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Defence Member and Family Support

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Kids' education

Defence recognises that some children may experience disruption to their education each time they move for a posting. We have a range of services and resources that can assist with the transition between schools and education systems, and to provide support for the unique needs of Defence students.

This support includes:

  • Specialised staff, Education Liaison Officers, in each state and territory to advise families and schools on education issues and Defence student wellbeing
  • Funding to schools to allow the employment of a Defence School Mentor, to assist Defence students integrate into a new school and provide them with support
  • Financial assistance for some education costs incurred as a result of relocations
  • Regional education information to inform families about the major differences between the state and territory education systems.


Education Liaison Officers, or EDLOs, give education support to Defence families as they move around the country, providing information, advice, referral and specialised assistance.

This includes:

  • Informing, preparing and empowering families about local schools and education systems, and working with parents, students and teachers to manage the transition when relocating to a new school
  • Linking families with education providers, resources or support agencies according to their children's individual needs (including students with special needs)
  • Working with schools to ensure a supportive educational environment and to raise awareness of issues facing Defence children
  • Informing families about Defence support services available, including financial assistance entitlements under the Education Assistance Scheme.

School mentors

DMFS recognises that Defence families often turn to schools for help when mobility affects education through frequent moves, long periods of separation, isolation from extended family support networks, and operational deployments.

To minimise the impact of the Defence lifestyle on children’s education, DMFS provides funding to schools with significant Defence student enrolments.

The Defence School Mentor Program assists Defence students and their families with changing schools, integrating into the school community and providing support during parental absences.

The program provides funding to eligible schools in order to engage a Defence School Mentor (DSM). DSMs work to minimise the impact of mobility on education and build the capability of the school in supporting Defence students and their families.

DSMs are based within primary and secondary schools across Australia for the purpose of providing support to the children of Defence families through on-site, direct and flexible assistance to students, parents, teachers and other support services.

This may include:

  • Assisting new children and their families to integrate into the school and local community
  • Monitoring the social and emotional wellbeing of Defence students
  • Assisting students to develop self-confidence, self-reliance and resilience
  • Referring students to services or school and community programs that meet their needs
  • Enhancing awareness and appreciation of the unique Defence lifestyle in schools and communities
  • Providing support to children during times of parental absence.

Funding and eligibility

The Defence School Mentor Program is funded annually and is only able to provide support to schools as funding allows. Eligibility criteria determine the level of funding that can be offered. Potential applicants should refer to the Program Guidelines for details.

The following will be considered when determining the eligibility for the support of a Defence School Mentor position within a school:

  • The available annual program budget
  • The number of students enrolled who are dependants of full-time serving Defence members
  • The number of Defence students who are impacted by parental absence due to their ADF service, including deployment, training exercise and any other extended service related absence
  • The number of Defence students who are impacted by mobility due to an ADF posting
  • Whether or not a school is located in a remote location, as per Defence’s definition outlined in its Pay and Conditions Manual.

Schools that are approved for funding must:

  • Be a primary, secondary, middle years or foundation to year 12 school
  • Demonstrate an ability to deliver innovative programs/services to support Defence families
  • Demonstrate an ongoing commitment to strategic partnerships between education authorities and Defence
  • Demonstrate commitment to the program and compliance with the governance requirements as detailed in the Program Guidelines.

If you would like any information about the Defence School Mentor Program email


School Location
Amaroo School Amaroo
Brindabella Christian College Lyneham
Burgmann Anglican School Gungahlin
Campbell High School Campbell
Campbell Primary School Campbell
Canberra Girls Grammar School Deakin
Canberra Grammar School Red Hill
Charles Weston School Coombs
Duffy Primary School Duffy
Franklin Early Childhood School Franklin
Gold Creek School Nicholls
Good Shepherd Primary School Amaroo
Gungahlin College Gungahlin
Harrison School Harrison
Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School Nicholls
Margaret Hendry School Taylor
Maribyrnong Primary School Kaleen
Marist College Canberra Pearce
Merici College Braddon
Mother Teresa School Harrison
Palmerston District Primary School Palmerston
Red Hill Primary School Red Hill
St Benedict’s Primary School Narrabundah
St Clare of Assisi Primary School Conder
St Clare's College Griffith
St Edmund's College Griffith
St John Paul College II Nicholls
St Joseph’s Primary School O’Connor
St Mary Mackillop College Wannissa
St Thomas More's Primary School Campbell
Throsby School Throsby
Trinity Christian School Wanniassa


