St Francis of Assisi Primary School: Partnering to support student wellbeing

St Francis of Assisi Primary School is a Catholic school in Melbourne’s outer western suburb of Tarneit, with a large number of students of refugee backgrounds. As part of its involvement in the 2017 Refugee Education Support Program (RESP) the school built partnerships with families, services and other schools to support students’ positive behavior at school.

Through its family liaison worker (FLW), the school partnered with Drummond Street family support service and the adjacent Thomas Carr Secondary College on a series of workshops about parenting in Australia.

The Drummond Street worker brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the workshop program. Importantly, the sessions addressed the challenges families were facing regarding understanding Australian expectations of parenting. The workshop program was interpreted and well attended by parents/carers from both St Francis of Assisi and Thomas Carr. It provided a vital forum for families to voice their concerns and offered paths forward for the schools, students and their families.

St Francis of Assisi Primary School concurrently addressed concerns it had about students feeling overwhelmed in the classroom, which was leading to student absences from school in some instances. The school put significant effort into ensuring its students could manage their classroom work requirements, leading to a greater sense of safety and control among the cohort.

The school also worked with a consultant to develop individual behavioural plans for students, and for the first time referred students to Foundation House.