Mt Maria College is aware of the unique educational needs of students whose parents work within the Australian Defence Force due in part to their mobile lifestyle and long absences of a parent due to deployment and training. As a result of this the college has secured funding through the Department of Defence for the implementation of the Defence School Mentor Program. The role of the Defence School Mentor at the College is to provide support and assistance to students of ADF families and to hopefully alleviate some of the concerns that families may have when transferring to a new school. Please click here for the current DSM Flyer: DSM Flyer.pdf
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Cherie Healing, our Defence School Mentor:
© Brisbane Catholic Education, Mt Maria College, Mitchelton (2023)
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WHAT IS THE DEFENCE SCHOOL MENTOR PROGRAM?
The Defence School Mentor Program provides support to secondary students of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families, particularly during their transition into and out of a school on posting or during parental absences due to deployment, exercises or courses. Defence families can change location frequently and due to differences in curriculum, subject selections and intake age requirements there can be considerable differences in their educational program from one school to the next and particularly from one state to another. Additional to these pressures, the Defence family is also required to re-establish community connections and create new friendships and support networks every time they are relocated. The move can also impact the spouse as they may have to change jobs/careers each time they relocate, with possible financial pressures adding to the stresses already placed on the family. This program was implemented by the Department of Defence, through the Defence Community Organisation, as a commitment to support its members and their families. They recognize that the education of Defence dependants may be negatively impacted by their mobile lifestyle and so have sought to provide this innovative resource to facilitate a more supportive educational environment for mobile ADF families.
WHAT DOES A DEFENCE SCHOOL MENTOR DO?
A Defence School Mentor provides assistance to students and their families. This may include:
Coordinating appropriate welcoming and farewelling strategies for young people of Australian Defence Force families.
Supporting students to develop their self-confidence and resilience.
Encouraging young people to explore options and make the most of opportunities.
Assisting young people manage the challenges of transitions.
Referring students where necessary to appropriate student support services.
Identifying the issues and needs of individual students.
Developing and implementing programs and resources that address issues and needs.
Monitoring students’ day to day social and emotional well-being.
Supporting young people at school during times of parental absence from home for service requirements.
Facilitating student participation in cultural, sporting, academic and personal development programs.
DO THEY HAVE THIS PROGRAM IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS?
Yes. The equivalent program is called the Defence School Transition Aide (DSTA) Program.
OUR RECENT RELOCATION HAS IMPACTED ON OUR CHILD’S LEARNING. CAN I GET EDUCATION ASSISTANCE?
If an ADF member moves to a new location and has school aged children, they may be entitled to 14 weeks of tutoring in any subject that has been identified by the school as representing a gap in the child’s learning. Please remember that this, as a rule, is only available within 18 months of your relocation date, so if you think your child could use some extra support please contact Sally Lawler as soon as possible. Alternatively you can contact your Regional Education District Liaison Officer. Paperwork will need to be completed and authenticated by the school prior to submission. We also encourage the students to participate in the opportunities College staff provide for subject tutoring and homework club.
WE WILL BE RELOCATING TO ANOTHER LOCATION. DO I HAVE TO TELL MT MARIA COLLEGE?
It is advisable that you inform Enrolments at Mt Maria College of your intended relocation PRIOR to moving. An important part of the support services provided by the Defence School Mentor includes an exit procedure for your child to facilitate their smooth transition to the new school. We would prefer that this notice is provided in writing and includes the contact details of the new school or tertiary institution. Please contact Sally Lawler (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
We welcome parent involvement and are happy to arrange a meeting to discuss any aspect of the student’s wellbeing and educational journey. Please contact me to arrange a mutually convenient appointment date and time.
Our Defence School Mentor Program serves to support the students and their family members. We hope you enjoy your time here at Mt Maria College and encourage you to get involved in as many events and projects as you can. If you have any suggestions on ways to improve our program, please do not hesitate to communicate your ideas.