School operations

Re-engagement Programs

Referring a student to a re-engagement program

Re-engagement programs offer tailored support for students who are disengaged, or who are at risk of disengaging, from mainstream school.

Re-engagement program providers may use their own referral forms that referring schools can complete. These should include the information outlined below as a minimum.

Referrals to re-engagement programs should be clearly documented and be done in consultation with the child or young person and their parent/carer.

Referring a child or young person who is enrolled in school

A referral to a re-engagement program is only appropriate where a school:

  • has identified a student at risk of disengaging and
  • has put in place a range of strategies to support the student to improve engagement in the school setting and
  • these strategies have not been successful

If these conditions have been met, the enrolling school may refer a child or young person to a re-engagement program following these steps:

  1. Discuss the option of a re-engagement program, including what it will involve, with the child or young person, their parent/carer and obtain their consent to make a referral.
  2. Liaise with the re-engagement program provider regarding the potential referral, to discuss suitability for the individual child or young person, likely length of placement, the program’s capacity to accept a new referral, and any specific referral information required.
  3. Complete a written referral, which should be done collaboratively with the child or young person and their parent/carer. The following information must be included in the referral:
    • the child or young person’s risks, needs, goals, and strengths (should include both the school and young person’s perspectives)
    • the child or young person’s educational history
    • the specific learning, social and/or behavioural outcomes sought from the placement in a re-engagement program
    • the range of strategies, which the school and other services has implemented to maintain engagement in a school setting
    • any school-based and/or external agencies currently supporting the child or young person and relevant information regarding these support relationships
    • the name and role of contact person at enrolling school who will liaise with the re-engagement program regarding the student’s participation, attendance, progress and outcomes
    • written consent from the child or young person and their parent/carer for the referral, including the disclosure of any personal information
  4. Seek written approval of referral from school principal.
  5. Supply referral information to the provider, along with relevant additional documentation such as existing needs assessments or individual learning plans.
  6. Ensure the school keeps a copy of the referral. In making a referral, schools:
    • should allocate an appropriate person to lead the referral process — it may be an assistant principal, wellbeing staff member such as a student welfare coordinator or primary welfare officer, or student support services officer
    • must obtain the consent of the child/young person and their parent/carer
    • must ensure that any placement of a student supported by the Program for Students with Disabilities in a re-engagement program is approved by their student support group, and included as a strategy in their individual education plan. The decision about placement for a student with a disability must include consideration of any necessary adjustments for their access, participation and achievement
    • must consider funding and contract arrangements

Referring a child or young person who is not enrolled in school

The child's parent/carer or a support worker should first discuss options for enrolment and engagement back into school with:

  • the child or young person’s previous school or
  • the local neighbourhood government school (where the previous school is not identified, interstate or not within reasonable distance of the child or young person’s current residence)

If the enrolment is accepted and it is determined that a re-engagement program is the best option, the same referral process should be followed as for other enrolled students.

If this approach is not successful, the child or young person, their parent/carer or support worker should contact the closest regional office.

Guidance chapter on the process for referring a student to a re-engagement program

Reviewed 01 June 2020

Was this page helpful?