This report reflects research that investigates the “impact of school-based leadership in improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal students” in NSW public schools, with a view to taking action on several recommendations through the NSW Teachers Federation Council.
The study explores the relevance and applicability of cross-curriculum perspectives in the teaching and learning environment, the pivotal role that inclusive pedagogies play in ensuring learning is accessible for all students, and the adequacy of current pre-service teacher education in building “culturally equipped” teachers.
The project is underpinned by a clear understanding of the importance of building genuine, meaningful relationships with our students and communities in developing sustainable, positive and measurable change. It is important to recognise, however, that this report, like many before it, is not a “silver bullet” nor a “magic wand” to solve the educational disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and their communities. Rather, it is an opportunity to generate conversation around the ways in which we can further enhance our practices to ensure Aboriginal students meet, if not exceed, attainment levels of their non- Indigenous peers.
As a “strengths-based” study, research involved a series of interviews and case studies, primarily through engaging with NSW primary schools, universities and community members, to explore what is working well in our schools and communities in terms of student engagement and achievement. In capturing global perspectives and highlighting the importance of these in understanding our own significance as a nation, the study encompassed a series of interviews conducted throughout British Columbia, Canada, that explored the correlation between Australia and Canada in terms of challenges in Indigenous education.
The study balances the selected literature and educational research, with feedback from participants and individuals to provide an informed series of recommendations for further consideration and debate through Federation Association meetings and Council forums.