Defence School Mentor


Defence families are a very important and dynamic part of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and we heartily welcome Defence students to our school. St Mary’s central location in the city by the St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral means it attracts students from several Defence bases and establishments.

Often children may have some challenges making new friends and adjusting to the new routines. It is our priority to assist Defence families and children in settling in and making connections within our inclusive school community. We currently have around 20 Defence Force students within our school population of approximately 180.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School has a Defence School Mentor (DSM) to support the many Defence families in the school. Students from military families will enjoy a Defence Kids Club each Monday lunchtime, support when parents are absent for extended periods such as on exercises, or deployments and support regarding academic needs. The DSM works closely with Teachers to monitor Defence students and any personal challenges they may face, such as friendship, peer groups and classroom difficulties and provides an opportunity for ADF families to network with other ADF families within our school community.

Please phone (08) 8981 9796 to speak to our DSM if you have any questions about the program, need assistance in any way or just for a chat.

When do I contact the DSM?

  • Upon enrolment to advise of any special needs or special programs required.
  • If your child/children is experiencing any challenges whilst settling in.
  • When an ADF family member is deployed to ensure appropriate supports are in place.
  • When postings occur so appropriate support can be provided in collecting information about your child’s/children’s anticipated new school.
  • If information is required about Defence Education Assistance (DEA) programs eg; tutoring.

The DSM’s responsibilities:

  • Assisting ADF parents and children to become familiar with the school and its facilities and to integrate into the school community;
  • Coordinating appropriate welcoming and farewelling activities for ADF students;
  • Supporting students at school during times of parental absence from home for service requirements;
  • Supporting ADF students to develop their self-confidence and resilience;
  • Referring students where necessary to appropriate student support services;
  • Developing and implementing programs and resources which support ADF student needs;
  • Facilitating their participation in cultural, sporting, academic and personal development programs;
  • Linking ADF students to school and community programs;
  • Raising school community awareness of Defence related issues facing Defence students
  • Contributing items of interest to the school newsletter;
  • Providing opportunities for ADF families to meet other ADF families within the school community;
  • Being a contact for new parents of mobile ADF children in the school;
  • Maintaining contact with ADF families who are enrolled in the school.

The DSM is employed by the Department of Defence’s Defence Community Organisation. For more information on the DSM programme follow this link.

To start the enrolment process or for any enrolment queries please phone 08) 8981 9796 and speak with Rosie Harrison (Principal) or Christine Ferreira (Deputy Principal) as they are very willing to provide any information you need regarding St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

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