Holroyd High School, Greystanes, Australia
Holroyd High School is a comprehensive school with an Intensive English Centre located in South Western Sydney. Of the 600 students, 89% are from a non-English speaking background and over 50% are refugees.
Holroyd High School delivers an innovative and multi-faceted approach to support refugee and asylum seeker students to settle successfully in Australia. The school uses its financial and human resources to provide an integrated and supportive framework where each student and their family are welcomed, supported and challenged.
School processes, staff practice and partnerships with community organisations, education providers and health professionals form part of a holistic approach ensuring that students settle and thrive.
Holroyd uses a three-tiered approach to support students at targeted individual, group and whole school levels. Underpinning all support and settlement of refugee students is the S.T.A.R.S. model developed by UNICEF. Key areas of support are: processes and practices; curriculum and programs; organisation and environment; parent and community partnerships.
Some challenges identified include: continuous enrolments of newly arrived refugee students; increase in the complexity of student needs; English language acquisition, disrupted education and the impact of trauma. Updates and changes to immigration laws also continually affect the students and their families. Holroyd has innovatively responded to meet the changing needs of refugee students and their families while also recognising and supporting staff wellbeing.
Refugee Support is recognised as a priority area and built into the School Plan. Human and financial resources are assigned to provide support at individual, group and whole school level. The close partnerships that have been forged with external agencies have resulted in improved learning, health and wellbeing outcomes for all students. Students and their families feel welcomed, supported and connected to the school and community organisations. All these elements impact positively on their resettlement and healing in Australia.