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Our Aboriginal Education Strategy initiatives and progress

We want to see every Aboriginal child and young person in South Australia thrive academically, culturally, and socially. Through listening to Aboriginal students, families, communities, and local organisations, we have co-designed the Aboriginal Education Strategy (AES). 

Learn about how our strategy will help us create a system where Aboriginal people feel culturally proud, safe and respected. 

Our initiatives – case study videos

Watch the Aboriginal Education Strategy case study videos to learn about some of our AES initiatives.

First language teaching supports bilingual literacy and learning in Aṉangu schools

Building Aṉangu students’ multilingual literacy skills for learning across the curriculum, by drawing on the strong foundation of Aṉangu languages, cultures and knowledges.

First language teaching video transcript

When kids come to school and they sometimes struggle understanding English, teaching both languages is much better and easier for them to learn quicker, we want our kids to be better.

Coming to school each day and learning in both worlds in English and in their Pitjantjatjara language, seeing them engage in those lessons is really special.

Bilingual learning actually improves outcomes for kids.

More often than not when I see the kids learning in Pitjantjatjara with a familiar Aṉangu Educator up the front, I just see deep engagement special learning and a lot of fun.

I like working with kids I want to help them encourage them support them, because they're the next generation.

What we really want for our Aṉangu students and what the community has been asking for is the same value ascribed to their languages and to their resources. So a big part of this project has been producing really high-quality literature in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara for children to read.

To see that their languages are acknowledged and valued and to strengthen their First Language literacy which is a really important foundation for building their English literacy down the track as well. Fortunately we're in a position now, a place in time in history where we can listen and we can take those steps forward to strengthen and maintain the language in the schools.

In each classroom we have an Aṉangu educator that we work with to deliver a culturally responsive pedagogy.

We work as a team Aṉangu teacher and Piranpa (non-Aboriginal) teachers. We talk to the kids in our language, what the teacher is saying and we talk to the teachers as well.

We have a strong focus on the inclusiveness of culture and language, it's their number one value. They want two-way learning so we still do Standard Australian English, we're still doing maths, we're still in all our subject areas but we do include learning on country a thing called two-way science – utilizing Aṉangu knowledge. And they lead the learning. So the core to it is empowering Aṉangu in the learning, so we go on country every week – Aṉangu will lead that and then we bring that back into our school. So whilst we have explicit Pitjantjatjara lessons it's also inside classrooms being used to explain the kids concepts in other subject areas. And when you're involved in the bilingual or two-way learning kids see they can learn. Last term I signed off on two kids who had A's in science, benchmarked nationally. I've never done that in 40 years in remote schools pretty well. And it's a wonderful thing to have Marianne our lead teacher saying right we need to teach phonics in Pitjantjatjara and to watch her explicitly teaching phonics just like the teacher teaching English phonics.

The Australian Curriculum is what's taught but it is really important that the their language and culture is really used as a foundation for learning for those kids.

I seen it all – they going up – using both languages. Pitjantjatjara and English.

I think the most important thing to do or remember when you're working with Aṉangu Educators is that you are a team and that you need to take that time to sit down and plan all learning areas together and actually let Aṉangu Educators tell you what they want their students their families, to know what they want to be learning.

Those Aṉangu educators are incredibly important in seeing those kids reach their full potential in education. They're really central to those schools and without them really we wouldn't get anywhere.

Without the Aṉangus it's hard for kids to understand teachers but when Aṉangu was in there they got two way of learning English and Pitjantjatjara.

What I love about my job is being with the kids and just teaching them my knowledge it's also for them to see me as a role model in the school that they can then finish school and be what they want to be you know.

Some other kids are losing their language, that's why I want the kids to be learning Pitjantjatjara so that our language can be alive forever and for the generation to generation to come.

I didn't do Pitjantjatjara lessons when I was going to school, when I see them they doing both languages – so it is a big thing.

They love going out bush learning on country. It's important for kids to come out here and learn the land for example this is Sentinel hill but in language it's Wamitjara.

When they go back they feel proud of themselves.

When they do their good work they get happy and excited, proud.

They love coming to school every day.

Their language respected, their culture ,their families are respected. Actually give kids a sense of wellbeing. What their kids are getting is satisfaction that they can actually do both ways. The more confident, the more happy they are, the more they learn - it's as simple as that.

End of transcript.

Building the capability of teachers through the English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) Hub

A national online professional development resource helping teachers provide high quality education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. It focuses on students who have first languages other than Standard Australian English (SAE) and are learning SAE as an additional language or dialect.

