Teaching Aboriginal languages

Aboriginal languages can be taught in schools under the policy direction of the Department’s Aboriginal Education Policy and its Partnership Agreement 2020–2030 with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG). There are two streams:

A Nest is a network of communities bound together by their connection through an Aboriginal language. Schools within a Nest area may access Nest funding to teach the relevant Aboriginal Language and culture under the Nest structure. The Nests are Bundjalung, Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay/Yuwaalayaay, Gumbaynggirr and North West Wiradjuri. Paakantji, Dunghutti and Gomeroi are Satellite Nests.

If an Aboriginal community or a school within a Nest area wishes to implement an Aboriginal Languages program, the first step is to contact the relevant Aboriginal Language and Culture Officer, and the NSW AECG’s local Project Officer. Contact details and more information about Nests can be found in the Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships Directorate’s Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest Guidelines and fact sheets. The Department has engaged the NSW AECG to support the Nests, including provision of Aboriginal language educators (also known as tutors) and project officers for each. Seven Aboriginal languages are being taught across 27 schools to more than 1000 students within the Nests.

If an Aboriginal community, or a school outside a Nest area wishes to implement an Aboriginal Languages program, the school may use its funding, including the equity funding for Aboriginal students, to do so. The first step is consultation, including all stakeholders, such as local language keepers, Elders, Aboriginal community members, Aboriginal community organisations, local school representatives, school community members, local NSW AECG representatives and any interested parties. Schools may also choose to work together as a Community of Schools model, combining funding to supplement and employ an Aboriginal language and culture teacher.

The Department can not decide which language a school will teach; this must be determined by the community. More about the programs, including whether a school is in a Nest area, can be found on the Language, Culture and Communities website.

The Department respects Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property rights by following Indigenous cultural protocols.

CONTACTS: Research and Engagement Team within Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships Directorate: [email protected] or 0447 192 622. NSW AECG languages manager Connie Ah See, [email protected] or 0407 253 435.