Professional learning and resources

Teachers and schools play an important role in supporting refugee students to recover from traumatic experiences and make up for lost time as a result of disrupted education.

Professional learning

Professional learning programs to assist teachers of refugee students include:

Course Description
S.T.A.R.S. in Schools

S.T.A.R.S. in Schools: supporting students from refugee backgrounds is a 5 hour professional learning course that helps schools to support the successful resettlement of refugee students, to promote effective teaching and learning and to assist school staff in responding with sensitivity and awareness to behavioural issues that may arise for refugee students. It is based on the STARS  framework, developed by UNICEF. STARS stands for Safety, Trust, Attachment, Responsibility and Skills.

Teaching students from a refugee background

Teaching students from a refugee background is a 20 hour professional learning program that helps classroom teachers K-12 develop the skills and knowledge to effectively teach refugee students in mainstream classrooms. It also outlines specialist personnel, external agencies, training programs and resources available to support refugee students. Trained facilitators can assist in delivering training for schools.

STARTTS training programs

STARTTS is a specialist non-profit organisation, that partners with schools, to provide culturally appropriate psychological treatment and support for refugees and migrants who have experienced torture and trauma. STARTTS can provide training for school staff on issues related to refugees and refugee trauma through workshops, seminars or evening presentations. They also offer individual consultancy support to school counsellors.

Classrooms of Possibility

The Classrooms of Possibility resource has been developed by academics from UTS in collaboration with the NSW Department of Education. The site provides professional learning resources based on the research 'Classrooms of Possibility: Working with students from refugee backgrounds in mainstream classes'. These resources can support primary and high school teachers who are working in mainstream classes with recently arrived EAL/D students, including those from refugee backgrounds. A series of videos demonstrate different elements of EAL/D pedagogy in the classroom with accompanying discussion questions, suggestions for professional learning activities and further professional readings. This is a staff only resource and the videos can only be used in professional learning for teachers and researchers. In no circumstances should they be used for commercial purposes.


The following resources support planning, teaching and learning in refugee education:

Name Description
Roads to Refuge Roads to Refuge website has teaching and learning resources for students in Years 5-12 and training materials for staff and community members. Roads to Refuge raises awareness of refugee journeys and settlement experiences through videos, case studies and classroom activities. This resource encourages people to get involved in supporting refugees in their school and community.
Refugee student readiness survey The Refugee student readiness survey (PDF 196KB) can help schools reflect on current practices and determine focus areas for refugee student support.
Targeted support

Plan targeted support in primary and high schools:

Whole school approaches

Learn more about whole school approaches to supporting refugee students in the following case study videos:

Enrolment and orientation Learn more about effective enrolment and orientation processes.
Making students feel safe The video making students feel safe shows how schools can use the STARS model.
English language support The video English language support shows how EAL/D teachers can support literacy and language development.
Bilingual support Watch how bilingual support can be used to communicate with students and families.
Transition support Watch how schools provide career and transition support.
Community partnerships Learn more about how schools are developing community partnerships.
Ready Arrive Work This resource assists high schools to deliver the Ready, Arrive, Work (RAW) program. It offers work readiness activities and strategies to engage EAL/D students in career planning, and learning more about local community organisations.
Refugee Council of Australia The Refugee Council of Australia produces a number of resources for teachers to support refugee students, lesson plans, games and activities and other resources, as well as related information produced by other organisations.
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