Policy last updated
17 July 2023
- Children and young people who cannot live in their family home may access out-of-home care as a temporary, medium or long-term living arrangement.
- Out-of-home care includes both statutory and informal out-of-home care.
- Schools are required to meet defined obligations under the Partnering Agreement for all students in statutory out-of-home care. These obligations aim to support the educational achievement of every child and young person in statutory out-of-home care.
Under the Partnering Agreement, schools must meet certain obligations to students in out-of-home care. The Partnering Agreement details the obligations in relation to students in Statutory out-of-home care.
Out-of-home care is a temporary, medium or long-term living arrangement for children and young people who cannot live in their family home. Out-of-home care most commonly refers to statutory out-of-home care, where a child or young person cannot live in their family home and a legal order is in place to support the arrangement.
Statutory out-of-home care includes foster care, kinship care, permanent care, residential care and lead tenant arrangements. In Victoria, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has oversight of these arrangements.
Out-of-home care also includes informal out-of-home care arrangements. Informal out-of-home care refers to an arrangement in which a child or young person is living with someone other than their parent or legal guardian, without an out-of-home care legal order in place. DHHS usually does not have oversight of these arrangements. When a student is living in an informal out-of-home care arrangement, the, carer should be asked to complete an (staff login required). The declaration is a written statement that sets out the care arrangements for the child or young person. A completed declaration is required to allow the school the student attends, or where they are seeking enrolment, to work with an informal carer.
Out-of-home care does not include children or young people who have transitioned to family reunification or adoption.
Types of statutory out-of-home care
- Foster care: a child or young person is taken into care by a foster carer who has been trained and approved to look after children and young people
- Kinship care: a child or young person is taken into care by a relative or family friend allowing them to remain within the family or local network
- Permanent care: refers to situations when a child or young person is placed with approved permanent care parents by Adoption and Permanent Care Teams, or when an existing foster care or kinship care placement is converted to permanent care by the granting of a permanent care order
- Residential care: a young person is placed into a home staffed by carers
- Lead tenant: an out-of-home care placement option providing medium-term accommodation and support to young people aged 16 to 17 years
Out-of-home care channels
Children and young people come into out-of-home care through 2 main channels:
- after an investigation and removal from the family home by Child Protection
- when a parent or parents cannot care for their child and approach DHHS or a community service organisation to care for their child.
A number of legal orders can be granted by the Children's Court to assist in the safe removal of a child from their family home.
Schools’ obligations under the Partnering Agreement
Schools and child protection practitioners are required to meet their obligations under the Partnering Agreement.
Partnering Agreement background
The Partnering Agreement is a commitment between:
- the Department of Education
- the Department of Health and Human Services
- the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria
- Independent Schools Victoria
- Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
- the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.
The Partnering Agreement strengthens the shared commitment between partners to improve education and health and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care.
The Partnering Agreement was refreshed in 2018, with changes to align with current legislation, policy and programs available to children and young people in out-of-home care to support their education, health and wellbeing.
The agreement aims to ensure that:
- processes are in place to actively support the educational achievement of every child and young person in out-of-home care
- a strongly coordinated approach exists to support the needs of children and young people in out-of-home care
- all parties understand each other’s roles and responsibilities and work cooperatively
- strategies are implemented to improve outcomes related to student enrolment, attendance, achievement, case planning, retention and school completion.
Obligations: Statutory out-of-home care
For every student in statutory out-of-home care, and for the first year of a student entering permanent care, schools must implement their obligations under the Partnering Agreement. These obligations include:
- appointing a learning mentor
- assigning a student support group
- developing an individual education plan
- developing an educational needs analysis
- nominating a designated teacher.
Schools should refer to the following for guidance on how to meet the requirements listed above:
- the Partnering Agreement
- Supporting students in out-of-home care (in the )
- the Educational Needs Analysis guidelines (in the Guidance tab).
Informal out-of-home care
The obligations set out in the Partnering Agreement apply specifically to students in statutory out-of-home care.
When a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for them, relatives or significant others may take on responsibility for the care of that child. Sometimes this care is provided on an informal basis that does not give the carer any legal status over the child or formal recognition as a carer.
Generally, an informal carer who has provided the school with a completed Informal Carer Statutory Declaration may make school-based decisions for the child and may access school information ordinarily provided to a parent.
