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Bankstown Senior College

Bankstown Senior College

Pathways to Opportunities

Telephone02 9707 3288


English Intensive Centre

Intensive English Centres operate as part of the NSW government schools system. Their purpose is to prepare newly arrived, secondary aged students for study in an Australian high school by providing intensive English tuition.

There are 14 Intensive English Centres (IECs) and one Intensive English High School (IEHS) in the metropolitan areas of Sydney and Wollongong. IECs are located in the grounds of their host high schools while the IEHS is a stand-alone school.

Who is eligible to enrol?

A student who is eligible to enrol must:

  • be a permanent or approved temporary resident
  • be applying for enrolment within the first 6 months of arrival in Australia
  • speak a language other than English as their first language and require intensive English instruction as preparation for high school study
  • intend to continue their education in a government high school after finishing their intensive English course
  • have not yet completed their high school education in their home country.

In some cases year 6 students in primary school can transfer to their local IEC/IEHS. After finishing their intensive English course, they must exit into year 7 in a government high school.

English assessment and enrolment

All newly arrived, eligible students should be referred to their local Intensive English Centre or IEHS for assessment of their English language proficiency before enrolment in high school. The student's address determines which IEC/IEHS to enrol in because each location has a set area for enrolment. Students can enrol directly at the intensive English locations if their assessment shows they need intensive English instruction.

Preparing students for high school

The IECs and the IEHS provide students with English language, orientation, settlement and welfare programs in a high school like environment. Teachers' aides (ethnic) provide bilingual support.

On enrolment, students are placed in a class depending on their level of English proficiency and literacy. Classes are organised into four levels starting with beginner English/early literacy and progressing to more academic levels of English.

Students are taught English language and literacy skills across a range of subjects to prepare them for the high school curriculum. Subjects are adapted for intensive English learners and are taught by specialist English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers trained in high school subject areas.

Length of stay

Intensive English students have a wide range of educational needs.

Students with special needs such as those with little or no previous schooling, usually stay in the IECs/IEHS for approximately 12 months (4 school terms) before transferring to high school. Some students may not be able to read or write in their first language.

Students with fairly continuous education in their home country usually transfer to high school after about 9 months (3 school terms).


Information sessions are provided to assist parents to learn about schooling in NSW and ways in which they can be members of their child's school community. Regular reports are given to parents about their child's schoolwork.

Parent-teacher sessions provide an opportunity for parents to discuss their child's progress with teachers.

Interpreter support is provided for parents attending these courses and sessions.


Specialist migrant counsellors provide welfare and settlement support to students, including those from a refugee background. Counsellors may also access additional community support, including specialist trauma services such as the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS).

Community links

Links are made with government and community agencies such as STARTTS and Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) to assist in supporting the newly arrived students in their resettlement process.

Transfer to high school

Transition to High School program provides students with the opportunity to have some high school experience before transferring to high school. At the same time exiting students and their parents are informed about high school courses and other education and training options.

After transferring to high school, most of these students should continue to receive ESL support.


Bankstown IEC
Antwerp St Bankstown
Ph 02 9796 8138
Fax 02 9796 8699
Host School: Bankstown Senior College