AECG Partnership Agreement 2020-2030 launch
A new Partnership Agreement between the department and the NSW AECG was launched on 23 October.
Video – 2020-2030 Partnership Agreement launch
Duration – 30:40
Yaama. Welcome to the official launch of the Partnership Agreement between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and NSW Department of Education. It's called Walking Together, Working Together 2020-2030. My name is Felicity Forbes and I will be one of your hosts for today.
Will Haley (in Gamilaraay)
William ngay gayrr wila-y-lanha Walgiirr. Bagay gurru guumaldanha goonimaa bularr dhalaa Walgiirr-ga. Girr winanga-y maran ngiyani ngiyaningu. Goonimaa-ga Gamilaraay warra-waana ngiyani.
I am William Haley and I live in Walgett. Walgett, hole in the ground where the two rivers meet. We acknowledge our ancestors. We stand on Gamilaraay land.
Thank you, Will, for that Acknowledgment of Country.
My name is William Haley, and Felicity and I are coming to you from Walgett Community College, on Gamilaraay Country. This is an important day for Aboriginal communities and students across NSW, because the Department of Education and the NSW AECG are agreeing to another ten years of partnership.
The partnership is to make sure that every Aboriginal child and young person in NSW achieves their potential through education. I would now like to introduce Jock Clenton, president of the Muru Bulbi Junior AECG and a current Year 12 student at Gorokan High School, to present the youth address.
Hello. My name is Jock Clenton, and I am a proud young Biripi-Wiradjuri man. I'd like to begin by paying my respects and acknowledging my Elders past, present, and future. I'd also like to acknowledge the Aboriginal lands we are all from today. Further, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I had the opportunity to learn and grow and which I present to you from today, the land of the Darkinjung people. It is vital that I acknowledge the world's oldest living culture and highlight that this land was, is, and always will be Aboriginal land.
After being asked to present this today, it made me reflect on my schooling and its deep connection to this Partnership Agreement. In this reflection, I realised that I am well positioned to speak on this, as my schooling experience clearly highlights how vital a school's true engagement with the agreement is and how this enables a school to positively impact on our young Aboriginal people. My purpose is by no means intended to name and shame one school against each other, but rather, speak of my schooling experience to try and explain what I believe is at the core of this Partnership Agreement. I began my high school years in a school which spoke of Aboriginal education and where there were valid attempts to address the needs of the Aboriginal students, however, like we hear all too often, they were simply tokenistic gestures. Shortly thereafter, my family, including my cousins and brothers, moved to a neighbouring high school with a strong reputation for their commitment to Aboriginal education, and very quickly it was evident that this was a place where I belonged.
As a young Aboriginal man, having a sense of belonging and learning experience, a few fundamental features were evident at my new school, and they go a long way towards the aims and goals of the Partnership Agreement, things such as a school's community which truly listens to the needs and wants of their AECG, voiced through a strong Aboriginal education officer, as well as school leaders who are willing to act on feedback from community and students to ensure that something needs improving, it happens. Having teachers who are interested in my culture and who participate in opportunities to learn more about it, and finally, a school which is proud to promote their Aboriginal students and our amazing culture. What this meant for me was instrumental in keeping me engaged and connected to my education, and it made me proud of who I was and proud of my Aboriginal background and the culture. So, I guess what I'm trying to explain is just how vitally important it is for schools to truly understand and engage with this Partnership Agreement – for the schools to walk together and work together. This isn't something for schools and staff to dust off their shelves when they're writing their school plans and completing job applications. This document, which needs to be lived and breathed every day every day of their teaching and learning lives, because then, and only then, will kids like me have the opportunity for an education we deserve.
Thank you, Jock, for your inspiring youth address. It really gives us all something to think about – how important it is for all schools to work with their Aboriginal communities.
I would now like to welcome Cindy Berwick, President of the NSW AECG, to deliver her official address. Thank you.
I'm here on the homelands of the Gadigal people and I'd like to pay my respects to Country and Elders both past and present.
It is with a sense of optimism and hope that the NSW AECG enters into a renewed Partnership Agreement with the NSW Department of Education. We are optimistic that we can continue to build on the successes that we have achieved to date that ensure our people have access and opportunities in the education system by continuing to work respectfully and collaboratively with the NSW Department of Education. We are hopeful that the disparities and inequities that exist for our children in gaining an education are a priority for the department, and the pockets of racism that exist in all its forms are challenged.
The NSW AECG, through its local and regional network, promotes respect, empowerment, and self-determination, and believes the process of collaborative consultation is integral to equal partnerships, and is fundamental to the achievement of equality. The NSW AECG was born from an education movement that advocates the right to access and participate in an education system.