It is important to note that, subject to any court orders, generally, a parent’s decision overrides any decision made by an informal carer. Other factors that might be relevant to decision-making and information-sharing for the child include a consideration of whether the child is a mature minor or any safety and wellbeing concerns. Refer to the department’s policy on for further information.
LOOKOUT Educational Support Centres (LOOKOUT Centres)
LOOKOUT Centres are an additional resource to support schools and child protection practitioners to meet their obligations under the Partnering Agreement. LOOKOUT Centres also provide support in the early childhood sector.
Out-of-Home Care Guidelines
For every student in statutory out-of-home care, and for the first year of a student entering permanent care, schools must:
- appoint a learning mentor
- assign a student support group
- develop an individual education plan
- complete an Educational Needs Analysis (ENA)
- nominate a designated teacher
These guidelines aim to:
- provide guidance to schools on how to support the education of children and young people in out-of-home care and how to meet their obligations under the Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment: a Partnering Agreement (Chapters 1 to 5)
- support schools to develop an ENA for every child and young person who has been living in statutory out-of-home-care for at least 3 months (Chapters 6 to 7)
These guidelines contain the following chapters:
- Appointing a learning mentor
- Assign a Student Support Group to the student
- Developing an Individual Education Plan
- Make a referral for an Educational Needs Analysis
- Nominating a designated teacher
- Introduction to Educational Needs Analysis Guidance
- Educational Needs Analysis Process
1 Appointing a learning mentor
1 Appointing a learning mentor
Learning mentors are appointed by schools to support all children and young people in out-of-home care. Learning mentors focus on supporting a child or young person in their learning, academic achievement and wellbeing in the learning environment.
The learning mentor should not be directly involved in the teaching of the student but should ideally be a trusted staff member who:
- is willing to take on the role voluntarily, outside of regular classroom commitments
- has a particular connection and fit with the student
The learning mentor can be the out-of-home care 'designated teacher'.
1.1 Choose a learning mentor
A learning mentor should be allocated in a timely manner when the school first becomes aware that the student is in out-of-home care. This may be when a student first starts school, following school transitions, or when the student first enters out-of-home care. The school leadership team should identify the learning mentor. The process should involve the student to ensure a good fit. Critical considerations in this process include a staff member’s skills, experience, gender, workload and existing relationship with the student.
1.2 Learning mentor role and key activities
The learning mentor plays a crucial role in assisting children and young people in out-of-home care. Being placed into care can be a traumatic and stressful experience. A child may require special support and assistance.
The aim of the learning mentor role is to help the student stay connected to their schooling and to address barriers that may impact their learning. This might include:
- support the educational needs of the child or young person
- getting to know the student and taking an interest in his/her life and learning
- identifying any challenges that they may be facing and developing strategies that could assist in addressing these challenges
- acting as a role model and guide for the child or young person
- advocating for the student (e.g. ensuring that other teaching staff are made aware of their learning needs, interests, passions, or particular fears or struggles)
- meeting with the student at a regular time. This would ideally occur as regularly as required
- participating in meetings and providing advice about additional supports that the student may require
- facilitating the student's input into the individual education plan
The learning mentor is not responsible for supports that can undermine the learning mentor relationship. In particular they are not responsible for:
- providing counselling
- supervising the student if they have behaved inappropriately and been removed from the classroom
1.3 Supports for learning mentors
It is important that learning mentors receive ongoing support from the school’s leadership team. This should include:
- ensuring that an appropriate time and space is made available for the student to meet with their learning mentor
- providing formal avenues for professional support to the learning mentor (such as access to a wellbeing coordinator, student support services, employee assistance program)
- providing access to professional development. Training information for learning mentors is available in the tab.
2 Assign a Student Support Group to the student
2 Assign a Student Support Group to the student
School principals must establish a Student Support Group (SSG) for every child and young person in out-of-home care.
The aims of the SSG are to:
- ensure that those with the most knowledge of, and responsibility for, the student work together to establish shared goals for the student's educational future
- plan reasonable adjustments for the student to access the curriculum
- provide educational planning that is ongoing throughout the student's life
- monitor the progress of the student
A school must hold meetings on a termly basis, with extra meetings held at the request of the case manager and the parent, guardian and/or carer.
