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Defence Community Organisation

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Kids' education

Defence recognises that some children may experience disruption to their education each time they move for a posting. We have a range of services and resources on offer to assist with the transition between schools and education systems, and to provide support for the unique needs of Defence students.

This support includes:

  • Specialised staff, Education Liaison Officers, in each state to advise families and schools on education issues and Defence student wellbeing,
  • Funding to schools to allow the employment of a Mentor, to assist 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.


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 education providers, resources or support agencies according to their child'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, and
  • Informing families about Defence support services available, including financial assistance entitlements.

School mentors

DCO recognises that Defence families often turn to schools for help when mobility affects education through frequent moves, long periods of separation, isolation from extended family support networks, and operational deployments.

To minimise the impact of the Defence lifestyle on children’s education, DCO provides funding to schools with significant Defence student enrolments. The Defence School Mentor program assists Defence students and their families with changing schools, integrating into the school community and providing support during parental absences.

The program provides funding to support schools to engage a Defence School Mentor, previously known as a Defence School Transition Aide (DSTA) or Defence Transition Mentor (DTM). Mentors work to minimise the impact of mobility on education and build the capability of the school to support Defence students and their families.

Mentors are based within primary and secondary schools across Australia for the purpose of providing support to the children of Defence families through on-site, direct and flexible assistance to students, parents, teachers and other support services.

This may include:

  • Helping new children and their families to integrate into the school and local community,
  • Monitoring the social and emotional wellbeing of Defence students,
  • Assisting 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.

Funding and eligibility

The Defence School Mentor program is funded annually and is only able to provide support to schools as funding allows. Eligibility criteria are applied to determine the level of funding that can be offered. Potential applicants should refer to the Program Guidelines for details.

The following will be considered when determining the eligibility for the support of Mentor positions in schools:

  • The available annual program budget,
  • The number of students enrolled who are dependants of full-time serving Defence members,
  • The number of Defence students who are impacted by parental absence due to their ADF service, including deployment, training exercise and any other extended service related absence,
  • The number of Defence students who are impacted by mobility due to an ADF posting, and
  • Whether or not a school is located in a remote location as per Defence’s definition outlined in its Pay and Conditions Manual.

Schools that are approved for funding must:

  • Be a primary, secondary, middle years or foundation to year 12 school,
  • Demonstrate an ability to deliver innovative programs/services to support Defence families,
  • Demonstrate an ongoing commitment to strategic partnerships between education authorities and Defence, and
  • Demonstrate commitment to the program and compliance with the governance requirements as detailed in the Program Guidelines.

If you would like any information on the Defence School Mentor program email



School Location
Adamstown Public School Adamstown
Ashtonfield Public School Ashtonfield
Bomaderry High School Bomaderry
Bungendore Public School Bungendore
Cambewarra Public School Camberwarra
Ermington Public School West Ryde
Ermington West Public School Ermington
Forest Hill Public School Forest Hill
Francis Greenway High School Beresfield
Glendore Public School Adamstown
Grahamstown Public School Raymond Terrace
Hammondville Public School Hammondville
Holsworthy High School Holsworthy
Holsworthy Public School Holsworthy
Illaroo Road Public School North Nowra
Irrawang High School Raymond Terrace
Jerrabomberra Public School Jerrrabomberra
Kapooka Public School Kapooka
Kooringal High School Wagga Wagga
Kooringal Public School Kooringal
Maitland Grossmann High School East Maitland
Medowie Christian School Medowie
North Nowra Public School North Nowra
Nowra Anglican College Nowra
Nowra Christian School South Nowra
Nowra High School Nowra
Nowra Hill Public School Nowra Hill
Nowra Public School Nowra
Oran Park Public School Oran Park
Richmond Public School Richmond
Rydalmere Public School Rydalmere
Rydalmere East Public School Ermington
Singleton Heights Public School Singleton Heights
Soldiers Point Public School Soldiers Point
South Coogee Public School South Coogee
St Aloysius Catholic Primary School Chisholm
St Brigid's Primary School Raymond Terrace
St Christopher's Primary School Holsworthy
St Georges Basin Public School Basin View
St John the Evangelist Catholic High School South Nowra
St Matthew's Primary School Windsor
St Michael's Catholic Primary School Nowra
St Monica's Primary School Windsor
St Philip's Christian College Salamander Bay
Thornton Public School Thornton
Tomaree High School Salamander Bay
Tomaree Public School Salamander Bay
Vincentia High School Vincentia
Vincentia Public School Vincentia
Wagga Wagga Christian School Wagga Wagga
Wattle Grove Public School Wattle Gove
Wirreanda Public School Medowie