The Partnership Agreement outlines how we will achieve this and our shared responsibilities. By walking together and working together, we look to a future – a future that builds a nation founded on tolerance, respect, and understandings of the unique place of its First Nations people. A future laid by the foundation of an education system that celebrates and recognises that we are the oldest living culture of humanity.
Thank you, Ms Berwick, for your wonderful speech.
I now welcome Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, to give his official address.
It's wonderful to be joining you from the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. I recognise their continuing relationship and connection to the land, water, and community, and pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging. I also extend my respect to everyone joining this significant event from across NSW.
It's a great pleasure to be here and a great privilege to be part of such a significant event – the signing of the Partnership Agreement between the NSW AECG and the department for a further ten years. The critical importance of this partnership cannot be understated. It provides us with the opportunity to listen and hear the voices of our Aboriginal communities and our Aboriginal students, our leaders of the future. Through this agreement, we will walk together and work together as equal partners in a journey that will support Aboriginal students and communities today and into the future.
I'm signing with Cindy Berwick, President of the NSW AECG, and I'd like to thank Cindy for her commitment to Aboriginal students and families. I know they're always at the heart of your thinking. Cindy's advocacy and drive have been critical to getting us where we are today - ready to sign a new agreement. In developing the new agreement, we're building on a partnership that is well established and already strong.
Like all partnerships, open and robust discussions often bring about the best outcomes. When we take time to listen and learn from each other, like we did during the development of this agreement, we can be confident that our partnership will continue to flourish and succeed. Those consultation sessions saw rigorous and healthy debates. It's that shared passion and a common goal to improve outcomes for each of our 65,000 Aboriginal students across NSW public schools that's created this new Partnership Agreement. It's an expression of solidarity and our shared vision for the next ten years.
We look to the future with optimism, knowing that between our department and the NSW AECG, there is a commitment to forge an even stronger collaborative partnership to create a culture within schools and across the department that is proud of the beauty, richness, and diversity of Aboriginal cultures and that tells the true story of our nation's history. Aboriginal students deserve to flourish at school. Every child should be known, valued, and cared for. Education is about setting up kids for rewarding lives, equipping them with skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to walk in two worlds and to thrive in both. We need to listen, learn, and hear Aboriginal student and community vices, and we'll work hand-in-hand with the AECG to achieve the best possible outcomes for all our students academically whilst embracing their culture. We respect the strength of Aboriginal communities and honour the knowledge held within them. Through genuine collaboration and consultation, we can, together, create a future that is just, equal, and bright for Aboriginal students.
The Partnership Agreement is a meaningful document, and it's also a beautiful one. I'd like to thank artist Wallula Bethell from the Gamilaraay nation for the artwork that is featured in the agreement. The work reflects the diversity of our students and the strength of our future, our footprints symbolising how we will walk and work together throughout our journey.
By signing this partnership today, the NSW Department of Education and the NSW AECG are confirming a longstanding partnership, and we are committing to walking together and working together to ensure that every Aboriginal student achieves their potential through education, that every Aboriginal student is equipped to walk in two worlds and thrive in both. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Scott, for your words of commitment to this Partnership Agreement.
What would the Partnership Agreement look like if it was a cartoon?
Let's have a look at this sketch animation.
A new Partnership Agreement 'Walking Together Working Together 2020-2030' between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the Department of Education will replace the current Partnership Agreement. It will be signed by the President of the NSW AECG Cindy Berwick, Secretary for the Department of Education, Mark Scott and witnessed and signed by Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning.
The new Partnership Agreement is for all parents, caregivers, communities and schools across NSW and spans from early childhood through to post-school pathways. It recognises the NSW AECG as the peak advisory body for Aboriginal education in NSW.
It shows how the NSW AECG and the Department of Education will work together so every Aboriginal child and young person can achieve their potential through education. It highlights the importance of consultation with communities at the local level, acknowledging the AECG’s grassroots structure.
Parents, caregivers and communities can expect to see all Aboriginal children well-prepared for school by attending culturally safe preschools.
Schools will respect the identity, culture, heritage and languages of Aboriginal students and be welcoming and respectful places. Aboriginal languages will be taught across NSW from preschool to Year 12. The Partnership Agreement will be a foundation for the development of School Plans.
Aboriginal student’s achievements will be as good as or better than those of the general student population of NSW and underpin their success in higher education, further training or employment.
All students in NSW will understand the true history of the lands on which they live and respect and learn about the heritage and culture of the Aboriginal peoples from those lands.
