Orbis designs and delivers exemplary learning for educators

who we are

“The opportunity to slow down and work intensively on mathematical content and pedagogy has been invaluable to my team and I. Three words to describe our first 2 days at Orbis:
Emma Hayward, Victor Harbor R-7 School

“The Orbis intensives value added to my knowledge and provided time for me to reflect on my leadership direction and future work. I found the program CHALLENGING, INSPIRING and MOTIVATING.”
Fiona Perry, Port Pirie West Primary School

”The discussion and permission around allowing yourself time for performance practice to strive to be better was a great start to my learning. The first intensive for me was THOUGHT PROVOKING, ENGAGING and FRESH.”
Tamra Waye, Colonel Light Gardens Primary School





The facts

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The South Australian Department for Education is committed to being the best education system in Australia, ensuring that the educational outcomes for children and young people in our state are world-class.

To do this, we need to support our people to be their best, developing expert teachers and quality leaders with the capability to lead learning and achieve growth for every child.

The best systems in Australia and around the world have an institute or academy model to assure the quality of the professional learning and leadership development offerings. Orbis emerged from a process designed to discover how the delivery of exemplary professional learning can elevate our system’s performance.

Let's reflect back on what we set out to achieve:

  • We want professional learning to be exemplary and a key driver towards achieving our ambition of a world-class education system in 10 years.
  • We want to elevate our teachers' practice so they can make a positive change to their practices and student learning outcomes.
  • We want a purpose built learning space designed for adult learning that fosters engagement and collaboration.
  • We want to engage the best providers from around the world to deliver the very best professional learning for South Australian teachers and leaders.

“We’ve committed to South Australia becoming a world-class public education system within 10 years. It’s no small feat. We’re only going to get there if we whole-heartedly embrace this challenge.”
Laura Schonfeldt, Executive Director, Department for Education, South Australia

"The mindset behind Orbis is what I picture when I talk about our 10-year vision. It’s bold and progressive but also grounded in best-evidence. It’s turning our big ambition into action.”
Rick Persse, Chief Executive,Department for Education, South Australia


Our work

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On April 9, 2019 Orbis Exemplary Learning landed - we delivered a purpose built adult learning facility in Hindmarsh. We engaged The University of Melbourne and Harvard Graduate School of Education to design and deliver our programs in literacy, numeracy and instructional leadership.

Our model is different and that’s what makes our professional learning exemplary. We co-design our programs with our people and with the experts. Our programs are based on contemporary research and best practice.

  • Our professional learning is designed to be a team effort. We know that bringing a group of teachers together creates opportunity for real change in practice and student learning.
  • We tailor the learning to suit each cohort and each individual teacher and leader.
  • We deliver on our promises. We're world-class and guarantee our partners and providers are globally recognised.
  • We deliver the best evidence based professional learning to South Australian educators.


Co-design meetings


Design summits

“The engagement of Harvard and the University of Melbourne is just the beginning, and I am confident that as Orbis expands it will become a national leader in professional development for teachers and leaders.”
South Australian Education Minister John Gardner

“The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is delighted to partner with Orbis to deliver crucial professional development for leaders in schools to increase their expertise and develop the capacity of their teams.”
Dr Jim Watterston, Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne


Our reach

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In 2019, teachers and leaders from every corner of South Australia took part in our pilot programs - from Andamooka to Nangwarry, Ceduna to Renmark - they made the journey to Hindmarsh to engage in our world-class professional learning to improve their practice and the learning outcomes for students.

In our first year, 162 educators from across South Australia took part in our pilot programs: Literacy R-3, Literacy 7-9, Numeracy R-3, Instructional Leadership and the Harvard Leadership for School Excellence program in Sydney.

We have reached many South Australian schools in our inaugural year - from small schools like Tarlee and Koolunga to metro sites like Glenunga International, Mitcham Girls High, Adelaide High School and Linden Park Primary - and the list keeps growing.

"I encourage other teachers and leaders to participate in the programs offered at Orbis because much of the learning is practical, it will help you to refine your practices and support students’ learning more effectively.”
Hayley Ramsay, Teacher, Loxton High School

“…It is such a privilege to work with such amazing educational presenters and other leaders, all working towards achievement of improvement goals, it often feels like the learning has been tailored to our exact current needs. I can't recommend the learning highly enough.“
Sally Wright, Principal, Loxton Primary School


Our achievements

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We built an elite adult learning facility, engaged world-class providers and enabled teachers to improve their practice.

Our goal was clear - provide exemplary professional learning to South Australian educators. After 300 participant surveys we now know that we achieved this goal in 2019. Our greatest strength was listening to our people - being responsive and curating our learning to suit the needs of every educator in every Orbis program.

  • We kept our promise of providing world-class professional learning with providers from The University of Melbourne and Harvard University.
  • Our applied learning project made a difference in school classrooms and we saw a positive impact in student learning outcomes.
  • The Orbis purpose built facility promoted collaboration and meaningful learning for South Australian educators.


of teachers graduated their Orbis program


of teachers will recommend Orbis programs to their colleagues


of teachers said that the Orbis program positively impacts student learning


of participants said their colleagues can benefit from Orbis programs

“The Orbis program has allowed us to build relationships, share resources, communicate planning, analyse data and share our expertise with one another. I strongly believe this collaborative approach contributes to school improvement and student success.”
Kara Voight, Loxton Primary School

“The Literacy R-3 program was thought provoking, refreshing and affirming. The content delivered was a wonderful blend of research, theory and practical ideas that I can embed within my classroom.”
Jane Wetherall, Clare Primary School


Our future

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Orbis has had huge success in 2019, with overwhelming interest in our program offerings. We’ve added more available places to meet the demand for our exemplary professional learning.

Orbis will continue to focus on fine-tuning our approach, and deliver world-class professional learning to South Australian educators. We're working on new and exciting projects to expand on our exemplary offerings, and in 2020 and 2021 we will:

  • Launch Literacy 3-6 and Preschool programs.
  • Take our programs on the road so remote towns in South Australia can benefit from the Orbis professional learning closer to home.
  • Build a second level to the Orbis learning space in Hindmarsh, so we can meet the demand for more exemplary professional learning for educators in South Australia.
  • Launch our much anticipate eLearning, designed to be an on-demand, online learning experience accessible to all South Australian educators.

    *due to the impact of Covid-19 the information on participants numbers included in this report may have changed.


New Orbis participants in 2020


New cohorts


New schools taking part in 2020


Primary schools


High schools


Area schools

“The Harvard Leadership for School Excellence program is hands down the best professional learning I've ever done. I really hope others get to experience this too!”
Graeme Fenton, Principal, Wynn Vale Primary School

“Through the establishment of Orbis we have the architecture to deliver highly effective professional learning that will build the teaching profession for generations to come.”
Rick Persse, Chief Executive, Department for Education, South Australia.

Thank you for taking the time to explore our achievement from 2019. Please get in touch with your feedback. If you're interested in partnering with us please get in touch. Finally to see our progress and for all other things Orbis please visit our website.

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