Changing student perceptions of homelessness through the Big Issue Classroom

A Victorian Government partnership with The Big Issue brings guest speakers who have experienced homelessness online.

What does it mean to be homeless? Can anyone find themselves in this situation? Why are there so many people sleeping rough each night? Is there a way out? These questions and more are discussed as part of the unique Big Issue Classroom program provided by The Big Issue.

The Victorian Government has teamed up with the Big Issue to provide up to 189 Victorian government secondary schools with a free e-Classroom opportunity in Terms 2 and 3 in 2020.

The Big Issue Classroom

The Big Issue Classroom is an interactive experience which gives primary and secondary students an insight into the homelessness experienced by more than 116,000 Australians every night.

Through discussion and activity, students have the opportunity to reflect on:

  • the causes and results of homelessness
  • the importance of resources and community
  • their own choices, circumstances and support networks
  • the role of social enterprises in addressing some of Australia's most critical social issues.

As part of the program, students hear from a guest speaker who has experienced homelessness first-hand, helping to break down stereotypes surrounding disadvantage in our community and gain an understanding of social isolation and marginalisation.

Since starting in 2009, The Big Issue Classroom has spoken to more than 150,000 students and created more than 7,500 guest speaker opportunities.

The Big Issue Classroom has strong curriculum links to Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Health and Physical Education and English learning areas. Workshops build resilience amongst participants and act as an early intervention for at-risk students.

Speakers are employed to share their personal stories, meaning every workshop booked provides a shift of work for an Australian experiencing disadvantage.

Workshop registration

With on-site workshops cancelled since late Term 1 2020, the Big Issue has adapted to provide more of its Big Classroom experiences in an online format. Led by a skilled facilitator, each workshop is designed to provoke thought and discussion through engaging activities.

Schools will have the option of online or face-to-face classrooms based at the Big Issue Melbourne premises. For further enquiries, and to register for a workshop, contact

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