Together we will have high aspirations for Aboriginal students and will work collaboratively with parents and caregivers to achieve these. All teaching and non-teaching staff will complete Aboriginal cultural awareness training, with refresher courses every three years, supported and/or delivered by the NSW AECG.
Panels established for the recruitment and selection processes in education will include a representative of the NSW AECG.
Aboriginal parents, caregivers, communities, students and staff across NSW had the opportunity to have their voices heard in the development of this new Partnership Agreement. By walking together and working together, the NSW Department of Education and the NSW AECG will strive towards delivering these outcomes during the life of this partnership and will report on the progress of this Partnership Agreement each year.
Go online to learn more about what we have agreed and the outcomes we want to achieve through the Partnership Agreement.
We will now begin the official signing of the Partnership Agreement between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the NSW Department of Education called Walking Together, Working Together 2020-2030.
I will now ask Ms Cindy Berwick, President of the NSW AECG, and Mr Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, to sign the Partnership Agreement, with Minister Sarah Mitchell to sign as witness to the agreement.
Thank you, Cindy Berwick, Mark Scott, and Sarah Mitchell.
I would now like to invite Minister Sarah Mitchell to deliver a short speech about the importance of this document for the future.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and acknowledge the many lands from which you are all joining from right across NSW. I also pay my respect to Elders past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal people.
Today we all meet for a very special occasion – the signing of a renewed agreement between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the NSW Government. I am very pleased to be here as a witness today, and extend my congratulations and warmest greetings to each of you joining this event today. We all have a direct responsibility for the lives and futures of Aboriginal students in NSW public schools. By working together, we will strive to ensure that every Aboriginal child and young person in NSW achieves their potential through education. This new Partnership Agreement will guide a clear ten-year plan with thorough reporting accountabilities. I believe this ongoing partnership is the key to a successful united future.
The NSW Government recognises the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group as our peak advisory body for the education of Aboriginal peoples in NSW. I would like to acknowledge the value and importance of the leadership and grassroots structure of the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. I thank you for your tireless work and for the guidance you give the NSW Government. Aboriginal education is a priority for all of us. The relationship we have formed will only continue to strengthen because it is based on mutual respect, consultation, shared decision making, and the participation of Aboriginal people in setting goals for education in NSW. The consultation that has taken place across the state in developing the Partnership Agreement has shown us the passion and desire for Aboriginal children to get the very best out of their education. Together, we want to make sure that our students are well prepared for school and that parents and carers of Aboriginal children are valued and feel welcomed in our schools. We will continue to help our teachers to be culturally aware and to deliver engaging, culturally relevant curriculum that reflects Aboriginal students' heritage, cultures, and languages. We do this by collaborating with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, parents, caregivers, and communities to ensure that schools maintain the high expectations held by Aboriginal communities across the state.
As minister, I want to see change, not only for Aboriginal students and their families, but for all in our public schools across the state. As a parent myself and as a former minister for Aboriginal Affairs, I know the transformative power of education in the lives of our children and young people. I want an education system that reflects Australia as a fair and equal society. Students in NSW must know, understand, and learn about the land of people they live on, and celebrate the richness of our heritage and diverse Aboriginal cultures. Today's signing of this Partnership Agreement demonstrates to Aboriginal communities, parents, principals, and staff how committed we are to improving outcomes for Aboriginal students. The NSW Government is committed to working with Aboriginal families and communities to enable students to fulfil their aspirations and achieve their dreams. So, thank you again for your tireless work and dedication.
Thank you, Minister Mitchell.
2020 has been a tough year for us all, with drought, bushfires, and COVID-19.
Our special performance today is by students from Shoalhaven High School. They are one of many communities across NSW severely affected by the bushfires.
No matter what they have been through, they're still standing tall and still dancing.
I would like to introduce the principal from Shoalhaven High School.
G'day, everybody, and welcome to Shoalhaven High School. My name is Damian Rees and I'm a proud principal of this fantastic school. I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand, and pay my respect to Elders past, present, and emerging, and extend those respects to all Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people here today. It is with an absolute pleasure that I introduce Shoalhaven High School's Lyrebird Dancers.
(Speaks Indigenous language)
The first dance we'll be performing is the Cleansing of the ground.
The next dance we're gonna be performing is the Welcome dance.
(Sings in Indigenous language, clap sticks beat rhythmically)
Thanks for that deadly performance.
This is now the end of the official launch of Walking Together, Working Together Partnership Agreement.
Between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and NSW Department of Education 2020-2030.
Thank you for joining us today for this important event.
End of transcript.