2.1 Out-of-home care specific responsibilities of the Student Support Group
The SSG is responsible for:
- identifying the student’s needs
- determining any adjustments to be made to the curriculum, teaching and learning
- planning an appropriate educational program
- developing an individual education plan (IEP, also known as a Personal Learning Plan)
- discussing the IEP with teachers and those providing support to implement the IEP
- providing advice to the principal concerning the additional educational needs of the student and what may be required to meet these needs
- reviewing and evaluating the student’s program once per term, and at other times if requested by any member of the group
2.2 Members of the Student Support Group for students in out-of-home care
The following is a list of relevant people that may attend SSGs:
- The case manager
- A teacher, year level coordinator, the Learning Mentor and Principal or Vice Principal
- Student wellbeing staff member and/or student support services officer
- The child or young person (where age-appropriate)
- The carer or child or young person’s parent
- Other relevant support services
2.3 Running a Student Support Group for students in out-of-home care
Attendees should provide information about the student that will support him/her in their education. Attendees identify the child or young persons’ strengths and needs and utilise the SSG to develop an IEP. The group devises strategies to optimise student wellbeing and achievement and to address potential barriers and challenges to engagement.
Further, it is important that the Learning Mentor is able to advocate for the student, and/or that the student is included and involved in the discussions, likely to have ideas about what might work better for them.
It is best practice for the school to:
- prepare the agendas and facilitate meetings
- ensure that the meeting follows the agenda within the allocated time
- take minutes and document/disseminate key actions among participants in a timely manner
- encourage members to respect each other’s views, knowledge and expertise, and collaborate as a team to meet the best interests of the student
- be aware that carers are likely to have the greatest understanding of the child and young person, and it is integral that their meaningful participation is supported
- encourage members to consider the language and terminology used during meetings to ensure that all members (particularly carers and students), are informed, comfortable and have the capacity to equally participate in the group
- schedule regular meetings in advance to ensure the availability of all members
- hold additional meetings on an as-needed basis, if requested by group members
- encourage reflection and creative problem-solving
3 Developing an Individual Education Plan
3 Developing an Individual Education Plan
The Student Support Group (SSG) develops the Individual Education Plan (IEP).
The purpose of an IEP is to describe a set of strategies to address the particular educational needs of the child or young person in out-of-home care.
Developing an IEP is an opportunity to recognise and discuss social and behavioural difficulties and concerns a child may have.
The IEP should:
- outline a meaningful educational program
- be age appropriate, holistic in its approach, flexible and future orientated
- consider key long-term goals that reflect learning outcomes in social, academic and life skills development
- establish short-term goals that will lead sequentially to the achievement of long-term goals
- ensure that the goals are measurable, achievable, supported, time-framed and aim to retain the student at school
- clearly articulate individual and shared responsibilities
- provide guidance for the SSG
- contain a record of important decisions, actions, student behaviour and progress
- be a useful transition tool
- be reviewed on a termly basis, or more regularly as needed
4 Make a referral for an Educational Needs Analysis
4 Make a referral for an Educational Needs Analysis
Every child and young person who has been living in statutory out-of-home-care for at least three months (consecutively or for a period that adds up to three months) requires an Educational Needs Analysis (ENA). If a member of the Student Support Group (SSG) has concerns regarding the student’s presentation and rate of progression the ENA process should begin immediately.
To refer student in care for an ENA, schools need to:
- undertake a pre-referral discussion with the Student Support Services Key Contact. The Key Contact may be the Student Support Services representative at the initial SSG
- obtain consent from the parent/legal guardian or mature minor
- submit a referral on the Student Online Case System (SOCS)
The Student Support Services Team Leader allocates the referral to the appropriate team member.
The ENA is undertaken in coordination with the SSG. When the ENA is complete it is used to inform the individual education plan and supports to put in place for the student at the school.
For more information on the ENA process, please visit chapter 6 and chapter 7 of these guidelines.
5 Nominating a designated teacher
5 Nominating a designated teacher
Designated teachers are nominated by the school principal, and are expected to hold a relatively senior position within the school.
Each provides training for designated teachers in their region to be the advocate and champion for students at their school who are in out-of-home care. Designated teachers are given guidance on the needs of students in out-of-home care and strategies for supporting the education of these students.
Designated teachers are the main point of contact between the school and LOOKOUT Centre staff.
5.1 Designated teacher role
The designated teacher has a key role in supporting students in out-of-home care to make a smooth transition into school, including making sure there are effective arrangements in place for the speedy transfer of information between relevant agencies.
