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Defence Community Organisation

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Kids' education

DCO provides a range of services and resources for Defence children, to assist with the transition between schools and education systems when a member is posted within Australia, and to provide support for the unique needs of Defence students.

We recognise that some Defence children may experience disruption to their education each time they move for a posting. We have a range of services and resources on offer which work to assist with the transition between schools and education systems.

This support includes:

  • specialist staff in each state and territory to advise families and schools on education issues and Defence student wellbeing,
  • funding for in-school support staff, Aides and Mentors, to help Defence students integrate into a new school and provide them with support,
  • financial assistance for some education costs incurred as a result of relocations, and
  • regional education information to inform families about the major differences between the state and territory education systems.

Choosing a school

Choosing a school in South Australia?

With more than 900 public preschools and schools in South Australia, families have a wide range of education and care options. You child will usually be able to attend a public preschool or school near to where your family lives in South Australia.

Parents are able to send their children to the preschool or school of their choice, depending on available places. However keep in mind that some preschools and schools may need to limit the number of students they can take to a particular area or zone around the school.

To help you decide which school may be best suited for your child:

  • view school websites and review annual reports and other school policies.
  • visit the My School website for information about school performance, mission, staffing, funding and resources
  • make an appointment to meet the principal and staff and see the school facilities and services
  • contact DCO for regional education information including any differences between state and territory education systems.

For more information visit the schools in your area or see www.yourpublicschool.sa.gov.au .

If you have a particular enquiry, contact the school your child is likely to attend for advice, or contact the Department of Education and Child Development at: decd.customers@sa.gov.au or free call 1800 088 158.

Education Liaison Officers (EDLOs)

Education Liaison Officers, or EDLOs, give education support to Defence families as they move around the country, providing information, advice, referral and specialised assistance.
This includes:

  • informing families about local schools and education systems and working with parents, students and teachers to manage the transition to a new, location and school,
  • linking families with special education providers, resources or support agencies according to their children’s individual needs (including special needs students),
  • working with schools to ensure a supportive educational environment and to raise awareness of issues facing Defence children,
  • informing families about Defence support services available, including financial assistance entitlements.

Defence School Transition Aides (DSTAs) & Defence Transition Mentors (DTMs)

To minimise the impact of the mobile lifestyle on children’s education, DCO provides funding to schools with high numbers of enrolments of Defence children.

The Defence School Transition Aide (DSTA) Program provides funding to support schools engage a Defence School Transition Aide (DSTA) or Defence Transition Mentor (DTM) to minimise the impact of mobility on education and build the capability of the school to support Defence students particularly during transitions into and out of the school and during parental absences.

The aim of the DSTA Program is to facilitate the best possible educational outcome for children of Defence members through on-site, direct and flexible assistance to students, parents, teachers and other support services.

This program is a reflection of the commitment by Defence to support its members and their families and recognises the partnership between education authorities, Defence and schools.

Funding and program guidelines

The DSTA Program is funded annually and each allocation is determined by eligibility criteria which determine the amount of funding that each eligible school is entitled to. The criteria include the following:

  • number of students who are dependants of full time serving Defence members
  • rate of mobility in the local posting location, and/or isolation of posting location
  • operational tempo of the local military base or training facility

Other factors which are considered:

  • school commitment to continuous improvement in response to Defence family needs
  • school commitment to the DSTA Program and compliance to the governance requirements as detailed in the program guidelines If at anytime you would like any information regarding the DSTA program send an email to dsta.program@defence.gov.au.

In-school support

DSTAs and DTMs are based within primary and secondary schools across Australia for the purpose of providing support to the children of mobile Defence families.

Aides and Mentors' activities include:

  • assisting children and families to integrate into the new school and local community,
  • monitoring the social, emotional and academic wellbeing of Defence students,
  • helping students develop self-confidence, self-reliance and resilience,
  • referring students to services, or school and community programs that meet their needs,
  • enhancing awareness and appreciation of the unique Defence lifestyle in schools and communities, and
  • providing support to children during times of parental absence.
  • Find out which schools are currently supported by the DSTA Program in the tabs below, or contact the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 for more information.
South Australia
School Location
Gleeson College Golden Grove
Golden Grove High School Golden Grove
Golden Grove Primary School Golden Grove
Greenwith Primary School Greenwith
Hewett Primary School Hewett
Mawson Lakes School Mawson Lakes
Pedare Christian College Golden Grove
Playford Primary School Craigmore
St Brigid's Catholic School Evanston
Trinity College Evanston South

Financial Support

A range of financial support is available to help minimise disruption to schooling caused by posting within Australia. The aim is to provide the student with limited interim assistance to help overcome any immediate difficulties with the child’s education that occurs as a result of posting.

Tutoring

Defence may reimburse fees for educational services that a child’s school cannot provide. Students may be entitled to up to 14 weeks of tutoring in any subject that has been recommended by the school principal or the child’s teacher. This applies to primary and secondary students, within the first 18 months of commencing at the new school.

Boarding school allowances

You may choose to have your child attend boarding school, so they do not have to relocate with you and disrupt their education. In this instance, where the child is in the critical years of schooling (years 9‑12), you may be entitled to financial assistance for the compulsory tuition fees and accommodation costs of the school.

Tertiary accommodation

If your dependant is studying at a tertiary institution, and their chosen course is not available in the new posting location, financial assistance may be available for accommodation costs for the dependant to live near or at the tertiary institution. This applies only to full time undergraduate students and is capped at a maximum of three years' assistance.

Students with special needs

Practical assistance is available for dependants with special needs. This includes assessment, therapy, tuition and additional support where students had received these services in their old location and aren't able to access them at their new posting. Dependents with special needs may also be entitled to reimbursement of private schooling costs, if a special program is only available at a private school and it is critical for the child's educational progress.

Scholarship loss

If a student has to give up an education scholarship or bursary due to changing schools, Defence may pay their educational costs to the value of that scholarship.

Reunion travel

If your child is studying at a location distant from your posting, you may access funds towards the child's travel expenses to come to your location for a reunion. The member must be eligible for education assistance, and depending on the type of education assistance the member is eligible for, the child will be entitled to one or more return journeys each calendar year.

To apply

For more information about this program, contact the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on1800 624 608, or consult your local EDLO.