Connected Communities – at a glance

Connected Communities aims to address the educational and social aspirations of Aboriginal children and young people in 15 rural and remote schools.

The Connected Communities Strategy (PDF 665 KB) was developed in response to community concerns about poor outcomes for Aboriginal students and about the critical need for a comprehensive, innovative program to engage Aboriginal students in their learning.

The strategy was informed by advice from the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. and a broad consultation process with key stakeholders, underpinned by educational research that highlights the value of place-based approaches to education.

The strategy has a clear focus on innovation in the planning and delivery of quality education for Aboriginal students, and for all students in Connected Communities schools.

Connected Communities schools work in partnership with Aboriginal parents and Aboriginal leaders to co-design and implement the strategy within their location. This ensures that education and strategy initiatives meet the specific needs of students and their families.

The strategy positions schools as community hubs to facilitate a range of services from birth, through school, to further training and employment. Schools work with a range of government and non-government agencies to support the educational, social, and health and wellbeing needs of their students.

The strategy includes key deliverables, which executive principals are responsible for implementing at each site.

For more information, visit the Connected Communities section.

In response to the concerns voiced by the Aboriginal community, the strategy was designed to ensure that Aboriginal students’ identity and culture is acknowledged and valued and that Aboriginal histories, culture, languages and lore is recognised and prioritised in each school.

Extensive consultations were conducted across NSW in 2011 and 2012 to engage stakeholders and the community in developing a new approach to how schools can work in partnership with local Aboriginal communities to deliver education in some of our most complex and disadvantaged communities.

The resulting consultation report (PDF 925.65 KB) includes feedback from:

  • stakeholders  in meetings held during the development of a Connected Communities discussion paper
  • community  members, education staff and stakeholders in submissions to respond to the  discussion paper
  • young  Aboriginal people aged between 12 and 25 years during a youth forum.

Connected Communities is positioned within OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment), the NSW government plan for Aboriginal affairs.

30 May 2012

Implementation of the Connected Communities Strategy began in 2013 in 15 Connected Communities schools in 11 of the most disadvantaged communities in NSW.

Connected Communities schools work in partnership with Aboriginal parents and Aboriginal leaders to co-design and implement the strategy within their location. This ensures that education and strategy initiatives meet the specific needs of students and their families.

Data, survey information and evaluations to date indicate that Connected Communities schools are improving significantly, particularly in:

  • Aboriginal community engagement with the school
  • cultural and language programs for staff and students
  • student attendance and engagement in primary schools
  • capital works improvements to the school learning environments
  • primary NAPLAN results.

Current reviews

The Connected Communities Strategy is being evaluated by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE). Evaluation strategies include comprehensive annual data collection and reporting, reviews of NAPLAN results and surveys of students and families, all within a formal evaluation plan. CESE will publish the report addressing all deliverables of the strategy will be published.

Past reviews

An interim evaluation report of Connected Communities (September 2015) was published on the CESE website in February 2016. Although it was only able to cover the first two years of implementation, the interim evaluation report noted a number of significant early gains for Connected Communities schools, and made recommendations about areas for improvement which have since been addressed.

Learn more about evaluations on the Connected Communities section.

Contact details

Kim Proctor
Director, Connected Communities
02 9244 5638
Kim.Proctor@det.nsw.edu.au

Return to top of page