Engagement Strategies for Individual Students

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

It is important that parents and carers are aware of any difficulties their child experiences at school and are involved in the strategies to address them.

Student Support Group

It is important that parents/carers are aware of any difficulties experienced at school and are involved in decisions about additional supports made available to students. Student Support Group meetings are known to be an effective early intervention strategy.

A Student Support Group can help in developing an understanding of the student and identifying their learning, social, emotional, behaviour and environmental needs and the support or resources the student requires for improvement.

Some students may already have a student support group, as every student in receipt of Program for Students with Disabilities funding, in out-of-home care and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are required to have a Student Support Group.

Student Support Group meetings should involve:

  • the student
  • parents, guardians or carers
  • school principal (or delegate)
  • the student’s main classroom teacher, form/home-room teacher or the year level coordinator
  • professionals who have been supporting the student or their family, for example the student welfare coordinator, psychologist, youth worker etc
  • a Koorie Engagement Support Officer if the student is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • an advocate/support person (if desired by parents, who must not be acting for fee or reward).

The Student Support Group aims to:

  • develop an understanding of the student
  • identify the student’s learning, social, emotional, behavioural and environmental needs, and the support or resources the student requires for improvement
  • involve key specialist learning and wellbeing support staff, for example the literacy coach, student welfare coordinator, primary welfare officer, reading recovery teacher and/or school psychologist.

For more information, see:Student Support Groups

Individual Education Plan

The purpose of an Individual Education Plan is to develop and monitor an appropriate holistic program of assistance and support for the student, and should include actions such as:

  • determining agreed expectations
  • establishing personal contact
  • increasing supervision of the student
  • providing personal support and counselling for the student
  • referring the student to support agencies
  • making return-to-school arrangements and offering support.

Individual education plans may be a suitable intervention to improve attendance if issues are identified with a student’s education level, such as their literacy or numeracy levels, or if poor engagement in learning is identified as contributing to the student’s attendance pattern.

The Department requires that all government schools develop an Individual Education Plan for each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student, in a partnership between teachers, student, parent or caregiver and the Koorie Engagement Support Officer. See: Koorie Education Learning Plan (pdf - 1.56mb)

The Out-of-home-care Partnering Agreement also commits to an Educational Needs Assessment for all students in out-of-home care. For more information about supporting students in out-of-home care, see: Out-of-Home Care and Homelessness

For more information on supports for these groups of students, see: Support and Resources for Specific Groups of Students

Individual education plans may be implemented following an Attendance Improvement Plan, or a Return to School Plan if a student’s educational attainment is an issue. For more information, see: Individual Education Plans

Behaviour Support Plan

As part of a Student Support Group or discipline procedures, it may be useful to develop and use a Behaviour Support Plan (BSP). A BSP is a school-based document designed to assist individual students who have experienced harm, are at risk of harm, or have caused harm to others. For more information, see:

Attendance Improvement Plan and Return to School Plan

To assist in the re-engagement of students with attendance issues, an Attendance Improvement Plan can be introduced as an intervention strategy.

To assist in the reintegration of a student after a prolonged absence, a Return to School Plan can be implemented.

Attendance Improvement Plans and Return to School Plans may be appropriate for students who are:

  • involved in the youth justice system
  • experiencing, or who have experienced a period of homelessness
  • experiencing mental or physical illnesses (Return to School Plans are vital for this cohort if they have experienced prolonged absence from school).

Any support services the student is accessing or has been referred to (such as a youth worker or Koorie Engagement Support Officer) should be consulted and the plan should outline the parties to be involved and their key responsibilities.To access the template, see Attendance and Enrolment Resources