Building the capability of teachers through the (EAL/D) Hub video transcript

EAL/D stands for English as an Additional Language or Dialect. The EAL/D hub is an online course, it's 29 e-books that include videos, readings and interactive activities. It's to make schools more inclusive and responsive to Aboriginal learners. 

The EAL/D hub is a series of modules and online booklets that you work through to give you a better understanding of the cultural diversity and some of the complexities that our Aboriginal students face in their learning and being able to function with standard Australian English when it isn't actually their home language.

For a lot of our kids there is a process where they have to translate what the teachers said in standard Australian English into Aboriginal English in their head, then figure out the answer and then translate it back from Aboriginal English to standard Australian English to deliver that feedback back to the teacher. Making the teachers aware of this process they then allow time for students to be able to translate within themselves.

Knowing about Aboriginal English has actually helped me quite a fair bit. I grew up in a small country town around the indigenous culture and I wasn't aware about Aboriginal English until I completed the e-books through the hub.

Often teachers may perceive the language that Aboriginal learners use in classroom as a deficit, or perhaps something that's incorrect and they like to correct their grammar or correct their vocabulary. When teachers are aware that students are speaking a different dialect they stop doing that and instead compare. This is how you say it in this dialect, this is how we need to say it for this particular learning area, to do this particular assignment.

The a-ha moment through the hub would be relationships are paramount with families and students, and if you have a good relationship with students, it's generally followed through to their parents and families as well.

I think the most important thing is that using the EAL/D hub resources is that you build the kids prior knowledge. Whereas when I first started teaching that probably wouldn't have been something that I had as a priority. The importance of modelling is that you are showing the students what it is that you know you are looking for, what the expectation is, so by modelling it and thinking out loud they're actually seeing it in action.

My name is Alira and I'm from Wirangu, Kokatha and Mirning. So it's got all the language groups up there from like Australia and we have like a picture of us and where we're from in the language groups.

One of the things that I like about going, coming to school is that I can go to school knowing that I'll be safe and that I have friends and teachers that respect me and that I can respect them.

At Port Lincoln Primary School we have an indigenous t-shirt that was designed by combining students artwork. It is a shirt that is worn with pride by students and staff. We do an amazing job at this school of supporting our indigenous students. Staff meetings with Becky giving us insight into more cultural awareness. We have the handbook that they created.

We created a space where the teachers could ask us anything Aboriginal basically. I really wanted them to feel comfortable enough to ask the questions that they would not dare to ask. So we had a segment at the end of each meeting called 'You can't ask Becky that'. I think it did relieve a lot of that anxiety that teachers had around teaching Aboriginal content. That part has a lot to do with our success across the school as well because our ABED team is now approachable in any format.

Changes from implementing the hub, I have noticed student engagement, student attendance and the willingness to learn and want to do better.

I currently have 42% indigenous students in my class. The growth since the start of the year in their writing levels has been outstanding.  We've had one particular student who went up 4 levels, which is 4years, but the majority of them have grown at least 12 months since the start of the year.

I've seen what the books are capable of, we've only done the first few books with our whole staff and already have implemented so much change.

I think what teachers need to realise is that it is a big commitment, but it will make a huge difference to your practice.

What does education look like for Aboriginal kids in the future is a place where there is no gap. There is no difference between a non-Aboriginal student and an Aboriginal student. That is my, I'm gonna cry actually, but that is my passion, that's why I work in education. That's what I want in the future is for every Aboriginal student to be able to not have those gaps in their learning.

End of transcript.

Inspiring the next generation of STEM innovators through the STEM Aboriginal Learner Congress

Respecting 60,000+ years of Aboriginal ways of knowing to inspire the next generation of future Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) innovators and problem solvers. A congress that is owned, co-designed and run by Aboriginal students.

STEM Aboriginal Learner Congress video transcript

I believe Indigenous knowledge is kind of profound impact on STEM, particularly in areas like Environmental Management. A lot of these traditions Indigenous people carried throughout you know 60,000 years can really be applied now to the modern day to help solve a lot of the issues that we're facing now. So my name is Pantju Nam I'm a Kaurna Narungga. I've been living in Adelaide all my life and currently studying at the University of Adelaide doing a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and mathematics and computer science. STEM has impacted my life by giving me a lot of opportunities to work, meet a lot of great people and travel to great places and also be involved with a lot of projects.

