Bilingual support

Providing bilingual support can help schools communicate clearly with newly arrived students and families and make them feel safe. School Learning Support Officers Bilingual (SLSO Bilingual) can provide bilingual support for students in the classroom and assist schools in working with parents and community members. Schools with newly enrolled refugee students may be eligible to receive a bilingual teaching support allocation. For more information see New Arrivals Program.

The department provides interpreting and translation services for parents and carers who do not speak or understand English well and for hearing impaired parents and carers who use sign language. A large number of department publications have been translated in many languages.

Bilingual support for refugee students and families.


Kerry Cheeseman, ESL teacher, Auburn North Public School

Fauzia Shams, SLSO, Auburn North Public School

Kerry: Today we’re going to look at tigers, and what they look like. I’m very lucky to work with 2 fantastic School Learning Support Officers, and they speak Arabic and Dari.

Fauzia: Some of them they’ve never been to school, so it’s very hard for them to understand.

Kerry: We team teach, they might take guided reading groups for me, and assist with writing activities.

Fauzia: If they are Afghani background I speak their language, I explain what the teacher is actually saying. When they get the lesson and when they realise what the teacher is talking about, they get more interested and they want to participate.

[Classroom noise]

Kerry: The most important thing is it helps the children feel safe. When they come into this classroom, they have someone they can go to and speak their first language.

Fauzia: The new arrival kids especially, some of them they’ve never been to school, so they don’t know the rules of the school, they don’t know how to behave. Oh, do you know what she was saying?

[Arabic translation]

The important thing is, as soon as they arrive, we tell them,the families and the kids, what they should do in school.

Student: The Siberian tiger?

Fauzia: Siberian, right.

Kerry: We involve the School Language Support Officer to translate to parents, including 3 way conferences.

Fauzia: When the teacher actually talks to the parents and tell them how the kids are progressing, so I go and translate. I discovered that 2 weeks ago the kids were going for an excursion. I had to call 160 different parents. They don’t get it when they get the note, they don’t know what it is about. When you explain to them on the phone or see them face-to-face, then they know it’s important, they all came and paid, and we all went to the excursion.

[Guitar music]

So tell me what did you discover today?

[Arabic translation]

Student: All tigers have different stripes?

Fauzia: Stripes. And, what's the ...

[Guitar music fades]

[End of transcript]


  • DoE


  • EAL D
  • Teaching
  • Teaching language

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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