education.vic.gov.au

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to outline the referral and consent process and requirements relating to the Department’s Navigator Program (Navigator).

Summary

  • Navigator supports disengaged young people to return to education and learning.
  • Students enrolled in or intending to enrol in a Victorian government and non-government schools and education settings are eligible to participate in Navigator.
  • Participation in Navigator is by referral.
  • Consent from the young person’s parent or carer must be sought before the referral is made. It is strongly encouraged that the young person is also made aware of and supportive of the referral.
  • In certain circumstances, a referral can be submitted without consent.
  • Anyone can refer a young person to Navigator and this policy sets out specific requirements and processes for referrers, based on whether they are:
    • from the young person’s current school or education setting
    • if they are the young person’s parent or carer
    • if they are any other person (i.e. not the young person’s parent, carer or from their school or education setting).

Details

Navigator supports disengaged young people by working with the young person, their family and support network to address issues underlying disengagement and help them re-engage with their education.

Navigator is delivered by contracted community service organisations that work closely with local schools and Department area teams. In each area, the program is tailored to its local community and services.

Participation in Navigator is by referral and anyone can make a referral. Referrals must be made by completing an online referral formExternal Link . The local area Navigator Coordinator can also assist with making a referral.

The following information outlines the requirements relating to referring a young person to Navigator.

Eligibility criteria

A young person must be eligible to participate in Navigator. To be eligible, a young person must meet the following 3 criteria:

  • be 12 to 17 years of age (inclusive)
  • be enrolled in, or intend to enrol in a Victorian education setting (including non-government schools)
  • have attended 30% or less of the previous school term, or equivalent, or not be attending an education setting at all.

Participation in Navigator is optional and consent from the young person’s parent or carer must be sought before the referral is made. It is strongly encouraged that the young person is also made aware of and supportive of the referral.

Where a parent or carer is unable or unwilling to consent to the referral and the young person is a mature minor for the purpose of making a decision about a referral to Navigator, the young person may consent to the referral instead. For guidance on when and how to assess a student as being a mature minor, refer to the Department’s policy on Mature Minors and Decision Making.

For the purposes of this policy, a reference to parent or carer consent includes mature minor consent.

Consent may be in writing or verbal. Referrers should keep a record of the date and the name of the person who gave consent as this will need to be included in the referral form.

Parent or carer consent to submit a referral is important as Navigator is built on a model of strong partnerships between young people, their family, the education provider, community service organisations and the Department. These groups 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.

Where it is not possible or appropriate to obtain consent from the parent or carer and the young person is not considered to be a mature minor for the purpose of making this decision or there are any other concerns in relation to the process, the referrer should contact the relevant area Navigator Coordinator who can assist with making any referrals deemed appropriate. Refer to the Key Navigator contacts section below for Navigator Coordinator contact details for your area.

Once a referral has been processed and it is intended the young person will participate in Navigator, consent to participate in the program will be sought directly from the relevant parent or carer.

Parents and carers who are submitting the referral themselves are advised to read the Consent, information and protecting privacy factsheet (PDF)External Link prior to completing a referral. All other referrers are asked to share this factsheet with parents and carers as part of seeking their consent to submit the referral for the young person.

Submitting a referral to Navigator

All referrals to Navigator must be made using the online Navigator referral formExternal Link and follow the process outlined below. Note: Referrals cannot be saved once commenced.

Where referrers are unable to complete the online form, they should contact their area Navigator Coordinator for advice and support.

The process and requirements for submitting a referral to Navigator will differ depending on who is making the referral. The questions contained in the referral form are available on the Resources tab.

  • This information applies to staff in schools and education settings making a referral to Navigator on behalf of a student. For a full list of questions schools and education providers will need to respond to during the referral process, refer to the Navigator – school and education provider referral factsheet (PDF)External Link .