YASTSA is Young Aboriginal STEM Thinkers of South Australia and it's the basis of this whole congress. Developing students’ capacity and understanding around STEM and developing students as leaders so that they can learn about Aboriginal connections to STEM and how that relates to them.

Students that are involved in YASTSA have amazing opportunities opened up to them through a STEM lens by being exposed to industry and prominent Aboriginal people in the STEM field it actually gives them an opportunity to see themselves walking that pathway, a legitimate pathway.

By linking Aboriginal traditions and culture and investigating how things have been done in the past and connecting that to the kids learning makes it very relevant for them. That's probably the key, that the kids want to see relevancy.

With our workshop it's called 'From plant to plate' and we're basically just showing like old ways that Aboriginal people used to like get plants and used to like grind them and just making them into like edible things or into medicine.

One of the things that mainly helped was learning about agriculture that actually worked within the natural element of nature.

It's an opportunity for students, students to stand up and make this their own, make these STEM topics their own and present it to other students.

We sort of noticed a pattern in the earlier years Aboriginal students performed quite well in STEM related areas, so your maths and sciences, and then when they sort of hit middle school that seemed to drop off. We wanted to find some type of avenue for these students to be able to connect to the STEM world.

So I guess the important part culturally for our students is also just coming together, they're coming to a place where they're all quite similar and have similar interests, so just seeing their connection and their confidence build throughout you know them days, is really something special to watch.

This bit, the binary code, it's it was designed by me and I'm glad it made it, but if it if you translate it, it spells out Aboriginal.

The congress definitely opens up a lot of them conversations like, okay this is a path I sort of had in mind but after attending the congress they're thinking of other avenues and not restricted to one career path. So I think it's you know, anything's possible.

When I grow up, I kind of want to become like a Forensic Scientist and that uses a lot of STEM for it and I'd never really wanted to be that until I started getting into STEM.

What excites me about my future is being able to have the opportunity to do STEM, not just like regular jobs like working at fast food restaurants, like actually making chemicals and exploring all the different sides of STEM.

When I'm older, I think just helping like inspire kids to do what they feel like and just to know that they can do it, and that there's other people out there that are doing it.

Now is the time in our program where you will be listening to a spotlight on STEM presenter.

The Aboriginal learners might want to go work in the mining industry, often Aboriginal people are asked to be Cultural Consultants, but we want our Aboriginal learners to be Engineers, you know in these mining companies or have the choice or do both.

So what I hope the students and the teachers as well can bring back from this congress to the classrooms is that, an understanding that STEM and Indigenous knowledges aren't these 2 separate worlds and they in fact exist together.

Whether it's STEM related or Aboriginal related or not at the end of the day these students have grown into these amazing leaders and they actually believe that self-worth and confidence which is all you want for your students really any way to be successful.

End of transcript.

Future pathways with South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA)

SAASTA gives Aboriginal students the skills, opportunities and confidence to dream, believe and achieve in the areas of education, employment, healthy living, sport and connection to culture.

Future Pathways with South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA) video transcript

Through SAASTA I've had so many opportunities to learn from Elders, that I otherwise wouldn't get to talk to maybe, and to participate in cultural practices that have been going on for so many years, which I wouldn't have the chance to do just through mainstream school.

SAASTA stands for the South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy. It sits within the Department for Education in South Australia and it's an education program for Aboriginal learners from years 7 to 12. So I'm Tara, I'm Ngarrindjeri, and I'm a teacher as part of the SAASTA program. SAASTA sees itself as a curriculum program that creates opportunities for Aboriginal students to participate in a culturally responsive and safe curriculum that's connected to developing themselves as Aboriginal people and creating the next generation of leaders.

My name is Tashani, my mobs are Ngarrindjeri, Noongar Wongi Yamatji and Kokatha from the lower Murray regions, Western Australia and the far west coast of South Australia. Since I've joined SAASTA my connection to community and culture has changed through my exposure to more role models, I'm able to see what other people are doing in their communities and how they're helping to make change.

SAASTA has 3 key programs, we have the middle school program which is called Connect for students in years 7 to 9, we have 21 school-based academies which has about 500 students across South Australia participating in it each year, and then we have 4 specialist academies which is netball, basketball, football which is soccer and STEM.

