Liddiard Road Primary School: Prompt support

Liddiard Road Primary School in regional Traralgon had never previously enrolled students of refugee backgrounds, until they experienced a rapid influx of new students whose families were settling in the area. Among many subsequent innovations, the school’s effort to encourage participation in parent/carer-teacher interviews was highly successful.

The school was involved with the Refugee Education Support Program (RESP). Using parents/carers as advisers, the school aimed to identify gaps new families were experiencing in supporting their children’s education.

A gap the school quickly recognised was that few of their families of refugee backgrounds were attending parent/carer-teacher interviews. Meetings with the parent advisers identified that these parents/carers were unsure about the purpose of interviews.

The school established a system in which its multicultural education aide (MEA) and an interpreter were available at the school on a particular day to assist families with the online booking system. The school also role-played a parent/carer-teacher interview in front of families so they could witness the process.

The initiative was a great success, and an interesting fact emerged: the families had not been clear how they should enter the interview room, let alone conduct themselves once the interview began.

With guidance from staff, the school established a simple and effective prompt sheet that families could use in parent/carer–teacher interviews. This asked parents/carers to inform teachers of something their child liked, something they were good at, and something they worried about. The sheet also included a prompt for parents/carers to ask the teacher a question about something important to them.

Teachers were given the prompt sheet in advance so they knew how to respond to families at interview time. The sheet was so successful that Liddiard Road Primary School began using it with the entire school community.

The school’s careful approach to online booking, its prompt sheet and its role-play interview session saw families’ attendance at parent/carer–teacher interviews rise to full participation.