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A strong sense of identity and belonging can enhance the wellbeing of young people, and impact positively on learning outcomes.

Schools are in a central position to act as a focal point for communities to come together. They have a role to play in promoting personal growth, cultural identity and sense of community and belonging. Students and families can identify with the traditions, values and relationships within the school. It is a part of schools’ core work to include activities that shape students’ sense of identity and culture.

Clear communication between home and school is key to ensuring ongoing, effective partnerships for learning. Young people learn in a variety of environments – school, home, clubs, social groups, etc. When the language of learning in these worlds, especially home and school can be readily accessed and understood by families, learning will be enhanced. John Hattie (2009) suggests that many students operate in two worlds and that negotiating the gap between these two worlds can detract from learning. It is vital that school staff and families share, understand, and effectively communicate a common language around learning.

How can schools help?
  • Provide newsletters and home communications in parent-friendly language, in a variety of ways, e.g. hardcopy, web address, post, etc.
  • Translate materials and provide interpreters, when required.
  • Ensure parent–teacher interviews are two-way conversations, and understood as such by all involved.
  • Provide opportunities for families to participate in ongoing conversations about their child’s learning and broader school experience.
  • Provide support to assist families at key transition times (between year levels, change of school, from Year 6 to secondary, Years 10–VCE).
  • Support families to understand the language and specific terminology used during various stages of schooling.