    In addition to obtaining parent or carer consent to submit the referral, before submitting a referral, schools and education providers are expected to have:

    1. exhausted relevant school or setting-based support strategies
    2. obtained principal or assistant principal (or equivalent) authorisation to submit the referral.

    Referrals from schools and education providers can only be submitted when the referrer confirms they meet these requirements, or with agreement from the local Navigator Coordinator.

    1. School or education setting-based support strategies

    It is expected that a range of supports will have already been provided by schools and education providers prior to referral to the Navigator program. The strategies outlined below are examples of the types of support and actions schools should be taking. These will vary from school to school or education setting and depend on the needs and circumstances of the young person being referred and may include:

    The Navigator referral formExternal Link will ask which of the above strategies the school or education provider has tried or implemented.

    2. Obtain principal or assistant principal (or equivalent) authorisation to submit the referral

    School staff who are completing a referral for a student must first discuss the referral with the principal or the assistant principal (or equivalent for non-school education settings) and obtain their authorisation to submit the referral.

    When considering if they authorise the referral, the principal or assistant principal should consider the following:

    1. Has the school or education provider exhausted other relevant support strategies to engage the young person in learning and improve attendance (including strategies listed above)?
    2. Has the school or education provider followed relevant policies, guidelines and practices in relation to student attendance and engagement?
    3. Will the school or education provider commit to working in partnership with Navigator to support the young person to re-engage with education? This includes:
      • nominating a key contact within the school to act as a liaison between Navigator and the school or education provider
      • providing monthly attendance data to the local Navigator team for the referred student.

    If the principal or assistant principal can answer ‘yes’ to points a and b and agrees to point c, the referral should be submitted.

    If the principal does not authorise the referral, but another member of the school staff believes it should be submitted, they should contact their Navigator Coordinator to discuss this matter.

    Information required for schools (and education providers) to submit a referral for a student

    All referrals from schools or education providers must include the following:

    1. confirmation that the parent or carer has provided consent for the school to submit the referral (the referral form will ask the school to record who they gained consent from, how consent was obtained (verbal or written), who collected it, and on what date.
    2. confirmation that the school principal or assistant principal (or equivalent) authorises the referral and agrees to work in partnership with Navigator to support the young person. The referral form will ask for the authorising principal or assistant principal’s name, the date of the authorisation and confirmation that points a to c (see above) are agreed to.
    3. the young person’s attendance rate for the current and previous 4 school terms. The referral form will ask the school to record the total days in the term or term-to-date as well as the number of days attended by the young person in that term - the referral form will then calculate the attendance percentage.
    4. the family’s contact details and the young person’s date of birth
    5. details of the current or previous strategies the schools or education provider have used to engage the young person
    6. contact details of the best school or education provider contact
    7. whether an interpreter is required for the young person or their parent or carer. The specific language spoken is not required at this stage
    8. 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
      • has a disability or health condition that impacts their educational engagement
      • is involved in, or at risk of involvement with Youth Justice.

    Once a school or education provider has submitted a referral for a student, the referrer will receive email confirmation it has been received.

    The Department’s area Navigator Coordinators may then contact the parent or carer (if needed) before contacting the school or education setting to discuss the referral with the identified key contact person and finalise the referral. This may include asking further, clarifying questions as listed in the Navigator – school and education provider referral factsheet (PDF)External Link . 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 person may delay the young person being offered Navigator support.

  • This information applies to parents and carers making a referral to Navigator on behalf of their child or young person. For a full list of questions asked as part of the referral process, refer to the Navigator – parent and carer referral factsheet (PDF)External Link .

