Strategy to improve Aboriginal education

A new strategy to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people will be delivered through 15 schools in some of NSW's most complex and disadvantaged communities.

Connected Communities will allow the schools to become community hubs to deliver a range of services from birth, through school, to further training and employment.

Premier Barry O'Farrell said the initiative recognises one size doesn't fit all for Aboriginal education and that new approaches are needed.

"It is appalling that only a third of Aboriginal children who start Year 7 currently complete high school," Mr O'Farrell said.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said schools will play a bigger role in the day-to-day life of local communities and be given unprecedented authority to tailor education to students' needs.

"The principals in these schools will become the most highly paid in NSW. Schools will work closely with the community to develop and implement strategies that will work for them," Mr Piccoli said.

The Connected Communities strategy addresses key issues that positively influence Aboriginal students' educational and life opportunities.

Engaging the Aboriginal community with its local school is the most important of these and can be achieved by:

  • employing Elders and Aboriginal staff
  • embedding and celebrating Aboriginal culture and language
  • building cultural understanding among teachers
  • engaging and working with parents.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Victor Dominello, said the strategyis the first major government initiative endorsed by the Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs, including leaders of peak Aboriginal organisations.

"Connected Communitieshas been developed in collaboration with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, together with research on locally-delivered services and community development."

Initially, schools in western NSW, New England and the North Coast will be involved in delivering Connected Communities.

An executive director to oversee the Connected Communities strategy will be appointed in July, with executive principals selected in October.

These officers will then hold community workshops and other key preparation before the Connected Communitiesstrategy is fully operational from the start of the 2013 school year.

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