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I didn’t realise what a difference it would make!

A commitment to inclusion is at the heart of everything we do at School Stream. So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we heard how our translation feature is transforming school life for a cohort of Portuguese-speaking Brazilian families attending Upper Brookfield State School. This week on School Stream, we’re talking translation and inclusion with Sarah Nicolls, the dynamic Administration Manager at Upper Brookfield Primary School.

A big thank you to Sarah for sharing this heart-warming and eye-opening experience with us. 

Keep everyone in the loop. The School Stream translation feature allows families to translate everything you send via the app into over 100 languages. Learn more. 

Upper Brookfield State School is a lovely, inclusive school situated in a rural area 22 kilometres west of Brisbane. They offer a vibrant curriculum to support their motto: “Nurture, Grow, Thrive”. In recent years, they’ve welcomed quite a few new families from Brazil.

More than more than 10% of our school population is from Brazil.

The first family moved here 2016. When new families move over from Brazil, they have these big Brazilian play dates with the new families, and they’ve been singing our praises. So slowly, slowly our community of Brazilian families is growing. 

School Stream: What led you to realise not everyone was understanding the information you were sending home from school?

Sadly, we didn’t realise until we’d set up School Stream and Brad (School Stream’s much-loved Operations Manager) informed us that there was a feature for families so they could have everything we sent translated into Portuguese. We communicated that to the Brazilian families, and it wasn’t until then that they came to us and let us know that they couldn’t understand anything before. There were two families in particular whose English wasn’t fantastic, and they were getting other families to translate anything they didn’t understand. It didn’t come to our attention until we fixed the issue – an issue we didn’t even realise we had! 

School Stream: This is not an uncommon story, actually. A lot of families who speak English as a second language fly under the radar. 

It was a big eye opener for us. First, we received an email from a family, and it was full of gratitude and praise. ‘Thank you so much for thinking of us.’ That kind of thing. There was lots of praise, and they were just so grateful. They were not only thrilled to be able to understand, but it made them feel like they were part of the community. I know it’s a word that’s thrown out a lot, but it was quite empowering for them as members of our community.

School Stream: Did you notice that they were able to participate more fully in school life once they knew what was going on? 

Absolutely! (Brazilian) families have since come to speak to us a few times because, I think one of the big things that made them feel uncomfortable was that they didn’t have the same capacity as the rest of the parents to check through the emails and know ‘OK, it’s free dress today’ or ‘The kids need a gold coin donation this week’. They were having to constantly call or text their friends to check what was happening.” 

“Now they feel confident knowing what is coming up and when things are happening. It’s made such a massive difference. 

They don’t have to rely on anyone else or feel like they’re not keeping up with everyone. I can only imagine the relief really. We take it for granted that everyone can just click through and access an email. Having the School Stream app on your phone is actually a lot more user-friendly – it’s wonderful – and it highlighted for us the need to be more conscious of the needs of our families.” 

“There isn’t a departmental-specified answer to deal with this kind of language barrier for school communication. What you guys do in being able to have this information translated to other languages is such a game changer – and I hope that other schools get on board.” 

School Stream has been an absolute game changer for us in general. Because of where we are, many families didn’t have internet access until recently. We didn’t even have a mobile tower here until 2020 so lots of people couldn’t access their mobiles. Everything was done via phone calls to landlines and printing out newsletters. Now we’ve got the cell phone tower and having School Stream means that if something comes up, we’re able to communicate it immediately to parents. It’s not about checking for an email; we know they’re getting a notification and we know they’re checking their School Stream. It’s the only platform we use that’s completely inclusive. I think it’s fantastic and I’m so pleased. I can’t say enough good things and we’re just very grateful. 

A big thank you to Sarah Nicolls for sharing with us Upper Brookfield’s experience of using the School Stream translation feature.

Wishing you a restful break over the holidays and we will see you all back for Term 2.

Are you ready to learn more? Let’s get started.