Click here to return to the Submission Index
Submission to the National
Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention from
Intensive English Centre
Chatswood IEC has students from between 15 to 25 language groups at any
one time. We have only a small number of children from detention centres,
possibly because of our relatively privileged socio-economic intake area.
However, all staff members have observed a clear difference between the
behaviour, performance and general well being of ex detention centre children
and all our other students. It should be noted that this difference remains
clear between ex detention centre children and children from the same
part of the world who have not been in detention. The difference also
remains true for ex detention centre children and children who have come
from war torn countries, or children who have not been in detention but
who come from groups, such as the Bahai religious group in Iran, who are
known to have been the object of persecution in their country. The following
are observations made by the staff in the course of our work and discussed
at a meeting on the 9/04/02.
CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN IN
- don't conform
to the expected norms of classroom behaviour, show signs of emotional
upset and impaired ability to learn, although they test normal or above
- have an unusually
short attention span
- may interrupt
class with questions unrelated to the lesson and expect an immediate
answer, then become agitated if they don't get it.
- need constant
attention from teachers, need teachers to be there for them regardless
of the rest of the class. This is extremely noticeable.
- are restless,
can't sit through lessons, jump out of seats, need to walk around.
- make contradictory
- can have suppressed
anger, can be exceptionally short fused with minimal provocation.
- exhibit fear of
authority eg. react with fear to words like "detention", "police",
"go to the office", sometimes "beg" not to go if
they are in trouble.
- one case has
a nervous tick.
- are frequently
sick. Also complain of pains, eg. one student is known to have lain
on the ground in pain while waiting at a bus stop.
- have mood swings
(more than other children), are "up and down"
CHILDREN WHO COME FROM THE SAME PART OF THE WORLD BUT WHO HAVE NOT BEEN
- all teachers
observed that they fall within the normal range of learners from anywhere
else in the world, from exceptionally gifted to average or sometimes
- these children
are able to concentrate "normally" for their age, are more
steady, able to sit through a lesson.
- not generally
"up and down" emotionally.
- are able to conform
to the expected norms of classroom behaviour.
Signed by the following Chatswood IEC teachers:
Teacher of English and History
Music and English
English Teacher and SRC Co-ordinator
Janis Brodie Grant,
English and Geography Teacher
Head Teacher,Chatswood IEC
Updated 30 June 2003.