Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School: New approaches in a growth-corridor area

Enrolment is a challenging time of transition for students and families. Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School wanted to improve its approach to enrolment and, as a result of its involvement in the Refugee Education Support Program (RESP) it established a new process to better cater for students.

Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School is a growth-corridor government school in the culturally diverse City of Casey. Almost 45 per cent of its more than 400 Prep to Year 6 students, many from New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, do not speak English as their main language at home. With this in mind, the school knew it was important to ensure a welcoming approach to enrolment for students from diverse backgrounds.

The school’s principal and wellbeing coordinator now meet with all new families before enrolment, and parents/carers are assisted to complete enrolment forms. The school also provides a questionnaire with visual prompts that helps families know what information to bring to enrolment.

Additionally, families have access to interpreters through Language Loop, vital in any strategy aimed at supporting families. Fostering a welcoming culture, new students receive school tours led by Years 5 and 6 ‘Language Leaders’, who speak the same home language as the transitioning students.

The RESP team also reviewed the school’s approaches to curriculum, teaching and learning. An EAL program was introduced and two EAL teachers were employed to support students across the school. The EAL teachers also delivered presentations to staff covering classroom EAL strategies, an important way of ensuring a whole-school approach to working with students of refugee backgrounds.

Children whose families engage with the school community are better positioned for positive educational outcomes. The RESP team reviewed the school’s parent engagement strategies and, as a result, a community night with interpreters available was trialled in Term 1, 2018. It was a great success, providing parents/carers with an opportunity to informally meet their children’s teachers, and to connect with local community services and agencies.