SAASTA Connect is a really important program in the middle years because students need to develop those learning behaviours that are going to see them be successful all the way through to achieving their SACE in year 12. SAASTA's program is built on key performance indicators where we have high expectations of our students in the areas of attendance, behaviour and academic performance. And so in those middle years we're coaching students around what they need to be showing to be successful in their education. The SAASTA program in year 10, 11 and 12 is key to achieving SACE success because students feel empowered with their learning. They're learning about content that's really important to them, they're driving their education.

My name is Courtney Bouzikos and I'm Ngarrindjeri. I'm currently studying a bachelor of secondary education and after finishing this degree I really want to work in Aboriginal education. Looking back on the SAASTA program it means I guess, change as well as opportunity because Aboriginal people have the chance to learn from one another. I know that my family didn't have that opportunity and I'm the first generation in my family to have that opportunity.

I have certificate 3s in fitness and hospitality and undergone studying stage 2 subjects such as workplace practices and Aboriginal studies.

I think the best part about being in SAASTA was having a voice because throughout primary school it wasn't often that you would learn about Aboriginal people, Aboriginal voice and I didn't really understand what it meant to be Aboriginal. Through being in SAASTA I've been selected as part of the leadership group for the Aboriginal netball academy and hopefully when I go back to school, other students can view me as a role model and a leader and hopefully I can inspire them to continue their education.

Having strong role models for our young people is super important. You can't be what you can't see. We want to have staff who really connected to the Aboriginal community, and we also want to have people who have made a difference in the lives of Aboriginal people involved in the programs. That Aboriginal voice is really, really important for Aboriginal students to have as part of their learning journey. 

End of transcript.

Future pathways with Workabout Centre

Workabout Centre provides an innovative, integrated model for connecting Aboriginal young people with successful post-school pathways to employment, higher education and further training.

Future Pathways with with Workabout Centre video transcript

The Workabout Centre is a school-to-work transition program for Aboriginal high school students all across South Australia. So we support transitioning into further training, employment or higher education. SAASTA and Workabout Centre are the 2 Aboriginal engagement programs in the Department for Education, over the past few years we've really increased our collaboration together. We visit their specialist academies and deliver work readiness skills with the students, support any of their students with transition and then obviously the flagship collaboration is the ACE Program, the Aboriginal Career Exploration program.

We're here with Bailey today at Sprout. He's one of our success stories last year, went through the ACE program and was offered a work experience opportunity as part of the immersion week, and now is kind of a full circle moment because now we'll be supporting the students that are coming behind him.

So my name's Bailey I am in the middle of a school-based apprenticeship, and my mob is Arabana, from I believe it's around Port Augusta. The Workabout Centre was quite helpful for me to be honest, so before I started it at the start of year 10, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do, I was tossing up between a few options, and then I came to Sprout and I did the cooking class with Callum and the team and ended up falling in love with cooking.

So the Workabout Centre works with basically any Aboriginal high school student that's enrolled in a state school, whether they're flexible learning, whether they're in SAASTA or not, that's basically our only eligibility criteria. The Workabout Centre supports students to find meaningful employment by first understanding that every student is individual and has their own pathways, and interests and skills.

The ACE program it gave me more of an insight to how the job was going to be. The apprenticeship also gives you SACE points to help you finish your SACE, it may not necessarily be in the time frame at school, but you will get it eventually.

Range of services that the Workabout Centre offer are really, really broad, so it can be supporting a student to create a resume, it can be helping them to identify apprenticeships, traineeships or work experience opportunities. It can be advocating with the school to for them to have opportunities in VET. It's our job to kind of facilitate that and make it happen.

At school I started hating it to be honest, I was getting in trouble, all things like that, and then I joined SAASTA at the start of year 10 and I found out about the ACE program and it just made me enjoy school again. I made so many new friendships.

We have students that are interested in hospitality, we have students that are really into the trades, there's students that are interested in education, nursing it's a really, really broad-ranging I guess area, students don't feel like they're pigeonholed into certain industry areas. It's just our job to make sure that all those opportunities are available to them.

Doing the apprenticeship, it kind of gives you a direct route into your career after school. So you can transition from a school-based apprenticeship into a full-time apprenticeship, become a fully qualified chef and then you can eventually maybe own your own restaurant or run a kitchen.

They get hands-on experience for the entire week with industry professionals and I think that kind of experience is unmatched.

Yeah I've always enjoyed cooking but I never realized I had a passion for it, until I started doing the ACE block and I got to try and see what it was like.

End of transcript.

About the Aboriginal Education Strategy

The Aboriginal Education Strategy (PDF 6.7MB) was released in December 2018 to support Aboriginal students in reaching their full potential.

