WA Education Minister Dr Liz Constable has announced a new initiative to allow schools with high proportions of Aboriginal students to break away from traditional schooling constraints. She says:
“The Aboriginal Network Schools initiative.. 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..”
A small number of schools representing a range of school types and sizes across remote, regional and metropolitan areas will be chosen at the outset of the program.
By the beginning of next year these demonstration schools will start operating. They will work with other organisations to:
The Minister says:
“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..
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..
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..
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.”
WA has committed to giving all schools more authority and flexibility to manage their own affairs and this is the basis for the new initiative.
There will be two new positions to support innovation in Aboriginal Education, appointed on an annual basis.
The plan includes six key areas:
“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..
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..
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,” says the Minister.
Contact the Minister’s office – 08 9222 9699
A good approach. Given a range of options each community will know what will work for it.