At St Michael’s, we are committed to supporting the unique needs of each of our students, whose families and caregivers serve our nation. For many Defence Members, service is not only the sharing of their mind, body and soul, but a sacrifice of, time with their children and stability for their families.

Students from Defence families are subject to unique challenges, such as;

  • Frequent changes of schools.
  • Parents and caregivers being absent frequently or for prolonged periods.
  • Academic and social challenges associated with a mobile lifestyle.
  • Some families living separately due to work and personal circumstances.

The Department of Defence, Department of Education and our staff recognise the impact this mobile military lifestyle can have on the academic and social development of some children. The Defence School Mentor (DSM) program aims to assist Defence students and their families predominantly across the key areas of welcoming, integrating, parental absence support and farewelling to facilitate the best possible educational outcome for children of Australian Defence Force Members.

Some of the ways in which this is achieved:

  • Assisting children and families to successfully acclimatise to their new school and community
  • Provide a link between families, school and the Defence services
  • Monitoring students social, emotional and academic wellbeing and directing students to relevant programs, services or opportunities
  • Providing tailored support to children during times of parental absence
  • Assisting students to fill up their “Emotional Toolbox” to self-regulate, build confidence and resilience
  • Enhancing awareness and appreciation of the unique Defence lifestyle

“Every child and family is unique, as is every Defence career, therefore there is no one size fits all in my mind. I love to think creatively and encourage our students to do so, to allow them to each develop their own strategies and styles to thrive in their ever-changing world.”

Sarah Webster

Defence School Mentor

Available Wednesday to Friday