14 September, 2017:

Sydney’s Chester Hill High School has been recognised by the Public Education Foundation for their Refugee Welcome Program, which helps refugee students get familiar with their new surroundings.

A high school in Sydney’s south-west has been recognised for helping refugees transition into their new lives in Australia.

Chester Hill High School’s “Refugee Welcome Program” is a school-wide program, with its Intensive English Centre (IEC) at the core.

The program is designed to help refugees acclimatise to their new surroundings, while the IEC helps students develop the English skills required to maximise their potential through their high school study.

Students can spend up to 12 months at the IEC before transitioning into the mainstream high school, where 90 per cent of students come from a language background other than English.

This approach has been recognised by the NSW Education Department’s Public Education Foundation.

Hania Zahra, from Pakistan, is one of those students who have benefited from the program.

“It was hard transitioning from a country that you’ve always been living in, where you grew up,” she said.

Read more or watch the program here.