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Fairfield High School

Fairfield High School

Creativity Excellence Success

Telephone02 9727 2111


Intensive English Centre

Fairfield High School-Intensive English Centre


Fairfield Intensive English Centre (IEC) provides intensive English language instruction, orientation, welfare and settlement support to newly arrived high school aged migrant, refugee and international students between the ages of 11-18.

The IEC is situated in the grounds of Fairfield High School, and provides high school preparation support for students from diverse language backgrounds.  Our centre caters for students from Iraq, Syria, Vietnam, China and many other European, South American and African countries. 

Intensive English tuition is provided through the Intensive English Program (IEP) Curriculum Framework as well as the key subject learning areas, including mathematics, science, history, geography, Australian studies, computer studies, drama and PDHPE. The main focus is the development of specific language skills and vocabulary to enable students to access high school curriculum leading to academic success. Most newly arrived students study in the specialised learning environment for approximately 30-40 weeks, while most international students study for approximately 20 weeks.

Following assessment by trained staff, students are classified as either regular or special needs and placed in classes according to their English language level. The IEC places students in Beginner, Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 classes and regularly assesses students’ language development each term.

Regular students are generally students who have experienced continuous schooling prior to migration or who may have studied English in their country of origin. Most regular students will transfer to high school after 20 weeks at the IEC. The maximum number of students in a regular class is 18.

Special needs students are those who experience significant disadvantage in their initial learning of English and literacy due to factors such as disrupted previous education, physical disability, learning difficulty or trauma resulting from war or displacement. The maximum number of students in a special needs class is 10.

Every term, the vast majority of IEC students transition to feeder high schools such as Fairfield HS, Fairvale HS, Prairiewood HS, St Johns Park HS, Westfields Sports HS and Bossley Park HS. Approximately 50% of Fairfield IEC students transition to Fairfield High School. Older students will generally transition to TAFE courses, such as the Migrant Youth Access program or to the world of work. The IEC has established close links with Granville, Ultimo and Liverpool TAFEs and further supports students through the IEC Careers Education Coordinator and special programs such as Preparation for Work Skills.

Students in the IEC are supported educationally, emotionally and socially.

Their educational needs are supported by highly trained and expert teaching staff through the delivery of best practices in English as an Additional Language (EAL/D) pedagogy and the principles of high challenge, high support, curriculum differentiation, scaffolding, joint construction, explicit teaching, message abundancy, visual literacy and visible learning (learning Intentions & success criteria).

Bilingual school learning support officers (Arabic, Vietnamese & Chinese) support student learning and communication within and outside the classroom on a daily basis.

Students’ emotional needs, including building a sense of belonging, acceptance, safety, trust, and responsibility are catered for by our highly trained school counsellors, welfare advisors, head teacher welfare, deputy principal and head teachers. Students are further supported by the NSW Refugee Health Nurse program, our weekly Activities Program, aimed at assisting with adjustment and settlement as well as the Settling In Program, which is targeted and delivered by the school counsellor.

The IEC works very closely with STARTTS, the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors, to further provide emotional support and additional individual counselling to students and their families. The Seasons for Growth program addresses grief and loss and is regularly run successfully by trained STARTTS personnel.

The IEC combines with community and government agencies to collaboratively deliver quality wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, creative & performing arts, sport, food technology and literacy programs for newly arrived students to support their social needs. These programs are delivered by external organisations and agencies such as CORE Community, Creating Chances, Football United, University of Sydney, Fairfield Police, NSW TAFE, Community First Step, NSW Department of Justice, Social Outfit and the Lebanese Muslim Association.

Excursions take place once a term for most students and are also an essential component of the IEC’s social, educational and emotional support program.

The IEC recognises that parent involvement is crucial to student success and, as such, parents are encouraged to participate in their child’s learning and adjustment through the Families in Cultural Transition Program (FICT), held twice per year, and the Parent Orientation Days, also held twice per year.

Please contact the Deputy Principal, Mr Gus Avgoustou or the Head Teacher, Mr Stephen O’Connell on (02) 9724 6885 for further information. 

G. Avgoustou

Deputy Principal

Fairfield High School Intensive English Centre 

Fairfield High School Intensive English Centre

405 The Horsley Drive, Fairfield, NSW 2165

Telephone: (02) 9724 6885

Email: fairfield-i.school@det.nsw.edu.au