In conjunction with LOOKOUT Centres, the designated teacher ensures students are engaged in education and meeting their learning goals. They work collaboratively with the school’s wellbeing staff and other agency representatives to minimise any disruption to the student’s education.
Designated teachers do not replace the role of the student wellbeing staff in working with external agencies to support students in out-of-home care.
Designated teachers are in all Victorian schools, including government schools, Catholic and Independent schools.
5.2 Designated teacher responsibilities
- have oversight of individual education plans (IEPs)
- ensure the establishment of student support groups (SSGs)
- make sure students have a learning mentor (and may act as the learning mentor)
- promote a culture of high expectations and aspirations for the learning of students in out-of-home care
- make sure the student has a voice in setting learning targets
- are a source of advice for staff about differentiated teaching strategies appropriate for individual students in care
- make full use of assessment for learning
- ensure that students in out-of-home care are prioritised in one-to-one tuition arrangements
- ensure carers understand the importance of supporting learning at home
- have lead responsibility to ensure each student in out-of-home care has a quality IEP
- promote the implementation of all elements of the at the school
- are the lead contact for the LOOKOUT Centre within their school
- ensure all Koorie students have a school cultural support plan and are linked with the Koorie Education Support Officer (KESO) within government schools.
6 Introduction to Educational Needs Analysis Guidance
6 Introduction to Educational Needs Analysis guidance
Every child and young person who has been living in statutory out-of-home-care for at least three months (consecutively or for a period that adds up to three months) requires an Educational Needs Analysis (ENA). If a member of the student support group (SSG) has concerns regarding the student’s presentation and rate of progression the ENA process should begin immediately.
Children and young people residing in statutory out-of-home care present with a diverse range characteristics, needs, strengths and interests. They share the experience of removal from their parents’ care as a result of significant concerns for their safety and wellbeing, such as exposure to abuse and other traumatic events.
There is substantial research regarding the impact of abuse, trauma and disrupted attachment on development, school engagement and achievement. Research indicates that children and young people in out-of-home care experience poorer educational and life outcomes compared to their peers who are not residing in out-of-home care. They are also more likely to have Special Educational Needs (SEN). Students in out-of-home care with SEN have poorer test scores and are less likely to complete secondary education compared with students in out-of-home care without SEN or students with SEN who are not residing in out-of-home care. Raising educational attainment is an important strategy to interrupt these negative life trajectories (O’Higgins, et al, 2017).
However, residing in out-of-home care does not have a causal relationship with poor attainment; nor does it mean that every child in care will have worse outcomes than their peers. A student’s individual characteristics, exposure to traumatic events and other contextual factors that may have led to them entering out-of-home care, and age and time of entry into care will all contribute to their individual presentation (Welbourne & Leeson, 2012)[i]. In addition, protective factors, such as a safe and supportive environment, school engagement, and positive connections with teachers and peers significantly improves outcomes for students in out-of-home care.
6.1 Overview of Educational Needs Analysis
The ENA is a process of understanding and addressing a student’s social, emotional and cultural learning needs, as well as their strengths. This involves collecting, reviewing and analysing personal, health, and educational information from a range of sources and determining the need for additional interventions and services. The ENA aims to support identification of the student’s individual learning needs and inform their Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Personalised Learning Plan (PLP). Note that there are templates available for IEPs in the tab.
An effective ENA is trauma-informed and takes a holistic view of the child or young person across their physical, social, emotional, educational, and psychological development.
The ENA is also informed by the linguistic and cultural background of the student, and the student’s own views and readiness to participate in the process (where appropriate).
The process considers the broader context in which the student lives and learns (eg. school, home, residential care), the conditions and the people in the student’s life and how these impact on the student’s development and progress.
The ENA should be strengths-based and constructive, rather than simply labelling the difficulty.
It should also ensure existing progress can be maintained and support acceleration when appropriate.
The ENA process is designed to follow a multi-tiered system of support approach from the least to the most intrusive procedure of information gathering and analysis based on the individual and contextual characteristics of each student.
