Aboriginal Education Plan For WA Public Schools 2011-2014 Announced

Aboriginal Education Plan For WA Public Schools 2011-2014 Announced

Western Australia Minister for Education Elizabeth Constable

Schools Given Freedom To Act Outside Usual Constraints In Aboriginal Education Plan

Victor P Taffa

A new initiative to allow schools with high proportions of Aboriginal students to break away from traditional schooling constraints was today announced by Education Minister Liz Constable.

Dr. Constable said the Aboriginal Network Schools initiative, part of the ‘Aboriginal Education Plan for WA Public Schools 2011-2014’, would free-up principals and teachers to do things differently and in the best interests of their students and communities.

“I want these schools to think outside the square and work with their communities on innovative ways to improve the educational outcomes of their students.” Dr. Constable said.

The Minister said a small number of schools would initially be chosen to be part of the program, representing a range of school types and sizes across remote, regional and metropolitan areas.

“These demonstration schools may need to challenge current policies so they can make the kinds of significant improvements to Aboriginal student achievement that we must start seeing.” Dr. Constable said.

“For example, a school may better serve its students and community by changing the times and days it is open. Or a school may want to offer special conditions or support to young mothers.”

The demonstration schools will start operating by the beginning of next year and will work with other organisations to co-ordinate health services, child care support, parenting advice, breakfast programs, attendance initiatives and extra curricula activities.

“Local Aboriginal people will be approached to work actively with the school to develop new ideas and innovations, especially in the area of cultural awareness.” Dr. Constable said.

“I also want young Aboriginal people to act as inspirational role models, and influential public advocates from universities, business and community to influence and support innovation.”

“Additionally, each Aboriginal Network School will have easy access to new curriculum materials and high quality professional learning so staff have the very best resources and skills to teach students who may have English as a second, third or even fourth language or dialect.”

The Minister said the initiative built on the State Government’s commitment to giving schools more authority and flexibility to manage their own affairs.

Dr. Constable also announced the creation of two new positions to support innovation in Aboriginal Education an assistant executive director Aboriginal Education Innovation and an Aboriginal executive principal position, appointed on an annual basis.

The plan includes six key areas in line with the National Plan:

  • Readiness for school;
  • Attendance;
  • Literacy and Numeracy;
  • Pathways to real post-school options;
  • Engagement and connections;
  • Leadership, quality teaching and workforce development.

“As we strive to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal students and reduce the performance gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, there are no quick fixes.” the Minister said.

“But we do need to strive for continuing improvement, and in some cases do things differently, and this plan sets the framework for this. School principals and teachers need to share ideas, and learn from each other.” Dr. Constable said.

“We want all Aboriginal young people to be confident and successful learners who finish school and go on to further education, training and employment.”

“This is a shared responsibility and concerted action is needed.” Dr. Constable said.