Recognising financial hardship

Schools must be proactive in sensitively identifying families who may be reluctant to access arrangements and refer them to their nominated parent payments contact to determine if support is needed.

While hardship is usually identified when families request assistance from the parent payment contact person, some families may be reluctant to access support from the school.

Teachers are often the first to see indicators of financial hardship. Staff that have reason to believe that a student’s family may be experiencing hardship can then bring this to the attention of the school’s parent payment contact person, to sensitively engage with the family and determine if support is needed.

Schools are encouraged to provide training and resources to teaching and administration staff so that they can identify signs of financial hardship.

Common indicators of financial hardship can include:

  • students not owning the same materials as other class members (such as bags, stationary or equipment)
  • recurring decisions to not purchase, or participate in, extra-curricular items and activities
  • uniforms that are incomplete or in poor condition
  • students disclosing hardship or contributing factors to staff and welfare officers – these can include, but are not limited to:
    • sudden changes such as loss of employment or illness in the family
    • disruption such as family breakdown or transitional housing
    • crisis events such as family violence or natural disasters
    • families who sought support for other department programs, such as the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund
    • carers or Health Care Card holders
    • refugee status, for example families seeking asylum who are on a Bridging or Temporary Protection Visa.
Guidance on recognising financial hardship including common indicators of financial hardship

Reviewed 06 August 2021

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