What should be included in the new strategy?

We want to hear your ideas about how can we: 

  • better support Aboriginal children to learn and thrive before starting school?
  • support Aboriginal children and young people to do well at school?
  • ensure Aboriginal children and young people are engaged in their learning?
  • support young people to do well when they leave school?
  • work better in partnership with families and community?

Write a comment in the discussion below.

Comments closed

Verity May

06 Jul 2018

Keep initiatives like the Aboriginal STEM Congress, this event changed my child’s outlook on education and raised his confidence immensely. Kudos to that team, they’re doing something right!

Gary Passmore

03 Jul 2018

As a senior Aboriginal person, who worked as an educator with the South Australian Education Department for over 45 years, I have seen many different strategies employed to help improve the attendance, retention, literacy and numeracy levels of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Some have achieved some success as outlined in the video. However, one of the main strategies that I've seen achieve the greatest results in the areas listed above, is the one which aims at helping to improve Indigenous students knowledge and pride in the their own culture. Sadly, for many many of our Indigenous students, this isn't happening in our schools and there are various reasons this.
The Australian Curriculum has as one of its three Cross-curriculum Priorities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This was designed and written to assist teachers to integrate an Aboriginal/Indigenous perspective into their teaching and the students' learning. With many of our teachers under pressure to cover the Achievement Standards of so many different learning areas of the curriculum, it is not surprising that many of them do not focus much, if any, time on the Cross-curriculum Priorities, especially the one which I've seen helps enormously to engage our Indigenous students and to build cultural pride. Without engagement attendance declines and therefore achievement results are affected.
Leadership of schools needs to ensure that their staff (including themselves) undertake cultural awareness training and are supported in their growth, confidence and ability to integrate an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander perspective into all children's learning. Many teachers are afraid to do this because it was lacking in their schooling and in their pre-service training and this has resulted in a lack of confidence in this area. These teachers need the support of Indigenous parents/caregivers, Indigenous staff and non-Indigenous staff who have knowledge and understanding in this area.
I have read all of the comments below and fully agree with them. To me it seems like there are people in decision making positions who are trying to mainstream the education of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students but at the same time sacrificing knowledge, pride and understanding of the oldest living culture in the world. This is something all Australians should be immensely proud of.

Chloe Davis

03 Jul 2018

As a non-indigenous person, I don't believe I have the right to say what I think would be helpful for them, I think this decision should be made WITH them not FOR them. And as important as it is to provide excellent education and programs to indigenous children in Australia, it is also important to educate non-indigenous children in Australia on the truth of Australian History so they can better understand the adversities Aboriginal people faced/still face. There is still so much stigma about the indigenous culture amongst non-indigenous people and I believe this causes great division between races and cultures.

Susan Moroney

21 Jun 2018

I would like to discuss all the programs that have been abolished in the last 7years. These programs were extremely meaniful for our students and all seem to have been cut. Just off the top of my head.... "Deadly and Black is beautiful" a mentoring program for teenage boys and girls, "Vibe Alive" a camp for Aboriginal students in Port Augusta, Nutrition Programs for Aboriginal students and their parents or caregivers, Hearing testing every year, Croc Fest, Aboriginaland Multicultural Resource Cente , Aboriginal Resource Centre at Bowden and most recently funding for Camp Coorong. If we are talking about truly engaging Aboriginal students and assisting them to be confident and proud of their country why cut so many programs that were successful. How are these cultural programs being replaced..?

Bill Temby

21 Jun 2018

I worked in an Aboriginal community as a youth worker and became aware of the problems around education. These kids would have been better off having lessons under a gum-tree out in the bush somewhere with traditional elders as co-teachers. A big problem for teachers was that the parents hated school and so had the expectation that the children would hate it also. I envisioned a bus in place of a traditional classroom. Parents joining in the process. Aboriginal kids are highly active and this needs to be accepted, not suppressed.

Chris Warren

17 Jun 2018

Given the Aboriginal population demographic, and that the percentage of Aboriginal children in schools will increase, in some places quite dramatically, in the near future - it is critical to get the Strategy done and working - I have heard it will be monitored - well of course it should be. Everyone (in schools and community) needs to be accountable or at least know what they should be focusing on. Some leadership and direction from the department is needed. Check that schools who apply for funds eg for Language Centres use it for that or explain why circumstances changed from their intentions. Or targeted funding is spent on the target - eg EALD funding is not just for smaller classes. AETs should not be appointed at anything less than 0.4. They need to be seen (and paid?) as leadership - and provided with excellent training - how to bring about change in schools, how to collect and use data, how to support teachers etc
For those students who have not gone to secondary school, or missed heaps of primary, there needs to be a TAFE option that realty engages them and helps them learn basic skills of literacy, numeracy and life - schools should identify them - and if they front at justice, centrelink etc their name should come up as someone really needing help. In all departmental and SACE PD there needs to be quality Aboriginal input if appropriate. So LITERACY includes how to work with anangu or other Aboriginal students with heavy Aboriginal English. I think the demise of "Enfield" to mainstream Aboriginal Education support to schools has been a disaster - there are a few lovely people - but they talk mainly to Principals, not much to the ones working with students.
The Dept need to be commissioning some proper research - why do so many students stay away from school? I know lots of reasons a student might be away, but I don't understand the long absences - except when they miss too much they don't know where to start - schools could try some transition classes for the long term absentees and spasmodic, irregular attendees. Why are so many students going to private schools? Aboriginal Studies and Languages at younger secondary grades, not just "perspectives." Especially with languages schools need a lot of support. Schools need more room - the more Aboriginal students enroll the more ASETOs we get, the more programs we run - but there is very limited room.