Defence School Mentor

Defence School Mentor (DSM) Defence families are a very important and dynamic part of St Andrew’s School, and we heartily welcome Defence students to our community.  Our close proximity to Gallipoli Barracks means we have a high number of Defence students – currently around 90 Defence Force Students within our school population of approximately 620.  Sometimes children may have challenges making new friends and adjusting to the new routines. It is our priority to assist Defence families and children to settle in and make connections within our inclusive school community.

St Andrew’s School has a Defence School Mentor (DSM) to support the many Defence families in the school. The program, administered by the Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS), reflects the commitment by Defence to support its members and their families and recognises the partnership between education authorities, Defence and schools. The program aims to assist students in Defence families in four key areas throughout their education and as they move from one school to another. The key areas are:

· Welcoming

· Integrating

· Support during deployment and absence; and

· Farewelling

What does the DSM do?

The Defence School Mentor: 

  • assists Defence parents and children to become familiar with the school and its facilities and to help them integrate into the school community;
  • runs a Defence Kids Club at first break on selected days each week;
  • coordinates appropriate welcoming and farewelling activities for ADF students;
  • supports Defence students at school during times of parental absence from home for service requirements;
  • supports ADF students to develop their self-confidence and resilience;
  • support teachers to monitor Defence students transition and any personal challenges they may face (such as friendship, peer group or classroom difficulties). ​
  • refers Defence students where necessary to appropriate student support services;
  • facilitates Defence students participation in cultural, sporting, academic and personal development programs;
  • links Defence students and families to school and community programs;
  • raises school community awareness of Defence related issues facing Defence students;
  • provides opportunities for Defence families to meet other Defence families within the school community;
  • is a contact for new parents of mobile Defence students in the school; and
  • maintains contact with Defence families who are enrolled in the school. 

​Our DSM:

Caitlin Watson is a Defence spouse, a mum and a very keen advocate of Defence families, on their arrival, during their time at St Andrew’s and as they depart on new adventures! 

When do I contact the DSM?

  • If your child/children is experiencing any challenges whilst settling in.
  • When a Defence family member is deployed or absent for an extended period of time 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.

Please phone (07) 3351 6366 to speak to Caitlin, or email if you have any questions about the program, need assistance in any way or just for a chat!

For more information on the Defence School Mentor program, please visit​