Navigating a new school can be a struggle for any student, let alone one who can’t speak english. This is where Wagga High’s english as an additional language teacher Deborah Anscombe steps in.
For the last 10 years Mrs Anscombe has been supporting refugee students and students who cannot speak english. Some pupils are coming from schools in other countries while others have never had formal education.
“It is a challenge,” she said.
“They need to feel safe in Wagga, at school and in class. We really work on building safety and trust.”
Her work doesn’t stop with the students, Mrs Anscombe also provides professional development for teachers, at Wagga High and other schools, to give the teachers the skills they need.
“All staff have a strategy to support and engage the students,” she said.
In Sydney the students would be taught intensive english at a specialist school before being placed into the classroom but with low numbers rural schools need to support the students differently.
This work has seen her awarded with a Minister’s award for teaching excellence.
“I am humbled and greatly honoured (to be awarded),” Mrs Anscombe said.
“I am extremely proud to work at Wagga High, it is an extremely accepting school.”