Wellington Public School

In-school family referral service

Wellington Public School engaged a paraprofessional community support officer to identify and broker services for families, with a specific aim to improve attendance.

School context



School type Primary
School subtype K - 6
Current student enrolment 421 - 515 students
FOEI range 151 - 200
Aboriginal background enrolment 51 - 60%
EAL/D enrolment 0 - 10%
IEC No
Support class(es) Yes
School demographic information

Wellington Public School engaged a paraprofessional community support officer to identify and broker services for families, with a specific aim to improve attendance.

Initiative purpose

The school identified a disconnect between the school and other agencies, which impacted on the school’s communication and support for students and their families, particularly in their home context. There was a clear need for the school to facilitate the building of relationships between local agencies and their families with support needs.

Wellington Public School engaged a paraprofessional community support officer to identify and broker services for families, with a specific aim to improve attendance.

Implementation timeframe and activities

The initiative began in 2018 when the school engaged a school learning support officer (SLSO), to work in collaboration with the local community support agency.

Relationships were built between the families and the local agencies with the school used as a common meeting place, so that families could feel more comfortable in a familiar and non-threatening environment. This enabled the school to build closer relationships with families and assist them to make appointments with services in the community and arrange support for families at times of need.

The school observed a significant increase in parents accessing services including paediatricians, through the implementation of a referral service that has resulted in more effective and informed transition programs to better prepare the students for success in the early years. The promotion of and access to external agencies has made it easier to address personal needs, for example, with better access to welfare and health services.

The opportunity to build upon this collaboration was extended by the school contributing to the funding of a school-based psychologist to work with individual students and families in providing therapy-based trauma support.

Wellington Public School engaged a paraprofessional community support officer to identify and broker services for families, with a specific aim to improve attendance.

Resources and funding sources

The school utilised their socio-economic background equity loading to resource the following:

  • Uniting family connector facilitation fee ($52,000)
  • a full-time community engagement officer ($79,109)
  • school contribution for psychologist ($73,449).

The school utilised their Aboriginal background equity loading to resource the following:

  • a full-time Aboriginal school learning support officer ($68,101)
  • a full-time Aboriginal classroom teacher ($112,118)

Total cost $384,777

Funding sources used
Socio-economic background
Aboriginal background

Wellington Public School engaged a paraprofessional community support officer to identify and broker services for families, with a specific aim to improve attendance.

Evidence of impact


The success of the initiative can be measured by the following:

  • improved attendance from 89% to 92% as a result of improved parental and community engagement
  • a reduction in suspension rates by 50%, including a reduced need for long suspensions
  • wellbeing data (PBL and BeYou) continues to reflect improved engagement across the school with all domains above State average
  • increased parent engagement in collaborative meetings to discuss Personalised Learning Pathways (PLPs) and Personalised Learning and Support Plans (PLSPs) by more than 25%

Wellington Public School engaged a paraprofessional community support officer to identify and broker services for families, with a specific aim to improve attendance.

Next steps

Increased collaboration between the school, families and other agencies is driving the direction of the school's behaviour policy, which is building new in-school structures to reduce suspensions.

Wellington Public School has engaged a full time Aboriginal school learning support officer and an Aboriginal teacher to strategically support targeted students and facilitate self-regulation and engagement.

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