Regular interstate transfers and deployments are all part of the job for Defence personnel, but often it is families who are affected most by the change of location and particularly the change of education system. To help alleviate some of the impact when transfering between schools, Defence provides a first-class educational advisory service.
The education system in Australia is open to all people. It offers an opportunity for all age groups and levels of ability. You can get into any level of education if you have the entry requirements. If at first you do not reach the entry standard, then you can do other study to get to the standard. Help is available for all people who suffer disadvantage. School is compulsory for all children aged between five and fifteen years. These ages may vary slightly in some states. The government provides public schools. Churches and other groups provide private schooling. Public schooling is free and users pay fees for private schooling.
The Education Assistance Scheme (EAS) provides a range of financial support to Defence children. Tutoring: School aged children on transfer to a new location may be entitled to 14 weeks of tutoring in any subject identified by the school as indicating a gap in the child’s learning. Boarding School Allowances: Assistance may be available under the EAS to enable ADF families to access boarding school for a dependant in the critical years of schooling. Special Needs Assistance: The EAS can provide assistance for assessment, therapy and additional support for students who arereceiving these services. Tuition fees may also be provided for a child with special needs. Defence Scholarships: Defence sponsors four scholarships per year for dependants of personnel working in Defence Organisation, and is managed by AFS Intercultural Programs Australia and DCO.
Defence School Transition Program
The Defence School Transition Aide Program has two parts; Defence School Transition Aides in 133 primary schools and 50 Defence Transition Mentors in secondary schools nationally. This program is designed to facilitate the best possible educational outcomes for dependants of ADF members and to provide support during parental absences for service reasons. Defence recognises that some children of ADF members may experience some disruption to both the academic and social aspects of their schooling each time they move. The different structures of the education systems between Australian states and territories can result in learning gaps. DSTAs support the smooth transition of mobile ADF dependants from school to school and across curriculum jurisdictions upon ADF relocations or postings. The DSTA is a school-based position which focuses on practical support integrated into the classroom, school and school community.
Some activities performed by DSTAs include:
• being a point of contact for parents of new ADF children in the school
• coordinating appropriate welcome and farewell activities
• introducing ADF parents and children to the school and its facilities
• supporting individual children during parental absences
• providing opportunities for ADF families to meet other ADF families
• enhancing the relationship between the school and their Defence community
To find out which schools have DSTAs in your region, contact the Regional Education Liaison Officer at your local Defence Community Organisation (DCO) Office. www.defence.gov.au/dco