School Location
Adamstown Public School Adamstown
Ashtonfield Public School Ashtonfield
Bomaderry High School Bomaderry
Bungendore Public School Bungendore
Burraneer Bay Public School Cronulla
Cambewarra Public School Camberwarra
Forest Hill Public School Forest Hill
Francis Greenway High School Beresfield
Glendore Public School Adamstown
Grahamstown Public School Raymond Terrace
Hammondville Public School Hammondville
Holsworthy High School Holsworthy
Holsworthy Public School Holsworthy
Illaroo Road Public School North Nowra
Irrawang High School Raymond Terrace
Jerrabomberra Public School Jerrrabomberra
Karabah High School Queanbeyan
Kapooka Public School Kapooka
Kooringal High School Kooringal
Kooringal Public School Kooringal
Maitland Grossmann High School East Maitland
Medowie Christian School Medowie
Medowie Public School Medowie
Nowra Anglican College Bomaderry
Nowra Christian School South Nowra
Nowra High School Nowra
Nowra Hill Public School Nowra Hill
Nowra Public School Nowra
Queanbeyan South Public School Karabar
Richmond Public School Richmond
Rydalmere East Public School Ermington
Singleton Heights Public School Singleton Heights
South Coogee Public School South Coogee
St Aloysius Catholic Primary School Chisholm
St Bede’s Catholic College Chisholm
St Christopher's Primary School Holsworthy
St Georges Basin Public School Basin View
St Gregory’s Primary School Queanbeyan
St John the Evangelist Catholic High School South Nowra
St Joseph’s Primary School East Maitland
St Mary’s Primary School Rydalmere
St Michael's Catholic Primary School Nowra
St Michael's Primary School Nelson Bay
St Philip’s Christian College Waratah
St Philip's Christian College Salamander Bay
The Anglican School Googong Googong
Thornton Public School Thornton
Tomaree High School Salamander Bay
Tomaree Public School Salamander Bay
Tomerong Public School Tomerong
Vincentia High School Vincentia
Vincentia Public School Vincentia
Wagga Wagga Christian College Wagga Wagga
Wattle Grove Public School Wattle Gove
Wirreanda Public School Medowie


School Location
Bandiana Primary School Bandiana
Baranduda Primary School Baranduda
Carranballac College Boardwalk School Point Cook
Carranballac College Jamieson Way School Point Cook
Catholic College Wodonga Wodonga
Crib Point Primary School Crib Point
Gippsland Grammar School Sale
Guthridge Primary School Sale
Melrose Primary School Wodonga
Padua College Mornington
Puckapunyal Primary School Puckapunyal
Sale Primary School Sale
Seymour College Seymour
St Joseph's Primary School Crib Point
St Mary’s College Seymour
St Mary’s Primary School Hastings
St Monica's Primary School Wodonga
Streeton Primary School Yallambie
Victory Lutheran College Wodonga
Viewbank College Viewbank
Viewbank Primary School Viewbank
Western Port Secondary College Hastings
Wodonga Middle Years College Wodonga
Wodonga Primary School Wodonga
Wodonga Senior Secondary College Wodonga
Wodonga South Primary School Wodonga


