Authentic community engagement

Schools are instrumental in purposefully building a culture of high expectations and inclusion through authentic engagement with parents and the broader community.

Father with girl primary student on back wearing hat and backpack
Image: Engaging the community for improved student learning


Community engagement and school improvement

Community engagement is a critical factor for improving the progress, achievement and wellbeing of your students. When schools, families and the broader community work together to develop positive connections, students thrive.

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers explicitly reference the importance of your staff developing capabilities in fostering and promoting effective community engagement, and embeds it across the 3 domains of teaching: professional knowledge, professional practice and professional engagement.

NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

Our commitment to establishing genuine and meaningful relationships is exemplified in how we, as an organisation, relate to and engage with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (NSW AECG) and the DoE/ NSW AECG Partnership Agreement.

As our peak Aboriginal Community partner, it is expected that we actively and respectfully engage in genuine consultation throughout the School Excellence cycle, and in a way in which enables Aboriginal people to speak and be heard in determining their educational future and feel valued and respected.

This in turn will impact on the future leadership and prosperity of Aboriginal people and their communities, and the socio-cultural integrity of this nation.

The SEF and community engagement

The School Excellence Framework (SEF) describes the importance of community engagement in schools, and includes it throughout the elements of learning, teaching and leading. The SEF states:

  • Students benefit from the school’s planned and proactive engagement with parents/ carers and the broader community.
  • School leaders enable a self-sustaining and self-improving community that will continue to support the highest levels of learning.
  • Leaders in excellent schools ensure that operational issues, such as resource allocation and accountability requirements, serve the overarching strategic vision of the school community.

When you genuinely value and engage with your local community, the positive values, attitudes and behaviours for learning are adopted beyond the school’s boundaries. Effective in-school strategies for improving student outcomes will then be more widely successful when undertaken in partnership with the community.

A rich and diverse school community

Your school community includes students, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and carers, and the broader community. Each school community is unique in its richness and diversity.

All of your families must have a voice, irrespective of their English language proficiency, Aboriginality or cultural/ linguistic background, religion, socio-economic status, gender, age, access to technology or geographic location.

Community engagement in your school should be purposeful, positive and authentic.

A well-established body of research shows an inextricable link between parental engagement and a child’s academic success and social wellbeing. It is therefore essential that schools engage with their local communities to ensure the greatest impact on every student’s progress, achievement and wellbeing.

Established relationships with individuals, organisations, services, facilities and expertise available in your school’s broader community can be drawn upon to provide a range of opportunities for students to participate in, as well as support students’ academic, physical, social, and emotional growth.

CESE toolkit

The CESE toolkit summarises the impact, cost and reliability of evidence surrounding educational research into parental engagement.


Learn more

Find more information about School Excellence in Action or contact the team at sparo@det.nsw.edu.au.

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