Refugee student support

Many students from refugee backgrounds need support in learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) to enable them to access the curriculum. They may also have emotional, wellbeing and other educational support needs as a result of their experiences, and sometimes disrupted or limited prior schooling.

Like all students, refugee students need a safe and welcoming school environment. School-aged refugee students, in particular high school students, generally require intensive and coordinated support.

Schools receive resources to provide EAL/D support for students from refugee backgrounds through the New Arrivals Program or the English language proficiency equity loading.

Additional resources to support refugee students are provided through the refugee student support allocation, a targeted (individual student) funding component of the Resource Allocation Model. Schools receive a per capita amount for each refugee student who has been enrolled in an Australian school for less than 3 years. Data collected in the EAL/D annual survey is used to allocate these funds.

Funds may be used to provide:

  • bilingual learning support
  • specialist counsellor or psychological support
  • additional English language learning and literacy support
  • support to assist refugee students to participate actively in the school community
  • support before, during and after transition into mainstream school
  • mentoring to support refugee students in their transition to work or further education.

Refugee student support funding must be used in the calendar year for which it is allocated.

For more information go to the Multicultural education website.

Supporting students from refugee backgrounds

Effective support for refugee students requires a coordinated whole school approach. Many schools have developed programs and strategies to support refugee students.

Examples of the effective use of the allocation include:

  • supporting teachers to differentiate teaching and learning through EAL/D professional learning that focuses on refugee education
  • creating a refugee student support coordinator or team to coordinate personalised support for students from refugee backgrounds
  • identifying and targeting support for refugee students, including
    • mentoring
    • tutoring
    • support before, during and after transition points
    • peer support
    • bilingual support
    • work readiness programs or transition to further education
    • provision of essential equipment to facilitate active participation in school activities and the community.

All schools have a Strategic Improvement Plan in which they must show the school community how they propose to use the refugee student support funds. Accountability for the effective use of the funds to improve student outcomes occurs through the school's annual report.

Refer to the Supporting refugee students page for more information.


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