The ENA may include assessment processes such as observation and interviews with key stakeholders, and collation of existing information, such as school-based assessment (e.g. school reports, NAPLAN and On Demand test results) and information provided by the DHHS/Community Service Organisation (CSO) case manager. It may also include administration of standardised screening tools and diagnostic tests in a range of areas of development, such as cognitive and intellectual, achievement, language, adaptive functioning, social, emotional and behavioural functioning, mental health, skills and interests, and vocational assessment.
Standardised screening tools and diagnostic tests should not replace routine assessment processes utilised by educational settings for all students. Schools are able to provide data/information regarding attainment, wellbeing, and behaviour that will form the basis of decisions regarding additional assessment and intervention. Where direct consultation and assessment with the student is considered, the student’s capacity to participate in the assessment should also be taken into account (i.e. current emotional state). The best interests of the student, rather than pre-determined timelines, should remain paramount in decision-making.
The subsequent strategies and interventions recommended need to be evidence-based and embedded within an evaluation and review cycle.
The recommendations stemming from the ENA process, albeit focused on educational outcomes, assume that all members of the team around the student, including the carers/residential staff, teachers and the student, are working together and have a shared responsibility in promoting these in their individual environments (eg. school/home/residential care) and facilitating their successful implementation.
As the individual needs, strengths and prior interventions for students in out-of-home care vary, the ENA and subsequent educational planning and support will be different for each student, while retaining the overarching goal of positive educational and life outcomes.
[i] Welbourne, P. & Leeson, C. (2012). The education of children in care: A research review. Journal of Children’s Services, 7 (2), 128-143.
7 Educational Needs Analysis Process
7 Educational Needs Analysis process
The Educational Needs Analysis (ENA) Process flowchart outlines the ENA process, including significant milestones and the timeline for completion.
While the Partnering Agreement states an ENA is required for all students who have resided in statutory out-of-home care for a period of three months or longer, it acknowledges that if a member of the student support group (SSG) has concerns regarding the student’s presentation and rate of progression the process should begin immediately.
In addition to students entering out-of-home care, students in existing care arrangements who enrol in a new school may also require an ENA depending on what has been done previously and the student’s current presentation.
Although the ENA process is collaborative, distinct roles are prescribed for the school, DHHS Child Protection, contracted Community Service Organisations (CSOs), and Student Support Services (SSS) or equivalent. The Roles and Responsibilities Resource Guide provides a reference guide for the roles and responsibilities of individual stakeholders.
It is important that schools inform their Student Support Services Key Contact (DET) or equivalent prior to or at the time of the student’s enrolment or entry into out-of-home care. This will enable prioritisation of the referral, including planning for necessary consultation and attendance at SSG meetings.
Referral to Student Support Services
The Student Support Services (SSS) Handbook (March, 2018) outlines the role of SSS in supporting students with additional needs, including students in out-of-home care. SSS collaborate with schools to ‘undertake personalised learning and support planning for students who have specific needs and where adjustments are required to ensure the student can access and engage in their educational program’. SSS prioritise assisting schools with the ENA process (such as priority two after critical incident response).
The steps for referring to SSS for an ENA include:
- a pre-referral discussion between the school and SSS Key Contact. The Key Contact may be the SSS representative at the initial SSG as part of the pre-referral process
- the school obtains consent from the parent/legal guardian or mature minor
- the school submits the referral on the
- the SSS Team Leader allocates the referral to the appropriate SSS team member(s).
For children and young people entering residential out-of-home care:
- If the student is enrolled but is not attending school, the DHHS Health and Education Coordinator has the role of coordinating the ENA with the DHHS Care Team in liaison with the staff.
- If the student is attending school it is recommended that a referral for an ENA is made to the SSS or equivalent.
Independent schools arrange and fund the ENA following the student’s enrolment or entry into out-of-home care.
7.1 Step 1 – Initial student support group meeting
An SSG meeting should be convened by the school principal or delegate within one week of a student in out-of-home care enrolling in the school or entering out-of-home care.
SSG membership should include key people in the student’s life who are able to share information regarding the student’s needs and strengths, and support the implementation of strategies/interventions. The SSG will commonly consist of the principal or delegate, DHHS or CSO case manager, the carer, the classroom teacher, and SSS or equivalent. The student’s individual circumstances will determine the need for additional members, such as the student (where appropriate), Designated Teacher and/or Learning Mentor, school wellbeing staff, education support staff, Koorie Engagement Support Officer (KESO), LOOKOUT Education Support Centre representative, and/or relevant external agencies.
