The Navigator program supports disengaged young people to return to education and learning.
Navigator works with young people, their families and support networks to address issues underlying disengagement and help them re-engage with their education.
Navigator is delivered by contracted community service organisations, who work closely with local schools and DET area teams. In each area the program is tailored to its local community and range of services.
Video overview of the Navigator program
Eligibility and making a referral to the Navigator program
Participation in the Navigator program is by referral and anyone can make a referral. Referrals can be made by contacting the local area Navigator Coordinator, or by completing an online referral form. Prior to starting an online referral, please ensure you have read the following information and have the required information ready.
Navigator is available to young people who:
- are 12 to 17 years of age
- have attended less than 30% of the previous school term or equivalent (if enrolled in a school)
- either live in Victoria or study/are enrolled in a Victorian education setting
If you know of a young person who meets the following eligibility criteria, you may be able to make an online referral
Consent from parent/carer for the referral
Participation in the Navigator Program is optional and the young person and their parent/carer should be aware of and supportive of the referral being made. Once the referral has been processed and the young person is to start receiving Navigator support, consent to participate will be sought directly from the young person and their relevant parent/carer.
This consent is important as the Navigator program is built on a model of strong partnerships between young people, their family, education provider, community service organisations and the Department of Education and Training who work in collaboration to address and overcome the young person’s barriers to educational engagement.
Establishing strong partnerships between these groups from the outset is integral to the success of the program.
Referrers must discuss the intended referral with both the young person and their parent/carer and gain their consent to make the referral prior to submitting any referral. Where the young person is a
mature minor, parent/carer consent is not required. This applies to all referrals.
Referrers must inform the parent/carer and young person that information relevant to the referral will be collected as part of the online referral process – this includes personal information such as school attendance rates, previous strategies to support the young person’s educational engagement and contact details, as well as if the young person has a refugee or asylum seeker background (or similar), identifies as Aboriginal or Torre Strait Islander, is known to Child Protection, living in Out of Home Care, receives PSD funding or is involved in or at risk of involvement with Youth Justice. This information will be used by DET in processing the young person’s referral to Navigator.
In instances where it is not possible or appropriate to obtain verbal consent from the parent/ carer (and preferably the young person as well), the referrer should contact the relevant Area Navigator Coordinator who can assist with making any referrals deemed appropriate.
Preparing to make an online referral
Referrals from non-school staff
It is expected that prior to making a referral to Navigator, that you have, where appropriate, first raised your concerns regarding the young person’s engagement with their school/education setting and discussed the suitability of a Navigator referral with relevant staff.
If you have not yet done this, please contact the school/education setting to discuss. If you do not have an existing contact, the school’s Health and Wellbeing Coordinator or equivalent may be a useful person to speak with.
To make an online referral, you will need the following information:
- Confirmation you have verbal consent to make the referral from the young person’s parent/carer, and preferably the young person as well (and that you have informed them that personal information relevant to the referral will be collected by DET as part of the referral process). Please ensure you keep a record of who you gained consent from, how you obtained the consent, and on what date.
- The young person’s full name, date of birth, and current address
- The young person’s parent/carer’s full name and contact details
- Whether an interpreter is required for the young person or their parent/carer
- Whether (for prioritisation processes) the young person has a refugee or asylum seeker background (or similar), identifies as Aboriginal or Torre Strait Islander, is known to Child Protection, is living in Out of Home Care, receives PDS funding or is involved in or at risk of involvement with Youth Justice.
Make an online referral to the Navigator program
Referrals from school/education provider staff
The Navigator program assists young people who are experiencing barriers to educational engagement, who need more support than a school or educational setting alone can offer.
Resources to assist all schools and education providers improve and support attendance and engagement can be found on
DET’s Policy and Advice Library. Potential referrers should ensure they have explored pages relating to
Re-engagement Programs and
Student Engagement, prior to considering a referral to Navigator.
Before making a referral, schools and education providers are expected to:
Have exhausted relevant school/ setting-based support strategies.
These may include:
- Exploring additional, targeted supports for students who are experiencing
mental health concerns, are from a CALD or ATSI background, have a disability, are in out of home care, involved in or at risk of involvement with
youth justice, identify as
LGBQTI, are experiencing
family violence or other family/individual challenge.
- Regularly contacting the student and their family and offering supports for engagement, using an interpreter, if necessary.
- Recording and monitoring attendance and developing an
Attendance Improvement Plan or Return to School Plan or sending
- Seeking advice and support from the school’s
DET regional office (or equivalent)
- Implementing staged supports for students, including:
- Seeking support from relevant local community organisations and support services
- Referring the student to a
Flexible Learning Option with another registered school or a re-engagement program within a Registered Training Organisation
- Making a referral to
Child Protection or
Ensure this particular referral has been discussed with the principal/ assistant principal (or equivalent) and they agree and confirm that:
- the school/provider has made every, and multiple attempts to engage this young person in learning and improve attendance (including the strategies listed above), and
- they have followed relevant policies, guidelines and practices in relation to student attendance and engagement (including those listed above), and
- the school/education provider will work in partnership with the Navigator program to support the young person to reengage with education, including nominating a responsible key contact within the school to act as a liaison between the program and school/education provider, and providing fortnightly attendance data to the local Navigator team for all participating students.
All referrals from schools/education providers must include the following:
- Confirmation you have verbal approval to make the referral from the:
- school principal or assistant principal (or equivalent)
- the young person’s parent/carer, and preferably the young person too (and that you have informed them that personal information relevant to the referral will be collected by DET as part of the referral process). Please ensure you keep a written record of who you gained consent from, how you obtained the consent, who collected it, and on what date.
- The young person’s
actual attendance rate for the current and previous 4 school terms (number of days attended ÷ by total days in the term, or term-to-date), full name, date of birth, current residential address and contact details for their parent/carer
- Confirmation and details of the current or previous strategies the schools/education provider has used to engage the young person to date
- Contact details of the best school/ education contact
- Whether an interpreter is required for the young person or their parent/carer
- Whether the young person has a refugee or asylum seeker background (or similar), identifies as Aboriginal or Torre Strait Islander, is known to Child Protection, is living in Out of Home Care, received PSD funding or is involved in or at risk of involvement with Youth Justice.
Schools and education providers please note, local DET Area Navigator Coordinators will contact schools/education providers to confirm details of referrals before they are finalised. For this reason, it is imperative the identified contact person is available to the Navigator Coordinator to discuss the referral in a timely manner. An inability of the Navigator Coordinator to reach the contact will delay the young person being offered Navigator Support.
Anyone can refer a young person to the program
Local Navigator Coordinator contact details
Navigator Coordinators can be contacted to discuss:
- whether a young person meets the eligibility criteria, or if you are unsure if they meet the criteria
- if you would like to make a referral but do not wish to use the online referral form
- referring a young person when you do not have their parent/carer consent to do so
- what support can be offered to a young person that does not meet the eligibility criteria for Navigator
- other local questions relating to the Navigator program.
Wimmera South West
North Eastern Melbourne
Inner Eastern Melbourne
Outer Eastern Melbourne
In accordance with Departmental policy, referrals for young people eligible for support from the Navigator program will be passed directly from the Navigator Coordinator to the provider. Parent/carer consent is not required for this process to take place. The provider will then undertake assertive outreach with the young person and their family. Participation in the Navigator program is voluntary.
For more on privacy at DET please refer to the
For general enquiries about Navigator email
firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local Navigator Coordinator.