North Queensland
School Location
Annandale Christian College Annandale
Annandale State School Annandale
Bohlevale State School Bohlevale
Calvary Christian College Mount Louisa
Caravonica State School Smithfield
Good Shepherd Catholic School Rasmussen
Holy Spirit Catholic School Cranbrook
Ignatius Park College Cranbrook
Isabella State School Edmonton
Kirwan State High School Kirwan
Kirwan State School Kirwan
Mackillop Catholic College Edmonton
Mundingburra State School Mundingburra
Northern Beaches State High Deeragun
North Shore State School Burdell
Oonoonba State School Idalia
Pimlico State High School Pimlico
Redlynch State College Redlynch
Ryan Catholic College Kirwan
Southern Cross Catholic College Annandale
St Andrew's Catholic College Redlynch
St Anthony's Catholic College Deeragun
St Benedict’s Catholic School Shaw
St Clare's Catholic School Burdell
St Patrick’s College Townsville
The Cathedral School of St Anne & St James Mundingburra
The Willows State School Kirwan
Thurwingowa State High School Condon
Townsville Grammar School Townsville
Trinity Beach State School Trinity Beach
William Ross State High School Annandale
South Queensland
School Location
Albany Creek State School Albany Creek
Albany Creek State High School Albany Creek
Albany Hills State School Albany Creek
All Saints Parish School Albany Creek
Amberley District State School Yamanto
Augusta State School Augustine Heights
Bounty Boulevard State School North Lakes
Brassall State School Brassall
Bray Park State High School Bray Park
Bray Park State School Bray Park
Bremer State High School Ipswich
Deebing Heights State School Deebing Heights
Eatons Hill State School Eatons Hill
Enoggera State School Enoggera
Everton Park State High School Everton Park
Everton Park State School Everton Park
Ferny Grove State High School Ferny Grove
Ferny Grove State School Ferny Grove
Highfields State Secondary College Highfields
Highfields State School Highfields
Ipswich State High School Brassall
Kelvin Grove State College Kelvin Grove
Lawnton State School Lawnton
McDowall State School McDowall
Middle Ridge State School Middle Ridge
Mitchelton State High School Mitchelton
Mitchelton State School Mitchelton
Mt Maria College Mitchelton
Oakleigh State School Ashgrove
Our Lady of Dolours Primary School Mitchelton
Our Lady of the Assumption School Enoggera
Prince of Peace Lutheran College Everton Park
Raceview State School Raceview
Ripley Valley Secondary School Springfield
Ripley Valley State Primary School Springfield
Springfield Central High School Springfield Central
Springfield Lakes State School Springfield Lakes
Spring Mountain State School Springfield
St Andrew's Catholic School Ferny Grove
St Augustine’s College Springfield
St Edmund's College Ipswich
St Mary's College Ipswich
St Mary's Primary School Ipswich
St Peter Claver College Riverview
Strathpine West State School Strathpine
The Gap State High School The Gap
The Springfield Anglican College Springfield
West Moreton Anglican College Karrabin


School Location
Alawa Primary School Alawa
Casuarina Senior College Moil
Casuarina Street Primary School Katherine
Darwin High School The Gardens
Darwin Middle School The Gardens
Dripstone Middle School Casuarina
Durack Primary School Durack
Holy Spirit Catholic Primary Wanguri
Katherine High School Katherine
Katherine South Primary School Katherine
Larrakeyah Primary School Larrakeyah
Leanyer School Leanyer
Ludmilla Primary School Ludmilla
MacKillop Catholic College Palmerston
Marrara Christian College Marrara
Mother Teresa Catholic Primary School Zuccoli
O'Loughlin Catholic College Karama
Palmerston Christian School Palmerston
Palmerston Senior College Driver
Rosebery Primary School Rosebery
Sattler Christian College Bees Creek
St Joseph's Catholic College Katherine
St Mary's Catholic Primary School Darwin
The Essington School Darwin Casuarina
Wanguri Primary School Wanguri


School Location
Arbour Grove Primary School


Baldivis Gardens Primary School Baldivis
Baldivis Primary School Baldivis
Baldivis Secondary College Baldivis
Charthouse Primary School Waikiki
Comet Bay College Secret Harbour
Comet Bay Primary School Secret Harbour

Ellenbrook Secondary College


Ellen Stirling Primary School


Endeavour Primary School

Port Kennedy
Golden Bay Primary School Golden Bay
Kolbe Catholic College Rockingham
Living Waters Lutheran College Warnbro
Makybe Rise Primary School Baldivis
Malvern Springs Primary School Ellenbrook
Mother Teresa Catholic College Baldivis
Mount Claremont Primary School Mount Claremont
Pilbara Education Regional Office Karratha
Port Kennedy Primary School Port Kennedy
Rockingham Beach Primary School Rockingham
Safety Bay Primary School Safety Bay
Secret Harbour Primary School Secret Harbour
Settlers Primary School Baldivis
Shenton College Shenton Park
South Coast Baptist College Waikiki
Star of the Sea Primary School Rockingham
Swanbourne Primary School Swanbourne
Tranby College Baldivis
Tuart Rise Primary School Baldivis
Waikiki Primary School Waikiki
Warnbro Community High School Warnbro


