements of the state and federal government curricula and includes Mathematics, Science, English, Philosophy, Humanities, Health, Drama, Media, Cooking, languages such as Latin, Japanese and French, PE, Art, Music, work experience, and outdoor education. Alia also offers many opportunities for individualised study. At Alia College, students can expect academic challenge (at their own level) in a variety of forms, including traditional instruction, projects, open-ended explorations, experimental learning and direct testing.
Our approach strongly supports students who wish to be proactive in their own education and encourages students who have been discouraged. Being a small school, we can readily accommodate students’ differing learning styles and academic strengths. And because class sizes are small, students can be accommodated and listened to. Students have almost one to one tuition. We hire teachers who show love for their subjects and who are able to present their discipline without the support of a formal rigid punishment system. Students can expect teachers who relate to them as real people. When teachers enjoy their subjects, enthusiasm is contagious. We believe in knowing our students well so that they can achieve their best.
The student-focused and democratic nature of Alia College means that whatever student push their interest in is open to becoming an extra-curricular activity. These activities have in the past included sailing, individual research projects, independent study, yoga, chess, stock market trading, debating, photography, camping, skiing, bicycle trips and overseas and local excursions.
Soccer is a favourite sport at Alia College and at least every Friday lunchtime, students and teachers trek to the nearby oval to play a friendly and inclusive match. Students and teachers often run these events together and this contributes to community integration. A regular Physical Education program is a part of timetabled classes.
Alia College is located in Hawthorn East, approximately 7 kilometres east of the CBD.
Public transport options include:
For more information, visit Public Transport Victoria’s Journey Planner.
Cycling is a healthy, invigorating and environmentally friendly way to get to school – and you don’t have to live that close with Melbourne’s growing network of bike paths making travel easier. The Gardiners Creek Trail, a major shared pedestrian and cycle route is less than 5 minutes down Cato Street, and connects to many other major cycle routes around Melbourne, including the Main Yarra Trail.
We have undercover bike racks to provide a secure anchor for you to lock your bike. These are open to students and staff and do not require any prior authorisation in order to use them. Other facilities such as showers are also available.
For more information on tips and routes, visit Bicycle Network.
Dear Bob and the rest of the gang,
I just wanted to say thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to attend Alia. If it hadn’t been for you guys, I’m not entirely sure where I’d be, but I know for certain that I would not be nearly as happy as I am now. I consider my move to Alia as one of the best choices I’ve ever made, and will always consider it as one of the happiest memories of my (still very short) life. You guys provided me not only an education I could actually enjoy, but it also provided me with a community, a sense of belonging and some much needed chicken soup for my soul.
If you ever need any help with the school, please let me know and I’ll do all I can to help. I’m loving Uni, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today, or where I am today, without your efforts and visions … so basically, thankyou, with all my heart.
Love and tickles,
From an Alia graduate after her first year of university
Going to school has always been an irksome duty for my son [Q] until he transferred to Alia College. Now he is happy to travel an hour each way to attend school. The students at Alia are remarkably friendly, open and well adjusted. The teachers have each student’s best interests at heart and educate them with encouragement, enthusiasm, humour and wisdom. The atmosphere is one of cameraderie that fosters in the growing child, positive self-development and a desire for learning. Discipline is gentle but firm and the school promotes high academic standards.
[Q] has a [minor but very noticeable deformity] and at his previous schools he was cruelly teased because of it. Over the years the cumulative effect of this was to seriously undermine his confidence and his self-esteem. There has been none of that at Alia College. The students have all accepted and welcomed [Q] into the group.
I believe Alia College provides an excellent educational experience for its students that will help them to “find their way” in life and to succeed in whatever they choose to do.
From the parent of a recently enrolled student
Alia offers informal brief visits to potential students and their parents. A brief visit is a great way for interested students and families to see a student group discussion (homeroom meeting) and get an idea of what the school is like, and how the students act, dress and relate. You can experience the difference here in a short period of time giving the prospective student an idea of whether they would like to come along to Alia on a formalised Trial Day.
Mostly the meetings focus on whatever is on students’ minds at the time. If someone refers to a foot injury you are liable to hear a dozen foot injury stories. Sometimes a news or sporting event produces a lot of discussion. Sometimes, if you are lucky, there will be a question or difficulty up for discussion and you will see a problem resolution process in action.
Brief visits start at around 8.50am, any day of the school week, and run for about 40 minutes. Upon arrival you will be taken on a student-led tour of the school, before sitting in on a homeroom meeting. The timing is quite significant. What you are going to see is quite important and sometimes only lasts for 5 or 10 minutes, so we ask that you don’t arrive any later than 9.00am.
(as voted by site visitors)