North Queensland
School Location
Annandale Christian College Annandale
Annandale State School Annandale
Bluewater State School Bluewater
Bohlevale State School Bohlevale
Calvary Christian College Mount Louisa
Freshwater State School Freshwater
Good Shepherd Catholic School Rasmussen
Heatley State School Townsville
Holy Spirit School Cranbrook
Ignatius Park College Cranbrook
Kirwan State High School Kirwan
Kirwan State School Kirwan
Mundingburra State School Hermit Park
Northern Beaches State High Deeragun
North Shore State School Burdell
Oonoonba State School Idalia
Redlynch State College Redlynch
Ryan Catholic College Kirwan
Southern Cross Catholic College Annandale
St Andrew's Catholic College Redlynch
St Anthony's Catholic College Deeragun
St Clare's Catholic School Burdell
St Therese's School Bentley Park
The Willows State School Kirwan
Thurwingowa State High School Condon
Townsville Grammar School Townsville
Weir State School Kirwan
William Ross State High School Annandale
South Queensland
School Location
Albany Creek State High School Albany Creek
Albany Creek State School Albany Creek
Albany Hills State School Albany Creek
All Saints Parish School Albany Creek
Amberley District State School Yamanto
Augusta State School Augustine Heights
Bounty Boulevard State School North Lakes
Brassall State School Brassall
Bray Park State School Bray Park
Bremer State High School Ipswich
Eatons Hill State School Eatons Hill
Enoggera State School Enoggera
Ferny Grove State High School Ferny Grove
Ferny Grove State School Ferny Grove
Grand Avenue State School Forest Lake
Highfields State Secondary College Highfields
Highfields State School Highfields
Ipswich State High School Brassall
Kelvin Grove State College Kelvin Grove
Lawnton State School Lawton
McDowall State School McDowall
Middle Ridge State School Middle Ridge
Mitchelton State High School Mitchelton
Mitchelton State School Mitchelton
Mt Maria College Mitchelton
Oakleigh State School Ashgrove
Our Lady of Dolours Primary School Mitchelton
Our Lady of the Assumption School Enoggera
Raceview State School Raceview
Springfield Central High School Springfield Central
Springfield Lakes State School Springfield Lakes
St Andrew's Catholic School Ferny Grove
St Edmund's College Ipswich
St Mary's College Woodend
St Mary's Primary School Ipswich
West Moreton Anglican College Karrabin



School Location
Arbour Grove Primary School Ellenbrook
Baldivis Primary School Baldivis
Baldivis Secondary College Baldivis
Charthouse Primary School Waikiki
Comet Bay College Secret Harbour
Comet Bay Primary School Secret Harbour
Ellenbrook Secondary College Ellenbrook
Endeavour Primary School Port Kennedy
Golden Bay Primary School Golden Bay
Kolbe Catholic College Rockingham
Living Waters Lutheran College Warnbro
Makybe Rise Primary School Baldivis
Malvern Springs Primary School Ellenbrook
Mother Teresa Catholic College Baldivis
Mount Claremont Primary School Mount Claremont
Pilbara Education Regional Office Karratha
Port Kennedy Primary School Port Kennedy
Rivergums Primary School Baldivis
Rockingham Beach Primary School Rockingham
Rockingham Lakes Primary School Port Kennedy
Rockingham Senior High School Rockingham
Safety Bay Primary School Safety Bay
Safety Bay Senior High School Safety Bay
Secret Harbour Primary School Secret Harbour
Settlers Primary School Baldivis
Shenton College Shenton Park
St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School Port Kennedy
Star of the Sea Primary School Rockingham
Swanbourne Primary School Swanbourne
Tranby College Baldivis
Tuart Rise Primary School Baldivis
Waikiki Primary School Waikiki
Warnbro Community High School Warnbro



As they relocate around Australia, Defence families may encounter differences in the way states and territories and individual schools deliver education.

Our Education Liaison Officers can provide you with advice and information to help you make informed decisions about education options for your children.

Education advice

The My School website is a government-run website that allows you to search and compare almost 10,000 schools across Australia, and includes a find-a-school function, school performance ratings and profiles, and links to school websites.

You can get other information from the relevant state or territory department of education, including details of:

  • Local schools (including specialist schools),
  • Government school term dates and public holidays,
  • Support for students with special needs,
  • Compulsory schooling and school entry ages,
  • State or territory curriculum (note that the Australian Curriculum is being progressively developed and implemented nation-wide), and
  • Education and training policies.

However, you should contact individual schools for details of:

  • Enrolments,
  • Courses and programs on offer,
  • Uniform requirements,
  • School fees or levies payable,
  • Programs and opportunities for high-achieving students,
  • Private school term dates,
  • Special needs facilities and programs,
  • Distance education options (for students in isolated areas or with special circumstances), and
  • Course selection for secondary students, including vocational options and prerequisite subjects for university admission.

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.


Defence may reimburse fees for educational services that a child’s school cannot provide. Students may be entitled to reimbursement for an initial 14 weeks of tutoring in any subject that has been recommended by the school principal or the child’s teacher. If the student requires further tutoring after the initial 14 weeks, then a further 14 weeks of tutoring may be approved in some circumstances. This applies to primary and secondary students, within the first 18 months of starting at the new school.

Boarding school allowances

You may choose to have your child attend boarding school, so they don't have to relocate with you on posting. In this instance, where the child is in year 9, 10, 11 or 12, or an earlier year that is deemed to be critical to the child’s education, 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, or it would be disruptive to change universities, financial assistance may be available to assist with 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. Dependants 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 reimburse 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.