Aboriginal Languages K-10 (2022) Syllabus– information for school leaders

The Aboriginal Languages K-10 (2022) Syllabus replaces Aboriginal Languages K-10 (2003) Syllabus from 2024.

The study of Aboriginal Languages in K–10 enables students to communicate using an Aboriginal Language. Students reflect on and understand the nature and role of language, including the relationships between Aboriginal Languages, Countries and Cultures. Students learn about the importance of maintenance and revival of Aboriginal Languages.

What you need to know

  • Implementation begins in 2024.
  • It is not mandatory for all schools to offer Aboriginal Language and Culture lessons but for schools who choose to do so, the new Syllabus must be followed.
  • Students may commence their study of a language at any point along the K–10 continuum.
  • It is essential that schools work in partnership with their local Aboriginal Community, in line with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultural protocols. To develop further knowledge about principles and protocols school representatives can contact:
    • their Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG)
    • Aboriginal education consultants within education sectors
    • local Aboriginal Land Councils
    • Aboriginal language centres.

  • The Aboriginal Languages K–10 Syllabus advocates for the ongoing revitalisation and maintenance of Aboriginal Languages.
  • The languages to be studied and assessed are the Aboriginal Languages of Australia, with priority given to the language of Country where the school is located.
  • The term ‘target language’ is used to refer to the language studied.
  • The successful introduction and ongoing implementation of the Aboriginal Languages K–10 Syllabus is underpinned by a firm understanding of key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principles and protocols
  • Outcomes for Aboriginal Languages show linguistic and cognitive progression.

The Aboriginal Languages syllabus includes:

  • a simplified aim and removal of the objectives
  • outcomes and content that are organised into 5 focus areas, and content groups
  • a change in the coding of outcomes (stage – 5 focus areas – numerical sequence of outcome)
  • using language and making linguistic connections
  • provision for students who are:
    • Learning a Language in Revival
    • Continuing to study their First Language

The Aboriginal Languages K–10 Syllabus aligns with the Australian Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages F–10 Language Revival (LR) and First Language (L1) Pathways.

Prior to implementing the Aboriginal Languages K-10 syllabus, leaders will need to consider the following:

  • adhering to the local Aboriginal cultural protocols
  • working in partnership with local Aboriginal community(-ies) in the planning of the Aboriginal Languages syllabus
  • ongoing connection with local Aboriginal Community in the development and implementation of school-based teaching and learning programs to maintain and revitalise their languages and cultures.
  • commencement of study of a language at any point along the K–10 continuum (mandatory study of a language for 100 hours is to be completed over one continuous 12-month period in Years 7–10, but preferably in Years 7–8).
  • principles of cultural safety that are founded on respectful behaviours and integrity, including some consistent principles associated with the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • that many Aboriginal Languages are at various stages of revival. Language revival processes are based on linguistic analysis of surviving Community-held knowledge, early records, historical documents and recordings. This analysis is done by linguists and Community members who are specialist Aboriginal Language researchers.

The syllabus for Aboriginal Languages is based on evidence highlighting:

  • Additional (second) language acquisition – a foundational understanding of the target language and language culture
  • Linguistic research methodologies and practices for Language Revival – by providing insights
  • Language ecologies
  • Longitudinal studies and action research projects.

The Aboriginal Languages K-10 (2022) Syllabus is based on evidence summarised in the bibliography published by NESA.

  • What evidence is there that staff have understood syllabus changes and familiarised themselves with the new syllabus?
  • Which communities of practice does the school collaborate with to enhance teacher curriculum knowledge and pedagogy?
  • How will the school’s plan for curriculum implementation be evaluated? How might this evaluation inform the implementation of future syllabuses?


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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