MLS alumnus leading transition for Indigenous students

Executive Director of the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School and Melbourne Law School alumnus Edward Tudor is helping to support Indigenous students as they transition to education away from home.

The Melbourne Indigenous Transition School's ground breaking earlier this year
The Melbourne Indigenous Transition School's ground breaking earlier this year

MITS will welcome 22 boys and girls from across regional Victoria and remote communities from the Northern Territory Top End early next year.

Mr Tudor (LLB 2010) says the school is needed to address the disadvantage faced by Indigenous students, with data revealing at a Grade 5 level, less than 52 per cent of remote Indigenous students achieve national minimum standards for reading.

By Year 7, it drops to less than 31 per cent, compared to the national average of almost 95 per cent.

“MITS recognises the innate capabilities of many young Indigenous students, the strong desire of students and their families to receive a great education outside of their home community, and the willingness of Melbourne schools to offer scholarship opportunities to Indigenous students,” Mr Tudor says.

“These opportunities are allowing more Indigenous students to complete secondary school and become leaders in their communities.  However, for regional and remote Indigenous students, it is often too difficult to transition into these opportunities.

“MITS addresses the immense challenges - academic, cultural and social - faced by remote and regional students as they transition to education away from home and supports those students to access educational opportunities in Melbourne.”

MITS Executive Director and MLS alumnus Edward Tudor
MITS Executive Director and MLS alumnus Edward Tudor

Work began on MITS in 2006, with a steering committee formed in 2008, followed by community consultation and fundraising to undertake capital works.

It has been funded jointly through donations from private donors, in-kind support of corporate supporters, and a one-off Federal Government capital grant, and will receive Federal and State student funding once it is operational.

It also hopes to raise more than $400,000 each year from philanthropic sources.

Mr Tudor says students will spend 12 months at MITS in what endeavours to be a “warm, home style environment that celebrates culture and understands the challenges of transitioning from remote community to big city”.

“We have a commitment to supporting small groups of students from the same communities into the same schools in Melbourne, so that students have essential peer support, and so that remote and regional communities may build strong, long-term relationships with particular Melbourne schools,” he says.

Following their year at MITS, students will transition into scholarship opportunities at one of its more than 20 high-performing partner schools.

Mr Tudor says the goal of MITS is that its students will transition into Melbourne schools with strengthened academic capabilities and a strong sense of cultural identity, allowing them to obtain a great education away from home.

“Through cultural celebration and support, we hope that our students will feel strong in themselves, and their cultural identity, despite being away from their country.”

“In the longer term, we hope that our students will have the support and the skills to allow them a life full of choices, in which they can reach their ambitions and achieve great things personally and for their communities,” he says.

Mr Tudor’s role in establishing MITS follows four years in King & Wood Mallesons’ public mergers and acquisitions team, including a secondment to its recently merged Beijing office.

By Andy Walsh