Planning the high school program
Aim of the sessions
The sessions aim to:
- help students develop relationships with key staff and peers
- assist staff to identify new students and assess their welfare and educational needs
- help new students to understand school expectations and their responsibilities
- raise students’ awareness of their own strengths, skills and goals
- assist students to develop study and learning skills
- assist staff to monitor students’ wellbeing and educational progress
- make initial links with students’ parents/carers.
Planning the program structure
It is recommended that a team approach be taken to delivering The Welcome Program sessions. Key team members may include: Head Teacher Welfare, Year Adviser, Head Teacher IEC, School Counsellor, EAL/D teacher, SLSOs and members of the SRC.
Delivery of the session content can be tailored to suit the needs of the students and the school. Schools should determine the needs of their students and adapt the content accordingly, however it is recommended that:
- Sessions 1 to 5 should be delivered soon after enrolment
- Sessions 6 and 7 should be delivered when students have had time to develop a trusting relationship with the facilitators
- Session 8 should be delivered a few months after students enrol.
The sessions are intended to be teacher facilitated and students should not be left to engage with the resources without teacher support.
Sessions could be delivered within the timetable or run after school or at lunchtime. Session content could be integrated into different curriculum areas or delivered as part of a study skills or orientation program.
After the student group and program structure has been determined, facilitators will need to plan each session. This will require them to consider scheduling, gathering resources needed and inviting key staff to assist.
Each session in The Welcome Program includes a series of student resources developed using Google's G Suite. Additional information and support can be found on the department's G Suite for Education webpage.
Establishing a relationship with parents and carers will assist in promoting a positive partnership between school and home, which will benefit the students and the whole school community.
However many newly arrived LBOTE parents are facing settlement challenges involved in starting a new life in Australia at the same time as their children are starting high school. They may not be accustomed to some of the practices and policies associated with schooling in Australia or the NSW education system.
When EAL/D students enrol at high school their parents and carers need information about school expectations, school practices, teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment, reporting and EAL/D support. Parents/carers will also benefit from being welcomed to the school.
It is suggested that schools hold a morning/afternoon tea or supper to welcome the parents/carers of newly enrolled EAL/D students, inform them about the support being provided at school and provide an opportunity for them to ask questions. Interpreters should be provided.