fbpx Jesuit Social Services - Victorian State Election 2022: Fund early intervention, culturally safe education re-engagement programs for culturally and linguistically diverse learners

Victorian State Election 2022: Fund early intervention, culturally safe education re-engagement programs for culturally and linguistically diverse learners

Jesuit Social Services’ recently released Victorian State Election platform, A state of opportunity, builds on 45 years of advocacy and action, to outline our vision for a just society across a range of interconnected social policy areas, from a fairer justice system, to support for people experiencing multiple and complex needs such as mental illness, trauma and bereavement, and preventing violence. In this first in a series of pre-Election blogs, we focus on funding for early intervention and culturally safe education re-engagement programs for culturally and linguistically diverse learners, such as Jesuit Social Services’ Homework Club.

For almost 20 years, Jesuit Social Services has provided an after-school Homework Club to students in the Flemington region of inner-city Melbourne. Each week, we support dozens of students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds from primary school age through to VCE, at the Flemington high-rise public housing estate. Many of the families who attend Homework Club are from newly-arrived migrant and refugee backgrounds with varying levels of English literacy. 

Homework Club supports children to connect, learn and flourish

Zebiba is a mother of three who speaks English as an additional language. Private tutoring is out of reach for her family, so Homework Club is a crucial support. “It has made quite a big impact because if I can’t help and they’re struggling with maths or English there’s nowhere I could go. There’s no tutoring — financially, I’m stuck.” 

Homework Club provided an important sense of support, social connection and continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the weekly tutoring sessions, the program collaborated with Jesuit Social Services’ The Outdoor Experience to run COVID-safe activities for the families in local parks during school holidays. Zebiba said, “[it’s] not just homeworking, but the fact that someone is online with us, and you know, checking on us.”

Volunteer tutor, Tom, agrees that Homework Club is about more than just educational support. “A lot of the participants we work with have been through trauma in some capacity, or their parents have been through trauma… It’s as much about social and emotional support as it is educational. I find that a lot of it is just giving the children the space to talk about their day, their week, their experiences.”

Our Homework Club has helped thousands of students, and in 2018, it was the winner of the Outstanding Community-run Out-of-School-Hours Learning Support Program at the Centre for Multicultural Youth’s MY Education Awards. Homework Club is a protective, early intervention program that ensures children and young people from CALD backgrounds are engaged in education. 

We call on the Government to resource educational programs focusing on young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and newly arrived backgrounds to enable them to continue to connect, learn and flourish.

Jesuit Social Services’ recommendation:

  •  Fund early intervention, culturally safe education re engagement programs specific for CALD learners such as Jesuit Social Services’ Homework Club.

Download Jesuit Social Services’ full State Election Platform – A state of opportunity.