Aboriginal education procedures

Direction and guidance on defining the department's commitments in its schools 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.

Audience

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

Version Date Description of changes Approved by
V01.0.0 14/03/2024 Under the 2023 Policy and procedure review, developed a new procedure document with clear instructions on complying with the policy. Executive Director, Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnership

All staff:

Workplace managers:

  • ensure a culturally safe and responsive work and/or learning environment
  • monitor compliance of staff for mandatory training.

Principals or delegated school leaders:

  • improve outcomes for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander learners and students (develop, implement, evaluate, and monitor Aboriginal Education strategies in the school’s Strategic Improvement Plan
  • ensure a culturally safe and responsive work and/or learning environment
  • monitor compliance of staff for mandatory training.

Directors, Educational Leadership:

  • monitor Aboriginal education strategies in Strategic Improvement Plans for improving outcomes for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander learners and students.

Executive Director, Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships:

  • ensures publication and currency of the policy
  • organises support material with consultation and endorsement from the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (NSW AECG Inc.).

Secretary:

  • ensures implementation and monitoring of the policy
  • reports to the Minister, the NSW AECG Inc., and the broader NSW community on policy implementation and achievements within Aboriginal education.

What needs to be done

All staff undertake a range of activities to promote and enhance Aboriginal education in their unique settings. It is important to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, parents/carers, learners and students to embed local context and ensure appropriate cultural protocols are followed.

1. Support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander learners and students so they achieve and excel

Research shows ‘for students, higher levels of wellbeing are linked to higher academic achievement, school completion, better overall mental health and a more prosocial and responsible lifestyle’ (CESE 2020, p.33).

To support this, all staff:

  • promote 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
  • respect Aboriginal Peoples as the First Peoples of NSW
  • connect with the Local or Regional Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community groups, for support and advice on teaching and learning for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander learners and students
  • must comply with the department’s Anti-Racism policy, particularly in relation to providing an environment of cultural safety for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander learners, students, staff, parents and community members.

Schools should apply some or all the following:

  • establish and maintain respectful, authentic, and collaborative relationships with local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and communities
  • develop teaching and learning experiences that incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in all key learning or subject areas
  • establish culturally safe environments by demonstrating that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and cultures are valued, for example
    • identify and celebrate students’ Nation or Mob
    • listen to, value and action Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learner and student voices
    • accept the use of home language or dialect
    • promote the delivery of meaningful and personal Acknowledgement of Country
    • ensure the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander flags are raised daily
    • acknowledge and celebrate significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dates and events.

Schools may apply some or all the following suggestions:

  • plan and deliver cultural education initiatives, by establishing an Aboriginal Education Committee, with local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and communities
  • incorporate Culture into the design of the school environment.

Education support services staff should apply the following:

  • consult, wherever possible, with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and staff in the design and implementation of policy, strategy, programs, and initiatives that seek to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners and students
  • develop teaching and learning experiences, and resources that incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives
  • deliver professional learning to support the development and implementation of teaching and learning experiences that incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives
  • support cultural initiatives and strategies that focus on effective teaching and learning experiences, for example, Aboriginal Instructional Leaders, Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centres, Local Cultural Curriculum, Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests, Community Connectors, Connected Communities.

2. Increase knowledge and understanding of histories, cultures and experiences

Everybody has a responsibility to increase knowledge and understanding of all learners, students and staff regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and their histories, cultures and experiences.

Learners and students may:

  • learn about, write and deliver individual Acknowledgement of Country
  • learn about the Traditional Lands, Peoples, histories and cultures of the local area
  • participate in local community cultural events and activities
  • participate in Local or Regional Junior AECGs, where available. If not available, speak to the Local or Regional AECG.

School staff should:

  • establish and maintain respectful, authentic relationships with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to strengthen knowledge and understanding of local context
  • develop teaching and learning experiences that incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in all key learning or subject areas.

School staff may:

Education support staff may:

  • participate in and/or deliver professional learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, languages, and cultures, for example, AECG’s Connecting to Country, and the department’s MyPL training on how to deliver Acknowledgement of Country meaningfully
  • participate in department or local community cultural events and activities
  • familiarise themselves with department’s Reconciliation Action Plan
  • attend Local or Regional AECG meetings
  • establish and maintain authentic respectful relationships with Aboriginal Education Support Staff.

3. Provide consistent and system-wide approaches for developing cultural safety

All staff are responsible for implementing consistent system-wide approaches for developing and maintaining culturally safe workplaces for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff.

All staff must comply with the Code of Conduct policy, particularly in relation to building respectful and safe relationships, treating people with dignity and respect, and not tolerating bullying, harassment and discrimination.

All staff should:

  • create an inviting and welcoming environment and develop strategies for active and inclusive communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
  • promote respect for cultural backgrounds and create culturally inclusive environments for parent and family voices
  • engage in shared decision-making with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • acknowledge and mitigate the impact of cultural load on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander learners, students and staff
  • understand and accept Aboriginal dialect, Aboriginal languages and/or Aboriginal ways of using English.

All staff may:

  • acknowledge and celebrate significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dates and events
  • deliver meaningful Acknowledgement of Country at meetings and events.

4. Undertake mandatory Aboriginal Cultural Education training

All staff must complete the initial MyPL training, Aboriginal Cultural Education – Let’s take the first step together (staff only).

5. Partner with local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities

Staff are encouraged to partner with local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and recognise the NSW AECG Inc. as the peak community advisory body to the department on Aboriginal education.

To support this, staff may:

  • participate in the MyPL professional learning, Walking Together, Working Together Partnership Agreement 2020-2030 (staff only)
  • establish and maintain respectful, authentic and collaborative relationships with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and communities
  • partner with local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and communities in decision-making processes related to Aboriginal education.

Mandatory tools and templates

Supporting tools, resources and related information

Contact

Leader, Aboriginal Education Strategy, Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships
aopcorrespondence@det.nsw.edu.au
02 7814 2797

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.

Reference number PD-2008-0385-02-V01.0.0
Implementation date 14/03/2024
Last updated 14/03/2024
Publicly available Yes
Policy cluster/s Teaching and learning

Category:

  • Teaching and learning

Topics:

  • Access and equity

Business Unit:

  • Aboriginal Education and Communities
Return to top of page Back to top