Epping Secondary College: Primary partnerships

Epping Secondary College is a large government school in Melbourne’s outer north with 1,280 students, almost half of whom have language backgrounds other than English. As part of its involvement with the 2017 Refugee Education Support Program (RESP) the school took a proactive approach to engaging students, including reaching out with a program designed to assist local primary schools.

The school’s assistant principal met representatives from several local primary schools. The schools together decided that Epping SC students could help run a literacy program in the primary schools to assist Grade 5 and 6 students of refugee backgrounds.

The assistant principal created an elective for the school’s Year 9 students during which they helped the literacy needs of students at Lalor East, Lalor Gardens and Epping Primary Schools. The program was highly successful, raising the primary school students’ literacy achievements while also creating a connection for them with the local secondary school they may in attend in future.

Along with this initiative, Epping Secondary College employed a social worker who meets families at enrolment. At this meeting, students’ needs are assessed (e.g. for welfare, uniform and books) and an individual wellbeing plan is developed.

The assistant principal also noticed that students would benefit from after-school activities. These students were highly interested in soccer, and so an after-school soccer program was developed. The program proved popular, with the assistant principal also engaging Melbourne City Club coaches to assist and encourage the players.