Student Support Groups

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

​​School principals must establish a Student Support Group (SSG) for every child and young person in Out-of-home care. 

For more information about membership, key objectives and roles of a SSG, see:​ Student Support Group Guidelines

What is a Student Support Group?​

Student Support Groups provide children in Out-of-Home Care with a formal support network at school.

Role

The Student Support Group is responsible for:

  • developing an Individual Education Plan for each student
  • monitoring a student's progress in line with the Individual Education Plan Guidelines.

See: ​Individual Education Plans

Aim

​​The aim of a SSG is to:

  • help plan programs that address a child's individual needs for positive achievement, engagement at school and their ability to learn
  • support attendance and establish shared educational and social goals.

What is the purpose of a Student Support Group?

The SSG brings together the people responsible for the wellbeing and education of the student in out-of-home care.

‘(The Student Support Group) ensures that those with the knowledge and responsibility for the child or young person work together to support engagement, attendance and achievement, and establish shared educational and social goals. This group also monitors and evaluates the child
or young person’s progress2’.

How frequently should an SSG be held?

The initial SSG should be held within the first week of the student being enrolled at the school and following this, meetings should occur at least twice per year, but more frequently if required.

Who should attend?

The following is a list of relevant people that may attend SSGs:

Members should include:

  • The case manager from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and/or a Community Service Organisation (CSO) or an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation (ACCO)
  • A teacher, year level coordinator, the Learning Mentor and Principal or Vice Principal
  • Student wellbeing staff member and/or student support services officer
  • The child or young person (where age-appropriate)
  • The carer or child or young person’s parent
  • Other relevant support services
“ My role is to always be there for the student. It's all about personal connections. I make sure that I find something endearing about each child, and let them know it. It's important to keep giving positive messages.” - Rob, Viewbank Secondary College.​

What should happen during meetings?

Attendees should provide information about the student that will support him/her in their education. Attendees identify the child or young persons’ strengths and needs and utilise the SSG to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The group devises strategies to to optimise student wellbeing and achievement and to address potential barriers and challenges to engagement.

Further, it is important that the Learning Mentor is able to advocate for the student, and/or that the student is included and involved in the discussions, likely to have ideas about what might work better for them.

What are some best practice tips in running a SSG meeting?

  • The Principal or other nominee from the school should assume the role of meeting Chair. The Chair should:
    • Prepare the agendas and facilitate meetings
    • Ensure that the meeting follows the agenda within the allocated time
    • Take minutes and document/disseminate key actions amongst participants in a timely manner
  • Members should respect each other’s views, knowledge and expertise, and collaborate as a team to meet the best of the student
  • Carers are likely to have the greatest understanding of the child and young person, and it is integral that their meaningful participation is supported. Members should consider the language and terminology used during meetings to ensure that all members, in particular carers and students,are informed, comfortable and have the capacity to equally participate
  • Regular meetings should be scheduled in advance to ensure the availability of all members
  • Additional meetings should be held on as-needed basis, if requested by group members to discuss particular matters in a more timely fashion
  • Meetings should provide opportunities for reflection and creative problem-solving.

How it should operate

A school must hold at least one meeting a year, with extra meetings held at the request of the DHS case manager, parent, guardian or caregiver.

The purpose of a meeting is to:

  • identify the needs and strengths of the child
  • develop a plan to support attendance
  • address management issues
  • develop strategies to enhance achievement
  • communicate responsibilities to the child
  • communicate what the school expects from them and how it can support them.

To record and document SSG meetings, use the Student Support Group Meeting Record (doc - 64kb)

For more information, see Resources