The purpose of the initial SSG meeting is to determine the information required to assist with maximising the holistic development and support of the student. The SSG meeting should determine whether an ENA is required and the timeline for completion. This includes a decision regarding whether an ENA should be completed immediately or up to three months after the student has entered out-of-home care. In the event of the latter, the ENA process should be commenced in anticipation (e.g. collection of information).
Where an ENA has been previously undertaken and recorded (i.e. ENA Status Report and ENA Report), the SSG will determine whether an updated ENA is required based on the relevancy of the previous ENA and the student’s current presentation.
The outcome of this discussion should be documented in the SSG meeting minutes.
A template for recording the Initial SSG meeting minutes, including a checklist to assist with determining what information is readily available and what further information may be required, is provided in the .
This document should be saved in the appropriate secure location; for example, the student’s school file and the SSS Department Confidential Student file (DCS). Access to this document should be limited to all members of the SSG and staff who work directly with the student. If parts of this information need to be shared beyond those working directly with the student, only a summary of should be shared, as needed for the activity. This document is not to include detailed case notes on the student.
The initial SSG meeting should also determine if the student is eligible for existing programs within the educational setting, such as the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) (DET) or Students with Disabilities program (SWD) Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV). This may result in an internal referral (e.g. SSS) or external referral (for example Assessments Australia). Note: PSD applications for students in out-of-home care are not subject to the usual timelines, and can be submitted by the school at any time.
7.2 Steps 2 to 4 – Information gathering and review
This phase involves the collection and review of information determined necessary at the initial SSG meeting and the outcome of any program or external referrals. This includes the school and DHHS or CSO case manager collecting and sharing relevant information with SSS regarding the student’s needs and strengths. SSS will obtain any existing SSS Department Confidential Student file (DCS) and collate the information provided within ten weeks of the initial SSG meeting.
The most common examples of information that may be gathered as part of the ENA process are illustrated in the fact sheet Examples of Information to be Collated, available in the . This information can provide a comprehensive and holistic picture of the student’s health, wellbeing and learning profile. Information should be gathered on a needs basis and as such the proposed sources of information outlined on the checklist are not all mandatory nor exhaustive.
7.3 Step 5 – Educational Needs Analysis with Student Support Group meeting
Following collection, collation and analysis of information by the SSS the school convenes the ENA SSG meeting with membership from the initial meeting and any other relevant stakeholders.
The purpose of the meeting is to determine whether the information currently available is sufficient for the ENA to inform a comprehensive individual education plan (IEP) or personal learning plan (PLP), or whether additional information is required.
If current information is deemed sufficient the ENA is considered complete and recorded in the ENA Status Report (available in the tab) and the ENA Report (available in the Resources tab) is completed by SSS or equivalent.
The SSG then proceeds to develop or update the IEP or PLP and implement the recommendations. The follow-up SSG meeting will review this decision using the most recent ENA Status Report.
Alternatively, the SSG may determine that further information by SSS and/or external agency is required. This should be recorded in the ENA Status Report and include:
- The information required and how this will be gathered
- The person(s) responsible for the agreed tasks
- The date of the follow-up ENA SSG
The ENA SSG meeting may also identify the need for further intervention by SSS or equivalent or an external agency. This may include referral pathways for students with a suspected or diagnosed disability (for example PSD, SWD). It is important to note that assessment as part of a disability funding application may not provide all relevant information and there may be a need to explore other aspects of the student’s presentation and development. In addition, SSS or equivalent may need to provide support to the school to implement the ENA recommendations.
7.4 Steps 6 to 7 – Need for further information
SSS or equivalent will complete the ENA Report after the agreed actions have been undertaken. The ENA Status Report may be completed prior to or finalised during the ENA SSG meeting based on the discussion that occurs.
The follow-up ENA SSG meeting will provide an opportunity to share the finalised report(s) including recommendations, and develop or update the student’s IEP or PLP.
The school, DHHS or CSO case manager and SSS will retain a copy of reports and other relevant records (such as meeting minutes) as per their usual record keeping policies. This will ensure information regarding a student’s support needs is accessible and shared as appropriate over time.
Educational Needs Analysis status report and Educational Needs Analysis report
Educational Needs Analysis status report
The ENA Status Report is a mandatory tool used to record the status of an individual student’s ENA at various points in time, and enables monitoring of responsibilities as outlined in the Partnering Agreement.