    Before making a referral

    • It is expected that parents or carers have raised their concerns regarding their child’s or the young person’s engagement with their school and discussed the suitability of a Navigator referral with relevant staff
    • If the parent or carer has not yet done this, they should first contact the school to discuss their concerns. If the parent or carer does not have an existing contact, the school’s reception staff should be able to direct them to the most appropriate person. The referral form will ask for details regarding the contact or contact attempts with the school
    • If it is not possible or appropriate to contact/discuss with the school, parents or carers can proceed with making a referral or contact a local Navigator Coordinator
    • Before a referral is submitted, parents or carers are encouraged to read the Consent, information and protecting privacy factsheet (PDF)External Link

    Making a referral

    • Once the parent or carer has raised their concerns with the school (where possible and appropriate to do so) a referral to Navigator can be made via the online referral formExternal Link
    • Once the parent or carer’s referral has been submitted, they will receive email confirmation it has been received

    After a referral has been submitted

    • The local Navigator Coordinator may contact the parent or carer to help determine if Navigator is suitable for their child or young person. If it is likely the young person will receive Navigator support, the Navigator Coordinator will then contact the school to ask further questions regarding child or young person’s engagement. These questions can be found in the Navigator – parent and carer referral factsheet (PDF)External Link
    • The Navigator Coordinator may not contact the parent or carer after the referral has been submitted if they have sufficient information from the school and referral form. In these instances, they will pass the referral directly onto the Navigator service provider who will then contact the parent or carer to discuss commencing the delivery of Navigator support
  • This information applies to people other than parents, carers and schools who want to refer a young person to Navigator, or complete the referral form on behalf of the school or family. Navigator regards this group of people as ‘other referrers’. For a full list of questions asked as part of the referral process refer to the Navigator – other referrers factsheet (PDF)External Link .

    Before making a referral

    Obtaining parent or carer consent
    • It is the responsibility of other referrers to ensure that they have consent from the young person’s parent or carer prior to submitting a referral. When seeking consent, the referrer must have clearly explained to the parent or carer:
      • what Navigator is (further information about the program can be found in the Resources tab).
      • why they wish to submit a referral
      • what the parent or carer is consenting to.
    • The referrer should also provide the parent or carer with the Consent, information and protecting privacy factsheet (PDF)External Link to help them understand what is involved in the Navigator referral process.
    • The referral form will ask for details regarding who gave consent, how this was obtained, and on what date.
    • If the parent or carer does not consent to the referral being submitted, but the referrer believes a referral is still warranted, they should contact the local Navigator coordinator to discuss.
    Contacting the school or education provider
    • Before making a referral to Navigator, it is expected that the referrer or the parent or carer have, where appropriate, raised concerns regarding the child or young person’s engagement with their school and discussed the suitability of a Navigator referral with relevant staff.
    • If the referrer or the parent or carer does not have an existing contact, the school’s reception staff should be able to direct them to the relevant person. Note: if the referrer makes contact with the school, the school will need to adhere to privacy and information sharing requirements and depending on the individual circumstances, may not be able to have this discussion with a person who is not the parent or carer.
    • If the referrer or the parents or carer is unable (or it is not appropriate) to discuss the young person’s disengagement with the school, a referral can still be submitted, noting the contact attempts or reasons it is not appropriate to discuss with the school in the referral form.

    Making the referral

    • Once the referrer has obtained parent or carer consent and contacted or attempted to contact the school (where appropriate) a referral can then be made via the online referral formExternal Link .
    • Once the referral has been submitted, the referrer will receive email confirmation it has been received.

    After a referral has been submitted

    • The local Navigator coordinator may contact the other referrer or the parent or carer to help determine if Navigator is suitable for the young person. If it is likely the young person will receive Navigator support, the Navigator Coordinator will then contact the young person’s school to ask further questions regarding the young person’s engagement. Refer to Navigator – other referrers factsheet (PDF)External Link for a list of the questions the Navigator coordinator will ask the school or education provider.
    • The Navigator coordinator may not contact the referrer, parent or carer after the referral has been submitted if they have sufficient information from the school and referral form. In these instances, they will pass the referral directly onto the Navigator Service Provider who will then contact the parent or carer to discuss commencing the delivery of Navigator support.
    • Once the referral has been submitted, the local Navigator coordinator will make a determination on the level of information that is shared with the referrer – this will be based on the individual circumstances of the young person and ensure their privacy is respected and that their personal and sensitive information is only shared where necessary.
  • The following section provides details of key Navigator contacts for general questions , policy information and to make or seek support in making a referral.

