Our School

Principal's welcome

Dear parents, carers and families
Every term we warmly welcome new students and families to our school community. We enjoy getting to know you and your children as they settle into our school and into life in a new country. We care for all students and nurture their interests and abilities. We use our collective knowledge, skills and experience to support student learning. The school has highly qualified and experienced staff, and we are very proud of their commitment to each student’s wellbeing and learning.
Our school creates a safe and supportive learning environment and makes opportunities for students to learn together and be a part of their community. We work with parents to nurture each student to be successful and achieve their best. We provide information to parents about the schooling system in Victoria and support parents and students in moving to their next school. Parents are also invited into the school to see what learning looks like in our classrooms and to join with us in supporting every student to learn.
We look forward to meeting new families and enrolling your child in our school and to celebrating their achievements in learning as they settle into a new society.  

Mairead Hannan

About Us

Who we are

Blackburn English Language School (ELS) is part of the New Arrival Program (NAP) and provides intensive English language programs to primary and secondary aged newly arrived students from language backgrounds other than English (LBoTE).

What we do

Blackburn ELS provides:

  • focused learning environment that supports all students to reach their potential in English language development and aims to prepare them for the academic, behavioural and social challenges of mainstream schools or alternative learning pathways.
  • a school environment that encourages students from a range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to become confident and active participants in the wider Australian community.
  • a supportive and stimulating work environment for all staff that encourages commitment, innovation and excellence.
  • learning opportunities for newly-arrived families that broaden their knowledge of the Victorian schooling system and prepare them for involvement in the school community.


Where we are

Blackburn ELS delivers intensive English language programs to newly arrived students across the North-eastern Victoria Region (NEVR). The school provides an environment that encourages students from a range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to become confident and active participants in the wider Australian community.

The school operates across three locations, two metropolitan and one regional. The main site, Whitehorse, is located in Burwood East, the Maroondah Campus is in Croydon North and the Wodonga campus is in the north-east of the state in Wodonga. Each site attracts newly-arrived students from their respective geographical areas.

Annual Report

Each year the Annual Report provides principals and school councils with an opportunity to share the year’s achievement and progress with the school community. Please find the Blackburn ELS 2023 Annual Report below.

BELS Annual Report 2023

(pdf download)

The School Strategic Plan provides an overview of the school’s plans and areas being prioritised over a four year period, in this case 2022-2026 .  The Annual Implementation Plan provides a more detailed perspective of priorities for individual years, and fits within the overarching Schools Strategic Plan.
Please find the Blackburn ELS School Strategic Plan and Annual Implementation Plan below.

Blackburn English Language School School Strategic Plan Blackburn English Language School Annual Implementation Plan

(pdf download)


Settlement of newly arrived students from wide-ranging cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds is the major planning focus in the school. Resources are targeted to support the development and delivery of a stimulating learning environment in which all students are expected to reach their potential. Student learning is focussed on English language achievement and preparation for the academic, behavioural and social challenges of mainstream schools. The school acknowledges that student engagement is influenced by a wide range of factors and, given that newly arrived students are unfamiliar with the Australian education system and have varied needs and vulnerabilities, provides a comprehensive and high quality approach to student welfare.


School Policies

Click here to access our School Policies

School Values

Our beliefs as a school are based on the following core values:

Future Making
Teacher Practice

Explicit focus on:

  • learning how to learn
  • learning how the English language works
  • personal responsibility
  • resilience, problem solving and social skills
  • goal setting
  • cooperation and collaboration
  • understanding of mainstream system
Learner Behaviours
  • independent learning
  • taking responsibility for self and supporting others
  • setting learning goals
  • adapting to new environments
  • organisational capacity
  • confident and active learners
  • striving for personal best
Parent Behaviours
  • attending relevant meetings
  • providing a space for learning at home
  • showing an interest in their child’s learning
  • following school procedures
  • openness to learning about the Victorian schooling system
Embracing Diversity
Teacher Practice

Explicit focus on:

  • students working collaboratively and across varying learning styles
  • acknowledgement/celebration of school/class cultural and linguistic diversity
  • students’ personal journeys
  • inclusive classroom environment
  • choosing texts that reflect a range of perspectives
  • MEA’s assisting with communication and/or issues
  • multiculturalism in Australia
Learner Behaviours
  • working collaboratively with all classmates
  • showing respect for others backgrounds
  • encouraging others to do their best
  • inclusive of others during learning tasks
  • embracing opportunities to learn from others
Parent Behaviours
  • participating in school events with other families
  • providing a positive model for their children by interacting with those from other cultures
  • encouraging their child to use their first language at home
  • seeing difference as an opportunity
  • respecting all members of the school community
Building Communities
Teacher Practice

Explicit focus on:

  • strategic management of group composition in learning tasks
  • individual identity within the group
  • collective responsibility
  • celebrating success and being motivated by challenges
  • strength of team-work
  • understanding that our attitudes and behaviours have an impact on the people around us
Learner Behaviours
  • feeling safe in the classroom and school environments
  • respecting all members of the school community
  • engaging with school and having a sense of belonging
  • involvement in whole school activities
  • participating in the wider community with confidence
  • making good choices about how to treat others
Parent Behaviours
  • showing interest in their child’s learning
  • encouraging their child to be positive about all members of the school community
  • providing a positive role model for their child by engaging with the community
  • facilitating active participation by their child in the wider community