The report is a brief summary of the ENA process, including the student’s needs and strengths, the views of the student and carer, and key recommendations.
The report is signed by the principal or delegate, and SSS, Student Services (CECV) or independent school equivalent.
A copy of the ENA Status Report needs to be kept in the student’s school file and the SSS Department Confidential Student file (DCS) to allow for easy access, tracking and transfer of information, if the student moves schools.
The ENA Report is a comprehensive report completed by SSS or equivalent, which documents the collation, review, and analysis of information regarding the student’s needs, strengths and subsequent recommendations.
The report should assist schools to prioritise the needs of the student and support required, and be simply worded and include practical recommendations that can be implemented in the educational setting.
The report is written with the broader context of the student in mind and provides recommendations that are relevant to and guide the behaviours of all adults, both in school and in the care setting, who have a role in establishing optimal conditions for learning and supporting the student to achieve positive educational outcomes.
The ENA report may highlight need for services required to cater for a student’s needs in other areas of their lives and may also inform the care team’s actions; however, its key function is to inform what can be done to promote educational progress.
The ENA Report is required regardless of whether the ENA reflects existing information or additional assessment, and aims to ensure information regarding a student’s educational needs and strengths is documented and recommendations are readily available to current and future educational settings. An example ENA Report template is provided in the .
In situations where the SSS team leader has allocated the ENA referral to more than one SSS team member, it is recommended that the SSS team members involved in the ENA process write the ENA Report collaboratively.
A copy of the ENA Report needs to be stored as per DET guidelines in the DCS and shared with relevant parties, such as school principal, the person who has signatory rights (for example the biological parent or DHHS), case manager, and others as deemed appropriate.
7.5 Step 8 – Review cycle
Students residing in out-of-home care require at least termly SSG meetings to review their presentation and progress, and refine and evaluate current interventions, including a review of the IEP or PLP. Referring to the ENA Status Report and ENA Report during SSG meetings will assist in this process, and also assist to determine when an updated ENA is required.
Students in out-of-home care tend to experience frequent changes in care and school placement, increased vulnerability during periods of transition, and may exhibit signs of disengagement from education during mid-secondary school years. Therefore, it is important to monitor and review the progress of students in out-of-home care regularly and pre-emptively to ensure the student is adequately supported.
Out-of-home Care Education Commitment: a Partnering Agreement
The current partnering agreement was refreshed in 2018, with changes to align with current legislation, policy and programs available to children and young people in out-of-home care to support their education, health and wellbeing.
For more information about learning mentors and supporting children and young people in out-of-home care, see:
Individual education plans
Individual education plans (IEPs) assist students who require a range of supports with their education.
An IEP is a written statement that describes the adjustments, goals and strategies to meet a student’s individual educational needs so they can reach their full potential. An IEP is essential as it helps you plan and monitor a student’s unique learning needs.
Education needs analysis (ENA)
The education needs analysis guidelines require specific activities and processes. These are described in the guidelines and are also described in the following documents:
The ENA guidelines require the use of specific reporting templates. These are described in the guidelines and are also described in the following documents:
The following resources are provided to support designated teachers:
- – a resource guide from the Australian Childhood Foundation on trauma informed practice in schools
- – a guide to working with traumatised children in schools
- – a guide for parents and the school community
- – an online learning course by Australian Childhood Foundation on strategies for managing abuse-related trauma
- – information sheet by KidsMatter
- – a list of classroom strategies for students with self-regulation difficulties and sensory integration difficulties
Support for carers
Support for schools and agencies
Standards, policies and plans
Templates and checklists
- — provides information for schools, kindergartens and child care providers about the decisions a foster carer, kinship carer or residential carer can make when a child is the subject of a Children’s Court order
Health, care and welfare organisations
- – delivers a wide range of community services for children and their families, such as early intervention, child protection and family support services.
- – the Commission for Children and Young People is an organisation providing advice on issues impacting on the lives of children.
- – represents the interests of all foster carers, providing support and advice.
- – connects and empowers children and young people in care and improves the care system through activities, programs, training and policy advice.
- – is the peak body for community service organisations delivering child and family support and welfare services.
- – this court aims to help families resolve disputes through agreement without a formal hearing.
- – this court hears matters relating to child protection and care as well as criminal cases against children.
Reviewed 21 May 2020