UPDATE: Monday 11am
Two south-west schools have finished in the top three at the Victorian Education Excellence Awards.
The prestigious awards were held in Melbourne on Friday night and recognise the state's most outstanding teachers and schools.
Warrnambool West Primary School was named a finalist in the Outstanding School Improvement Award in September, as was Portland Primary School, which was named an Outstanding Koorie Education Award finalist.
Frankston North Education Plan won the Outstanding School Improvement Award, while Reservoir East Primary School took out the Outstanding Koorie Education Award.
Warrnambool West Primary School principal Claire Monk said despite not winning they were "absolutely thrilled" to finish in the top three in the state.
"A big thank you to staff, students and families who have contributed to our improvement in student learning and wellbeing outcomes," Ms Monk said. "We are proud of our ongoing work and through our shared commitment, vision and courage, Warrnambool West is a great place to work and learn."
Education minister Natalie Hutchins congratulated the winners and finalists, including principals, teachers and support staff, for playing a critical role in making the state's schools the best in the nation.
"These awards are a fantastic way to recognise and celebrate the invaluable work of the outstanding teachers and leaders in our education system," Ms Hutchins said.
Warrnambool West Primary School has transformed into a "high performing school" and its improvement has led to it being named a Victorian Education Excellence Award finalist.
The facility is one of three finalists in the Outstanding School Improvement Award which recognises exceptional school staff within a state government school who have demonstrated excellence to improve school outcomes.
"Despite the challenges of 2020 and 2021, the improvement team has transformed Warrnambool West into a high performing school, significantly reducing the impact of disadvantage that is present among the students and families it serves," the award summary said.
The school is led by new principal Clare Monk, who started in 2019, and a team including assistant principal Karen Holdsworth, Meagan Roberts and Liz Hopkins, who have been working hard to improve students' achievements and well-being.
They also worked to change and improve staff culture and build relationships with families.
Ms Monk said being a finalist was really exciting for the students, their families and the school, where there was equal focus on learning and student well-being.
"They're so interconnected so that was our focus," she said. "I've got passionate staff dedicated to finding every opportunity for students to thrive."
The diverse school has 119 students with more than 40 per cent of its cohort made up of Indigenous students and children with English their second language.
Victorian Department of Education and Training senior education improvement leader Cherie Kilpatrick said it was a great recognition for the school.
"The leadership team have been absolutely committed to showing outstanding educational opportunities and outcomes for every student," she said.
"In a relatively short time, through working in a highly ethical and dedicated manner they've managed to improve significant data sets in literacy and numeracy and in student engagement and well being.
"I applaud the school's efforts and achievements. It's thoroughly deserved that they've been recognised in this way."
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