School Location
Catherine McAuley School Campus Craigmore
Gawler and District College Evanston
Gleeson College Golden Grove
Golden Grove High School Golden Grove
Golden Grove Primary School Golden Grove
Greenwith Primary School Greenwith
Hewett Primary School Hewett
Largs Bay School Largs Bay
Mawson Lakes School Mawson Lakes
Nairne School Nairne
Our Lady of Hope Primary School Greenwith
Pedare Christian College Golden Grove
Playford Primary School Craigmore
St Brigid's Catholic School Evanston
St Columba College Andrews Farm
The Heights School Modbury Heights
Trinity College - Blakeview Evanston South
Trinity College – Gawler River Evanston South
Trinity College – North & South Junior School Evanston South
Trinity College – North & South Middle School Evanston South
Trinity College – Senior School Evanston South


As ADF members and their families relocate around Australia, they may encounter differences in the way states and territories and individual schools deliver education.

Our Education Liaison Officers (EDLOs) can provide you with advice and information to assist you with making informed decisions about education options for your children.

Education advice

The My School website is a government-run website that allows you to search and compare almost 10,000 schools across Australia, and includes a find-a-school function, school performance ratings and profiles, and links to school websites.

You can get other information from the relevant state or territory department of education, including details of:

  • Local schools (including specialist schools),
  • Government school term dates and public holidays,
  • Support for students with special needs,
  • Compulsory schooling and school entry ages,
  • State or territory curriculum (note that the Australian Curriculum is being progressively developed and implemented nation-wide), and
  • Education and training policies.

However, you should contact individual schools for details of:

  • Enrolments,
  • Courses and programs on offer,
  • Uniform requirements,
  • School fees or levies payable,
  • Programs and opportunities for high-achieving students,
  • Private school term dates,
  • Special needs facilities and programs,
  • Distance education options (for students in isolated areas or with special circumstances), and
  • Course selection for secondary students, including vocational options and prerequisite subjects for university admission.

Financial assistance

A range of financial support is available to help minimise disruption to schooling caused by posting within Australia. The aim is to provide the student with limited interim assistance to help overcome any immediate difficulties with the child’s education that occurs as a direct result of posting.


Defence may reimburse fees for tutoring required to overcome immediate difficulties caused by changing schools. Students may be entitled to reimbursement for an initial 14, 26 or 52 weeks of tutoring in any subject where the gaining school has certified the need dependant on individual circumstance. Additional evidence may be requested to support requests for multiple subjects. This support applies to primary and secondary students, within the first 18 months of starting at the new school.

Requests to extend eligibility periods will be considered on a case by case basis.

Boarding school allowances

You may choose to have your child attend boarding school, rather than relocate the child and disrupt their education In this instance, where the child is in year 9, 10, 11 or 12, or an earlier year deemed to be critical to the child’s education, you may be entitled to financial assistance for the compulsory tuition fees and accommodation costs of the school.

Tertiary accommodation

If your dependant is studying at a tertiary institution, and their chosen course is not available in the new posting location, or it would be disruptive to change universities, financial assistance may be available to assist with accommodation costs (at a capped amount) for the dependant to live near or at the tertiary institution. This applies only to full-time undergraduate students and is capped at a maximum of three years' assistance. Reimbursement does not apply if the child lives in the members own home.

Students with special needs

Practical assistance is available for dependants with special needs. This includes special needs assessments, therapy services, or tuition. This support must have been provided to students in the previous posting location and evidence needs to be provided that these services are not available from a government provider at the gaining location. Dependants with special needs may also be entitled to reimbursement of private schooling costs, if a special program is only available at a private school and it is considered critical for the child's educational progress.

Scholarship loss

If a student has to give up an education scholarship or bursary due to changing schools, Defence may reimburse their educational costs to the value of that scholarship.

Reunion travel

If your child is studying at a location distant from your posting, you may access funds towards the child's travel expenses to come to your location for a reunion. The member must be eligible for education assistance, and depending on the type of education assistance the member is eligible for, the child will be entitled to one or more return journeys each calendar year.

To apply

For more information about this program: