Document Type



Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures, Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Bunbury, WA


Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures


Haig, Y., & Oliver, R. (2007). Waiting in line: African refugee students in Western Australian schools. Bunbury, Australia: Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures, Edith Cowan University.


This study has been commissioned by the Westralian Association of Teachers English to Speakers of Other Languages (WATESOL) to determine the perceptions and expectations of those stakeholders involved in the education of African refugee children.

To do this study first a literature review was undertaken in order for the researchers to determine how much information was available and to improve their understanding of the subject matter. It appears that there is a growing body of research in Australia investigating the social, psychological and educational needs of African refugees, particularly those who have faced trauma (Earnest, IIousen, & Gillieatt, 2007; 2004).

Then a mainly qualitative study was undertaken which included focus groups and individual interviews to elicit information from the main stakeholders in the care and education of African refugee children. In addition, a questionnaire was distributed to ESL and mainstream teachers to elicit more general information. Overall there were 117 participants in the research study, including Parents and caregivers; teachers (ESL and mainstream); school deputy principals; ethnic education assistants; a youth worker and officers from the Graylands ESL Resource Centre (for details see section entitled Resources); the Mirrabooka Migrant Resource Centre and another non-government support agency. The data were analysed and the main issues that emerged are presented in the attached report.