By nurturing strong foundations in the early years, building on both individual and shared strengths to sustain excellence, valuing wellbeing and enabling self-determined pathways to success:

'The AES will ensure our students not only survive but thrive academically, culturally and socially throughout their learning journey.'
–  Professor Peter Buckskin, chairperson of the South Australian Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Council (SAAETCC).

The strategy is recognition of the importance of reconciliation, and is underpinned by the development of a culturally responsive workforce within the department.

Focus of the strategy

The strategy focuses on empowering Aboriginal students as proud and confident learners on their paths from birth through to beyond school.  

The strategy is:

  • increasing opportunities for children and young people across South Australia to engage with Aboriginal languages
  • creating learning environments that respond to students’ cultural needs
  • developing detailed individual learning plans for Aboriginal learners at our schools.

Educators, leaders and support services continue to implement the strategy at the local level, regularly communicating and collaborating on progress with families and communities.

Strategy goals and how we're supporting it

See the Aboriginal Education Strategy (PDF 6.7MB) to learn about our goals and objectives.

To support the strategy we have:

  • developed the Aboriginal Learner Achievement Leaders’ resources (ALALR) to support leaders in focussing on Aboriginal learners, as part of school improvement planning
  • established an expert advisory panel to provide regular input into the implementation of the strategy.

We're also supporting the strategy by:

  • building a strong Aboriginal workforce, whose development is supported and who have confidence in their career opportunities – being implemented through the Aboriginal Workforce Plan 2021 to 2031 (PDF 517KB)
  • implementing a Culturally Responsive Framework (PDF 6.7MB). This outlines how every employee can contribute to creating culturally safe and inclusive environments where Aboriginal people can work, learn and thrive. The framework was developed following extensive consultation during 2021.

Updates about how our goals are developing

Goal 1 – Aboriginal children develop foundations for success in the early years

Evaluation of Learning Together programs

We're evaluating the Learning Together program. We will use the evidence to invest in programs aimed at engaging children in their learning and developing literacy skills, with collaboration between families and schools.

Parent support workshops

We worked with Aboriginal communities to develop a pilot program to start parent support workshops. This project is complete and managed by the Department of Human Services.

Increasing preschool access and participation by Aboriginal children

We will Identify and trial contemporary approaches to service delivery and practice in a proportionate representation of preschools – including those delivered in an integrated setting. This will increase preschool access and participation by Aboriginal children.

Goal 2 – Aboriginal children and young people excel at school

Aboriginal Learner Achievement Leaders’ resource (ALALR )

ALALR was released in 2019 to complement the school improvement planning process and raise the prominence of Aboriginal students in schools’ improvement planning. Implementation in 2022 aims to improve literacy and numeracy achievement of Aboriginal students. The ALALR will do this by: 

  • Creating the Targeted Learner Achievement Implementation Team to work strategically with education directors and local education teams (LETs) in varied and contextualized ways and implement a coherent, statewide approach.
  • Establishing and implementing tailored supports into identified schools to deepen and embed the ALALR – quality assurance, networks of shared practice, resources for effective practice and monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
  • Establishing a program of professional learning for LETs, Aboriginal education officers, school leaders and teachers to build confidence and guide practical effective practice of the ALALR.

One Plan

One Plan promotes continuity of learning and helps with positive transition through a personalised learning approach and plan. This supports Aboriginal learners to engage and achieve their full potential.

In December 2021, 7949 Aboriginal learners had a One Plan. 81% of these plans were recorded on the online module and the remaining on the interim template. For Anangu schools, 65% of priority students had One Plans.

Aims for 2022 include increased use of One Plans to support student achievement and transitions through engagement and discussion with schools, families and Aboriginal children and young people.

Teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander English as an additional language or dialect (EALD) development hub

We continue to implement and grow uptake in the online 'EAL/D Hub'. The hub is designed to help teachers provide high-quality education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners who learn English as an additional language or dialect.

Watch the case study video from Port Augusta Secondary School to learn about the benefits of the EAL/D Hub for students and teachers:

High school case study video transcript

Aboriginal Education Strategy EAL/D Hub.

Angela Hancock, Aboriginal Education Director and Assistant Principal, Port Augusta Secondary School: Aboriginal English is the language some of the Aboriginal students here at Port Augusta Secondary School use. It is English, but there's a lot also of Aboriginal terms, words within their speaking vocab. Some of the students then transfer it to when they write. It's different from Standard Australian English. So students need to be able to code switch, like when they're with their friends or their family, and then when they come to school, being able to change over to Standard Australian English when they're writing.

