Aboriginal Education

The NSW Department of Education is committed to being a strong culturally responsive and inclusive education system where every Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander learner and student is known, valued, and cared for to learn, grow, and belong. Our commitment to creating an equitable and outstanding education system affirms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education is everybody's business.

Version number Last updated Description of changes Approved by
V04.0.0 14/03/2024 Updated under the 2023 Policy and procedure review program, including conversion into the new template, and improving document readability. New procedure document, Aboriginal education procedures, added to policy. Executive Director, Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnership

Document history

2024 Jan 31 Implementation document, Turning Policy into Action removed. Contents incorporated into Turning Policy into Action eLearning.

2022 Aug 09 - updated links in policy statement.

2021 Dec 23 - updated policy statement: updated contact details. Updated implementation document Turning Policy into Action: updated references, titles and formatting.

2020 Jun 09 - updated contact details.

From November 2016, this policy applies to all sectors of public education and all departmental employees, not just to the school sector.

The first Aboriginal Education Policy released in 1982 focused on the advancement of Aboriginal communities and an appreciation of Aboriginal cultures and societies by other Australians.
A decade later, this landmark policy was reviewed to make the policy relevant to schools with small numbers of Aboriginal students.
The 1996 Aboriginal Education Policy had three focus areas:
Aboriginal students
Aboriginal communities
All staff, students and schools.
Many Aboriginal communities and a range of staff made significant contributions to the development and implementation of this policy.
In October 2003, the NSW Government announced a review of the effectiveness of the provision of Aboriginal education and training for Aboriginal students in New South Wales. The Aboriginal Education Review raised concerns about the consistency with which the Aboriginal Education Policy had been implemented and recommended that the Aboriginal Education Policy be updated in partnership with the NSW AECG Inc.
As a result the Aboriginal Education Policy has been updated as an action within the Aboriginal Education and Training Strategy 2006-2008. Extensive consultations and feedback on the draft were supported by the Department and the NSW AECG Inc. Feedback was received from 189 group and individual submissions. More than 1000 people were involved.

Superseded documents

Aboriginal Education and Training Policy PD/2008/0385/V02;
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010-2014 (ATSIEAP);
Turning Policy into Action: A Guide for Local Planning Groups (2009);
Aboriginal Education and Training Policy: An Introductory Guide (2009);
Aboriginal Education Policy PD/2005/0209/V03


All staff, including volunteers, and contractors, and students attending NSW public schools and preschools.

  1. Policy statement
    The NSW Department of Education is committed to:
    1. promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity, to improve the wellbeing and educational outcomes of learners and students, in culturally safe environments, so they achieve and excel
    2. increasing knowledge and understanding of all learners, students and staff about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and their histories, cultures and experiences
    3. implementing consistent system-wide approaches for developing and maintaining culturally safe workplaces for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff
    4. providing mandatory Aboriginal Cultural Education (staff only) for all department employees
    5. partnering with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, and recognising the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (NSW AECG Inc.) as the peak community advisory body to the department on Aboriginal education.
  2. Context
  3. Policy contact
    1. Leader, Aboriginal Education Strategy, Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships
      02 7814 2797
  4. Monitoring the policy
    1. The Executive Director, Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
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