    General, state-wide and policy queries

    These queries should be directed to the Central Navigator team, Engaging Student At Risk Branch, at Navigator@education.vic.gov.au

    Referral related enquiries

    To seek assistance with a referral or a local level question about Navigator please contact the area Navigator Coordinator closest to you, details below.

    Western Melbourne

    Navigator Coordinator: Kerryn Williams
    Phone number: 03 7005 1830, 0436 802 442
    Email: kerryn.williams@education.vic.gov.au

    Central Highlands

    Navigator Coordinator: iestyn (pronounced yest-in) Opie
    Phone number: 03 4334 0588
    Email: iestyn.opie@education.vic.gov.au

    Bayside Peninsula

    Navigator Coordinator: Sarah Letho (Wednesday to Friday)
    Phone number: 03 7022 1129
    Email: sarah.letho@education.vic.gov.au

    Navigator Coordinator: Theresa Paxino (Tuesday to Thursday)
    Phone number: 03 8766 5693
    Email: theresa.paxino@education.vic.gov.au

    Southern Melbourne

    Navigator Coordinator: Louise Palalagi
    Phone number: 03 8904 2545
    Email: Louise.Palalagi@education.vic.gov.au

    Goulburn

    Navigator Coordinator: David Bennett
    Phone number: 03 5858 8908
    Email: David.Bennett@education.vic.gov.au

    Ovens Murray

    Navigator Coordinator: Colleen Drury
    Phone number: 03 5771 4478
    Email: Colleen.Drury@education.vic.gov.au

    Hume Moreland

    Navigator Coordinator: Karla Anderson
    Phone number: 0419 164 785
    Email: Navigator.HumeMoreland@education.vic.gov.au

    Mallee

    Navigator Coordinator: Kim McCarty
    Phone number: 03 5077 3109
    Email: Kim.Mccarty@education.vic.gov.au

    Brimbank Melton

    Navigator Coordinator: Chloe Crooks
    Phone number: 03 7005 1966
    Email: Chloe.Crooks@education.vic.gov.au

    Loddon Campaspe

    Navigator Coordinator: Younes Benhim
    Phone number: 03 4433 7557
    Email: Younes.Benhim@education.vic.gov.au

    Inner Gippsland

    Navigator Coordinator: Rhiannon Edwards
    Phone number: 03 7022 2416
    Email: Rhiannon.Edwards@education.vic.gov.au

    Barwon

    Navigator Coordinator: Stephanie McLean
    Phone number: 03 4245 9147
    Email: Stephanie.McLean@education.vic.gov.au

    Wimmera South West

    Navigator Coordinator: Laura Main
    Phone number: 03 8871 2532
    Email: Laura.Main2@education.vic.gov.au

    North Eastern Melbourne

    Navigator Coordinator: Emma Couper
    Phone number: 03 7022 2446
    Email: Emma.Couper@education.vic.gov.au

    Inner Eastern Melbourne

    Navigator Coordinator: Clare Hartley
    Phone number: 03 7022 0277
    Email: clare.hartley@education.vic.gov.au

    Outer Eastern Melbourne

    Navigator Coordinator: Zoe Field
    Phone number: 03 7022 1164
    Email: zoe.field@education.vic.gov.au

    Outer Gippsland

    Navigator Coordinator: Renee Hoffman
    Phone number: 03 8904 2625
    Email: Renee.Hoffman@education.vic.gov.au

Department policy outlining referral and consent process and requirements relating to the department’s Navigator Program (Navigator).

Reviewed 22 November 2022

Policy last updated

5 December 2021

Scope

  • Schools

Engaging Students at Risk Branch There are multiple contacts for this topic. Refer to the Key Navigator contacts section in the policy for details.

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