Lyndhurst Secondary College: Enrolling assistance

Enrolment is a vital time for all students, but particularly for students of refugee backgrounds. It is a time when students can be made to feel welcome and settled effectively into school life. Lyndhurst Secondary College, a school in Melbourne’s outer south-east, improved its enrolment process as part of the 2017 Refugee Education Support Program (RESP).

The school improved its enrolment forms so that they assisted identifying refugee background and elicited preferred written and spoken languages. MEAs assisted families to fill out the forms and, in an important development, the school ensured a better follow-up process for all enrolments, particularly students who had enrolled mid-year or mid-term.

An administration staff member was given responsibility for supporting all new students on their first day, which included providing students with an introduction to the school, a school tour, arranging a buddy, coordinating uniform access (if required) and providing a library card.

The improved process aimed to strengthen new students’ sense of connection to the school, and that was reiterated by ensuring every newly enrolled student also met a member of the wellbeing team. The school found that initiating this meeting led to students later being more willing to take to the wellbeing team any concerns they had about school life.

The school also increased its focus on Diversity Day as a result of RESP, particularly regarding improving student activities and highlighting multicultural perspectives. Students tried African drumming and mask making, and home economics teachers taught students to cook dishes from numerous cultures.

Lyndhurst Secondary College also sought feedback from senior students and used their insights to update its use of the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Wellbeing Supplement. The senior students also checked in with other students to ensure they had everything they needed, including textbooks, IT and clothing/uniforms for VCAL courses.

Although many competing demands presented challenges to creating change, momentum continued and, at the end of 2017 the school was consulting with students to develop a multi-faith prayer room.