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 staff working with refugee students include:

S.T.A.R.S. in Schools: supporting students from refugee backgrounds is a 5 hour NESA accredited professional learning course which supports schools in the successful resettlement of students from refugee backgrounds. Based on the STARS framework (Safety, Trust, Awareness, Responsibility and Skills), this professional learning will assist school staff in responding with sensitivity and awareness to provide effective teaching, learning and wellbeing strategies.

Teaching students from a refugee background is a 20 hour NESA accredited 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.

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 can only be accessed using the login. and Please note the videos can only be used in professional learning for teachers and researchers. In no circumstances should they be used for commercial purposes.

Orientation for School Learning Support Officers (SLSO) Bilingual has been designed for experienced and new SLSO bilingual staff, school staff and supervisors. The course introduces the importance of the SLSO bilingual role in supporting newly arrived students and their families. The course has been designed to be delivered by a school based facilitator.

A range of EAL/D professional learning opportunities are available to support teachers in meeting the needs of EAL/D learners including newly arrived and refugee students.

Teacher networks

The EAL/D NSW statewide staffroom and designated Refugee student support channel provides a trusted, online space for teachers of EAL/D and refugee background students to connect, share ideas, ask questions, access resources and participate in professional learning.

Join our staffroom today

Refugee Education Networks facilitate professional and collegial support to primary and secondary school staff to develop strategies, share ideas, seek advice and build resources as a community of schools. The STARTTS School Liaison Team and the Refugee Student Counselling Support Team collaborate with network coordinators to strengthen links with other schools, settlement services and local community organisations.

Networks facilitate collaboration through meetings once a term in 7 locations across NSW:

  • Albury

  • Bankstown, Canterbury, Strathfield

  • Cumberland

  • Fairfield, Cowpasture

  • Glenfield and Liverpool

  • North West and Western Sydney

  • Wagga Wagga.

At times meetings may also be held via online forums when face to face meetings are not possible.

Further information

Contact the EAL/D Education Leader for your network for more information on how to join.

Alternatively connect with the Refugee Student Education Advisor on 0436 522 021 or

Department resources

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

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

The Refugee student readiness survey (PDF 196KB) can help schools reflect on current practices and determine focus areas for refugee student support.

Watch how bilingual support can be used to communicate with students and families.

Learn more about how schools may develop community partnerships.

The video English language support shows how EAL/D teachers can support literacy and language development.

Learn more about effective enrolment and orientation processes.

The video making students feel safe shows how schools can use the STARS model.

Watch how schools provide career and transition support

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.

External resources

STARTTS is a specialist not-for-profit organisation, that partners with schools, to provide culturally appropriate psychological treatment and support for refugees and migrants who have experienced torture and trauma. They also offer individual consultancy support to school counsellors.

STARTTS Referral Form counselling referrals and telehealth counselling sessions to people with refugee experience

STARTTS School Liaison Officers professional learning for school staff

Hints for Healing Website free practical resources to support educators and school counsellors

Witness to War Hotline can be reached on 1800 845 198

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 become involved in supporting refugees in their school and community.

Image: Screenshot of Roads to Refuge website


  • DoE

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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