Improving educational outcomes for students from refugee backgrounds in the South Australian Certificate of Education project

A case study of two Catholic schools
Refugee children Refugees Secondary education Refugee education Refugee youth Refugee settlement Adelaide
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This project was initiated by Catholic Education South Australia in response to identification of the challenges for students from refugee backgrounds in completing the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). The Pathways to Success Program, a funded program to improve the support available to refugee background students in the senior secondary years, was introduced in two Catholic secondary schools in 2016 and 2017.

These two schools have a significant number of students from diverse backgrounds and make use of a number of approaches to support refugee background students. Through the Pathways to Success program, the two schools implemented a range of additional strategies and provided additional support with the aim of improving the SACE outcomes for a select group of refugee background students. These included: additional EAL one-on-one support, lunch time support groups with subject coordinators, bilingual support staff to improve family engagement and provide role models for students and teaching of study and organisational skills.

Through the use of online surveys, focus groups and interviews with staff and students at both schools, this project identified a range of school approaches that can foster good outcomes for students with refugee experience in the SACE. Through analysis of the data, key themes were identified and these were used to develop a framework which provides guiding suggestions on how schools can support students with refugee experience.

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