Reconciliation Week starts in NSW public schools

A week of sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history got underway in NSW public schools today.

Minister Mitchell writing pledge for the Reconciliation chain with students from Jordan Springs Public School
Image: Minister Mitchell writing pledge for the Reconciliation chain with students from Jordan Springs Public School

The NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Franklin joined students taking part in the reconciliation activities at Jordan Springs Public School.

Mr Perrottet said that he wanted NSW to lead the country in working towards reconciliation and that building a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture, and educating young people was key to achieving that.

“Here at Jordan Springs Public School in Western Sydney, you can see a respect for Indigenous culture from the minute you walk through the entrance where you are welcomed in Aboriginal languages,” Mr Perrottet said.

“The NSW Government recognises the importance of strengthening relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, reconciliation and closing the gap in life outcomes for Aboriginal people.”

Jordan Spring Public School has a strong connection with the local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group who have been a significant partner in the ongoing cultural development of the school.

Ms Mitchell said it was important for schools to work with their local Aboriginal communities as part of the reconciliation process of building mutual respect and understanding.

“This year’s theme ‘Be Brave. Make Change.’ provides a great opportunity for school communities, staff and students to commit to actions they will do to ensure we move another step closer to reconciliation,” Ms Mitchell said

While at the school the Premier and Ministers also had the chance to see a 192 tonne concrete pour get underway for the second stage of the upgrade to Jordan Springs Public School, part of the NSW Government’s $2 billion investment in school infrastructure for Western Sydney.

“It is fantastic to see construction progressing on 14 new state-of-the-art learning spaces for 400 students, as well as new covered outdoor learning areas and landscaping works,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The upgrade is a win for the growing local community as it will mean the school can accommodate 1000 students and provide families with first class education facilities to support their kids’ learning.”

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Franklin said around 20 per cent of NSW public schools had registered to develop a Narragunnawali Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) with Reconciliation Australia, with almost 40 schools having published their RAP.

“National Reconciliation Week is a time for all of us to come together to learn about our country’s incredible history, culture and achievements. I am so pleased to hear Jordan Springs Public is working on its commitment to reconciliation in close consultation with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group,” Mr Franklin said.

“Developing a RAP is a first-step schools can take on their reconciliation journey. We encourage all our public schools to begin the process with their local Aboriginal community and knowledge holders.”

Reconciliation Week from 27 May 27 to 3 June commemorates two key milestones in the reconciliation journey– the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision.

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