Partnership to assist Aboriginal students

Aboriginal students in the North Coast region will be supported in achieving their dreams through a new partnership between 17 schools, a TAFE institute and the local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG).

The Macleay Valley Community of Schools, (made up of 15 primary schools and two high schools), North Coast TAFE, Kempsey Campus and the Macleay Valley (Dunghutti Nation) Aboriginal Education Consultative Group signed a partnership agreement in June.

The partnership aims to assist Aboriginal students within schools and TAFE realise their aspirations and potential.

According to those involved, the community-wide collaborative nature of the partnership would assist students in achieving educationally as well as developing their vocational and interpersonal skills. 

"It is a respectful, caring and determined partnership that will deliver great outcomes for our young people," Mark Youngblutt, Hastings school education director, said.

At its core the partnership aims to improve educational attainment for Aboriginal students, while also increasing community engagement and involvement from the local area.

Positive impact

"We know strong school and community relationships have a positive effect on student learning and development," Millbank Public School principal Arthur Bain said.

"By fostering a closer relationship between the local Aboriginal community and our schools and TAFEs and being responsive to community perspectives we believe increased student engagement will result," Mr Bain said.

The partnership outlines the way the Community of Schools alongside the TAFE will work together to build relationships, educational packages and cultural programs.  Each party has clear roles and responsibilities they will work towards achieving both in the short and long term.

Personal learning plans

One of the proposed strategies is a standardised template for personal learning plans.

"By having cohesive learning plans across the valley this will ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to our students' aspirations and will assist in smooth transition across schools and across TAFEs," said Mr Bain.

The establishment of a junior AECG was proposed as a way for students to learn how to become effective role models and leaders within their communities.

The partnership would also see a greater integration of local Aboriginal culture and history into the curriculum and staff would be up-skilled in Aboriginal cultural practice.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to have Aboriginal community members in our classrooms to share their knowledge and experiences with our students and our staff," Mr Bain said.

"It will be a way for all of the parties involved to share their successes and challenges in improving outcomes for Aboriginal students," Mr Bain said.



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