[Helping students take positive steps]


Glennie was so determined to become a student learning support officer (SLSO) that she enrolled in TAFE as soon as she was eligible at 17 to complete her Certificate III in education support.“The best part of my job is seeing the students succeed,” she said.Her mentor and at one time her own SLSO, Matt Lewis, says he is proud to see Glennie stepping into the role.“I’m proud to see any of our students get a job after they leave us, but it’s even better seeing Jess succeed here,” he says.Lewis, a professional triathlete, wanted to find a job that would allow him to help young people and use his own experiences to inspire the students.As well as supporting students with their academic learning, at Alesco Illawarra, the SLSO role involves well-being support and it is that which both Glennie and Lewis find the most satisfying.“It can be challenging building relationships with some of our students who come to us with a trauma background,” he said.School learning support officers, under the supervision and direction of a teacher, assist in classroom activities, school routines, and the care and management of students with special needs.Their role includes assisting teachers in school and community centres to implement individual education programs (IEPs), provide opportunities for students to develop personal, social, independent, living and pre-vocational skills, attend to the personal care needs of students, and operate audio-visual aids, duplicating, issuing learning materials and clerical duties.NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says SLSOs play an important role in providing quality education and wellbeing support for students.Credit: Nick Moir“School learning support officers are absolutely invaluable to schools across NSW, benefitting students not only in terms of educational outcomes but also in enabling students with additional needs to participate in all aspects of school life alongside their peers,” NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell  said.LoadingThe Department of Education employs about 12,000 permanent and temporary SLSOs to work across a range of full-time and part-time roles to meet the educational needs of students from pre-schools, through to high school and schools for students with special needs.Specialist SLSO, student health support roles provide support for students with identified diverse learning needs, including disability in classrooms and other learning environments.“There is a high demand for SLSOs across the NSW Department of Education and Communities,”Mitchell said.“SLSOs play an important role in providing quality education and wellbeing support for students.”LoadingAccording to the Australian Teacher’s Aide Association, staff turnover for SLSOs is very low, and there is plenty of scope to develop diverse career paths within the profession.Mitchell said for SLSOs choosing to stay within the public education system, those pathways include working within the school administration and support staff classification or undertaking further education to become a teacher.The most common pathway to becoming an SLSO is to complete a nationally recognised learning support officer qualification. There are two nationally recognised qualifications – the CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support and the CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support both available through TAFE.School learning support officers play a valuable role in the classroom.Credit: iStockTo work with young people, all SLSOs need to also hold a valid Working With Children’s Check and undertake mandatory training specific to the role.For SLSOs working in a preschool setting there is also a requirement to work towards an Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) approved Certificate III in Children’s Services or Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.“If an SLSO is providing support for students with identified learning needs, they must undertake training in first aid administration, administration of medications and health care procedures,” Mitchell said.“To apply for an SLSO position, an individual can respond to a published advertisement on iworkforNSW or may apply directly to a school for temporary or casual employment.”Most Viewed in BusinessLoading


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