The Engagement Support Officer (ESO) program is designed to support children and young people who are struggling with moderate to severe behaviour challenges and who may be, or are currently at risk to themselves or others.

ESOs are trained in working with this cohort of students to engage and support individual children within the classroom and school yard settings.

The role of ESOs is to support the schools’ behavioural intervention plan and to ensure the safety of the targeted child, other children and staff, in that sense, the ESOs can be considered as a part of a broader support plan for the child.

ESOs receive training is divided in to practical theory and physical training covering the following areas:

  • Introduction to ESO Program and DET policies on working with children with challenging behaviours

  • Working with the child and framework on children’s development

  • Causes and understanding of children’s behavioural difficulties

  • The escalation and de-escalation cycle

  • Legal parameters and responsibilities

  • Protective Practice

  • Physical Training including but not limited to:

    • Body Language and Positioning

    • Breathing techniques

    • Control of situations 

The benefits of having an ESO in place for us have been:-

A greater sense of security for staff and students arising from much better containment of students with challenging behaviours.
Reduced incidents of physical attacks against other students from the students the aides work with as a result of close monitoring.
More positive social interactions between the student and his peers facilitated by the aides.
We are now starting to see signs of increased participation in classroom activities that will lead to improved learning outcomes for the student.
Reduced need for principal involvement in managing extreme behaviours.
Reduced stress levels for staff and principals with a greater sense of security.
While the use of an ESO cannot be expected to result in the total elimination of challenging behaviours from the more extreme students, the benefits have certainly been worthwhile in relation to the point listed above. The program has enabled the student involved to remain at school rather than having to cope with expulsion which was a very likely outcome had the ESO not been involved.

For us to date the Engagement Support Officer has been a very beneficial and worthwhile approach to managing what had become a very stressful and untenable situation.
— Neil Jorgensen Co-Principal Warburton Primary School

For more information about our Engagement Support Services, please contact Clint Cassell by emailing