Schools’ responsibilities in supporting student engagement of Navigator Program participants


Navigator provides intensive case management and outreach for severely disengaged students. Navigator is built on partnerships with schools and education settings, and it is expected that schools will work proactively to support the re-engagement of Navigator Program participants in education.

This guidance sets out responsibilities for staff in a school involved in supporting students referred to the Navigator Program. Depending on each school’s arrangements, this will typically include teachers and health and wellbeing staff involved in supporting students before, during and after Navigator, and principals and assistant principals who are responsible for endorsing the referral to Navigator.

Pre-Navigator – early monitoring, intervention and support

All schools are required to monitor attendance and commit to using multiple strategies and interventions to address disengagement. For Victorian government schools, this commitment is articulated through their student engagement policy. Schools must:

  • intervene early to address student engagement issues, using a range of tiered interventions, which respond to individual student needs and the particular stage of disengagement
  • regularly review interventions and planning supports for each student and adjust accordingly to support their complex and changing needs.

The tiered levels of interventions include:

  • universal (school-wide) attendance and engagement strategies that create safe, inclusive and empowering environments that foster an enthusiasm for learning and support student wellbeing
  • targeted (cohort-specific) strategies that meet the varied needs of vulnerable cohorts, including both prevention and intervention strategies
  • individual (student-specific) strategies for students at-risk, including strategies to identify and respond to individual student circumstances when regular attendance is not consistent or positive behaviours are not demonstrated.

Schools can access a range of support for students to support these interventions, as outlined in the Map of key mental health and wellbeing support (PDF)External Link .

It is expected that before a young person is referred to Navigator, schools undertake the following steps to support the student to re-engage in school:

  • Enage in regular discussions with the student’s parents/carers to understand the family context and develop shared strategies to support the student’s engagement with school. Encourage parents to seek support and communicate regularly with teachers and other school staff.
  • Arrange a Student Support Group (SSG) meeting as required with the student, their parent/carer, the trusted adult, and relevant teaching or other staff (for example, education support staff, youth worker, Koorie Engagement Support Officer, or community organisation support staff).
  • Develop an appropriate support plan(s). This may include:
  • If a student has multiple plans, these plans should complement each other and be kept together so there are no contradictory goals and the student is not overburdened.
  • In developing strategies for each student, SSGs should:
    • create time and space for the student to voice their perspective on their needs
    • prioritise classroom/school adjustments or measures to support attendance
    • consider support services that can assist the student, such as the school’s wellbeing team, mental health practitioner, Student Support Services (SSS) referral or secondary consultation (for example, GP in school or family’s GP), external service providers such as Headspace, Orange Door, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services/Child and Youth Mental Health Services
    • complete an Educational Needs Assessment for students in out-of-home care (DOCX)External Link (staff login required).
  • Wellbeing teams and staff coordinating SSGs may wish to meet with their Health Wellbeing Key Contact (HWKC) to discuss referrals to other services or other support that may be available.

During Navigator – support referral and re-engage the student in school


Schools play a central role in supporting the Navigator referral process, regardless of whether the referral comes directly from the school, the parent/carer or another referrer.

  • For referrals made by the young person’s current school, the principal or assistant principal is required to endorse the submission of the referral and ensure it includes all relevant information on the supports previously provided to the student.
  • When the referral to Navigator is not initiated by the school, the Navigator Coordinator will contact the young person’s school, or the school at which the young person intends to enrol. Schools are responsible for being responsive to Navigator Coordinators requests for information to determine eligibility and finalise the referral.

Attendance data informs eligibility for Navigator. For government schools this data is from CASES21 and must reflect 30% or less attendance of the previous school term, or equivalent, before a young person is deemed eligible. For support with CASES21 please contact the Services PortalExternal Link . For non-government schools this data is from internal attendance systems.

Supporting the student to re-engage in school

While a student is supported by Navigator, schools are responsible for partnering with the Navigator provider to keep developing and implementing strategies to re-engage the student in school and track the student’s progress. During this period, schools must:

  • continue to deliver supports already in place, such as SSGs as required and access to any other supports as agreed to be provided through these meetings
  • keep in contact with the student’s family, provide the family with updates on the student’s progress and seek the family’s feedback on their experiences
  • provide monthly attendance data from CASES21 (not third party systems such as Compass) to the Navigator Coordinator, which will be used to monitor the student’s progress. Non-government schools should provide this attendance data from their own systems.

Post-Navigator – support a smooth transition and sustain re-engagement in school

Students exiting Navigator require continued support from schools to ensure that the positive results from the program are maintained and built upon.

At the conclusion of Navigator involvement schools must:

  • work with the Navigator provider to ensure a smooth handover of responsibility for implementing the strategies and interventions required to sustain the student’s engagement in school
  • revise and refresh the student’s planning supports through the SSG, including ensuring that the student continues to be connected to required mental health and wellbeing supports and other services
  • regularly monitor the student’s progress through SSG meetings as required and re-assess and adjust supports as the student’s needs change
  • keep momentum in setting and moving towards longer-term goals. This may include connecting the student to career planning services, external education and training programs, and providing advice on pathways through higher education, TAFE, apprenticeships, or other education and training settings.
Includes information on schools’ responsibilities pre-Navigator, during Navigator and post-Navigator

Reviewed 17 June 2024

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