Grant to look at helping refugee students

A Sydney principal aiming to produce best-practice policies to improve the emotional, social and learning needs of refugee students has been awarded Federation’s 2019 Eric Pearson Study Grant.

The Eric Pearson Study Grant Committee met on 23 October to consider the four proposals received, including relevance and benefit to the union. The committee unanimously decided to award the 2019 study grant to Mark Harris, principal of Auburn North Public School. The school has been acknowledged for their high-quality work in the area of refugee education and as a model for social cohesion and unity.

Mark’s application, titled World’s Best-Practice Refugee Education Policies, Programs and Strategies for NSW Public Schools, proposed a study to identify approaches that have been successfully implemented in other Australian schools and in Canadian and Finnish schools.

He intends to develop a set of best-practice policies, programs and strategies which, if adopted, would further improve the emotional, social and learning needs of refugee students in NSW public schools.

The study will also examine funding models to adequately support refugee education, as well as leader and teacher training and professional opportunities and strategies.

Mark stated in the introduction to his application: “My moral purpose is acting with an intention of making a positive difference in the lives of individuals, groups of people, and communities of people. This is especially the case with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community such as children from a refugee background.”

The Eric Pearson Study Grant is awarded annually to a member of Federation who wishes to undertake a study of an issue of particular relevance and benefit to the union.

The criteria for assessing applications is based on the contribution the intended study may make to the knowledge and understanding of members with respect to industrial and professionally relevant issues.

The award provides for travel, accommodation and expenses associated with the proposed study.

The Eric Pearson Study Grant Committee members are Carly Boreland, Michael de Wall, Nicole Calnan and Wayne Sheridan.

Mary Fogarty, Research Officer