Defence School Mentor Program

The Defence School Mentor (DSM) Program provides funding to schools to minimise the impact of the mobile lifestyle on Defence students’ education. The DSM Program assists Defence students and their families with changing schools, integrating into the school community and providing support during parental absences. This funding provided by the Defence Forces allows for the employment of a DSM to work within the school to raise awareness of the Defence lifestyle and to support students of Defence families.

The program, administered by Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS) (formerly known as Defence Community Organisation), reflects the commitment by Defence to support its members and their families and recognises the partnership between education authorities, Defence and schools.


The program aims to assist students in Defence families in four key areas throughout their education and as they move from one school to another. The key areas are:

  • welcoming
  • integrating
  • support during deployment and absence; and
  • farewelling

Through the program it is hoped that schools are assisted in achieving the following outcomes:

  • Facilitation of a supportive educational environment for Defence families during times of change
  • Establishment of ongoing programs and resources for use during and beyond the life of the program
  • Linkage of Defence families into their local school community; and
  • Provision of education resources to support the Defence student’s wellbeing.

Introducing our College Counsellor & DSM, Ally Butler

My name is Ally Butler and I am the College School Counsellor and Defence School Mentor at Prince of Peace!

I have worked for over 10 years in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Sector and bring to the roles a wealth of knowledge from assisting young people with behavioural issues, to developing healthy self-esteem, communication skills and resilience, and providing support around building a happy family environment.

I have spent most of my professional life overseas in Nauru, working with refugee children detained in the Nauru Immigration Detention Centre. I provided intense trauma-focused counselling services and learnt how to handle myself and others in high pressure situations.

I have also worked as a School Counsellor at an affluent International School in Bali, as well as within the child protection field in Albania.

I work two days a week in the Defence School Mentor role and two days a week in the School Counsellor role. I am based across both the Junior and Middle/Senior Campuses, and if you feel I can support you and/or your child in any way, please do reach out to your child’s pastoral care or class teacher.

All referrals to counselling will be made through your child’s pastoral care or class teacher, who will then complete a formal request for counselling. On receiving the referrals, I will make an informed risk assessment and prioritise those students of highest need.

It’s a great feeling when your children enjoy going to school because school’s a great place to be. — Mr J (parent)