Language no barrier for Ukraine students at Kogarah IEC
An open day at Kogarah High School’s Intensive English Centre has helped Ukraine students and parents with their transition to Australian life.
Kogarah High School’s Intensive English Centre (IEC) has hosted a range of international students over the years, but perhaps none timelier than the 22 girls and boys who’ve come from Ukraine.
Part of a cohort of almost 200 students from the war-torn Eastern European country in the NSW public education system, they have been sharpening their English skills ahead of transitioning to local high schools.
Recently the school’s IEC had an open day for parents of the students as well as Department staff from other schools, teachers, counsellors and school learning support officers (SLSOs).
It provided a welcome opportunity for the parents of the new students to access a range of services and information that will assist their families transition to life in Australia.
Ukrainian student Lena Lukiantseva even gave a brief address; ‘My first weeks in an Australian school.’
“I like the students here; the teachers are very supportive. I am learning English slowly – step by step,” she told SBS.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said it had been a very successful integration for students at the school.
“I think it is really important that as a government and as a school system we are supporting these students from the Ukraine who would have been through some very harrowing experiences I’m sure,” Ms Mitchell said.
“If we can play a small part in helping them to settle in Australia and to have an opportunity for a great education, then I just think that is such an important thing we do.”
There are currently over 11,100 students from refugee backgrounds that are enrolled in NSW public schools with a large number in the Greater Sydney region.
Over 1,200 of these students have been in Australia for less than one year with this number increasing now that borders are open.
Specialist English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) teachers, mainstream teachers, school counselling staff and bilingual Student Learning Support Officers (SLSO) work together to meet the educational, settlement and welfare needs of students from refugee backgrounds and their families.
“I think the parents really got something out of it, there were plenty of questions,” said Maria Moschatos, Head Teacher Kogarah IEC.
“(They are) all very vulnerable and appreciated how we provided a one-stop-shop for them to access so many services.”