Cranbourne East Secondary College: Voice for students

Cranbourne East Secondary College, a newly built large school in Melbourne’s outer south-east, wanted to increase its assistance of its growing number of students. Among other initiatives, the school adapted the City of Casey’s Multipride program, and used it to build leadership skills and student voice among students of refugee backgrounds and mainstream students.

Multipride, established in 2009, is a multi-representative program aiming to reduce racism in schools while encouraging inclusivity. The school’s program had 30 participants who were involved in two workshops conducted by the Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre. The program focused initially on building students’ leadership skills, and in future participants will coordinate and run their own programs.

The school also developed other initiatives resulting from its involvement with the 2017 Refugee Education Support Program (RESP). At that time 30 per cent of the school’s more than 1,000 students had language backgrounds other than English, while there were 30 students of refugee backgrounds. Due to demographic changes, the school expected that number to increase in future, so it put work into renewing its enrolment process.

Along with using interpreters at enrolment for the first time, the school developed a new enrolment pack that included questions about EAL, languages spoken at home and refugee backgrounds. The pack allowed the school to build stronger links between its wellbeing staff and students and families, meaning needs could be identified and responded to quickly. In addition, the pack contained information about using interpreters, which acted as a prompt for staff to book them when required.