Some of the struggles that the students had were they were coming into Port Augusta Secondary School with low level literacy, then had trouble accessing the curriculum at year 8. We introduced also two EAL/D classes this year, did a trial last year but introduced formally for year 8 students. So it's all about improvements for the students and them achieving. The EAL/D Hub is implemented in a few ways throughout the school.

The school services officers have actually been invited to do the modules. So they're working with lots of Aboriginal students within the school. So it's directly relating to the work that they do. That's one aspect. The second is the Aboriginal secondary education transition officers worked with the coach and they worked through the first eight modules, which have a big Aboriginal focus.

Sarada Surampudi, EAL/D Hub Coach, Port Augusta Secondary School: At Port Augusta Secondary School, the leadership has agreed to go on with the EAL/D Hub online with a team of teachers, and the teachers do their e-books in their own time. And I support them in facilitating the professional learning community. So each time we have the professional learning community, the teachers bring in a lot of expertise and we share around, and reflect around the key messages of that particular e-book. And I design an activity which can be transferred into the learning into the school context.

Ian Gentle, Aboriginal Secondary Education Transition Officer, Port Augusta Secondary School: Aboriginal English as a dialect to me is something that I've grown up with here in Port Augusta. Aboriginal English is used all over Australia and as different Aboriginal groups we use different words from the English dictionary to pronounce different words or meanings depending on where you are in the country. But I feel that, yeah growing up here in Port Augusta, you will use very similar words, you'd hear it throughout the community. Some people will come from other communities also into Port Augusta. And you'd hear different dialects from different places using Aboriginal English. So some of the simple ones is like using the word deadly as something that is good, awesome.

Angie Potter, EAL/D Class Teacher, Port Augusta Secondary School: What changed for me in the classroom is having those open, frank conversations with the kids about speaking different languages. So they haven't really, I don't think they have acknowledged before that they speak a different language. So we're having those conversations, they're a lot more open to what we're learning in the class. They know that they're not speaking English wrong, they're just speaking a different type of English. So for them having those conversations and learning about Aboriginal English, so they've definitely been open to more skills and how they can apply what we've been doing in our classroom into their other classes, because it's not always a conversation that they've had and they probably never had that conversation before.

So it's been really helpful for my teaching, for them to acknowledge that, for me to acknowledge it, to give them that validation that they're speaking a real language and then working on how we can progress their Standard Australian English. I've seen a positive impact on teacher capacity by doing or teachers doing the EAL/D Hub online, using the capability framework, which is part of the EAL/D Hub modules, is there's opportunity through the learning journals and the pre-assessment and the post-assessment.

Sarada Surampudi, EAL/D Hub Coach, Port Augusta Secondary School: It's a tool that you can use to improve your teaching practice or what you're doing in class. So it directly relates back to what the teachers are doing with students within their classes. The difference I have seen in teachers’ practice in the classroom is massive, as in understanding the culture of the school, especially our Aboriginal students, where they come from and what language they use in day-to-day life. And how can we transform that into Standard Australian English.

Angie Potter, EAL/D Teacher, Port Augusta Secondary School: Having the action tasks and having our little community to do with the EAL/D Hub has been really beneficial. I only started the hub this year and we've had it at our school for two years. So I came into that community where we've been talking about the different e-books and the different activities, and like what impacts they're having around all different subjects. So for me, I'm teaching English and I already kind of teach those skills, not in as much detail, but I've already been teaching them in the past. So to be able to see how they're applying in different subjects around the school and how different teachers are approaching it, it's really helpful to have those conversations and to really think about how we can help our students who don't have a high level of Standard Australian English, and how we can help them progress in the classes all over the school, not just in my single class.

Ian Gentle, Aboriginal Secondary Education Transition Officer, Port Augusta Secondary School: So the induction resource that I helped create alongside with the other ACETOs here at PASS, is something very beneficial, I think, to be able to reach out to other staffing members, if they're unsure about what the program is about or how it's going to benefit them or the students and the wider community. I feel that the introduction is an easy way for them to sit down and read it in their own time, rather than being more in their face about saying we have to get on board about it, but it's more of a soft approach. Start those small conversations to try and change their mindset on making changes within themselves and how they could benefit from using the EAL/D hub to better communicate with students.

Angie Potter, EAL/D Teacher, Port Augusta Secondary School: So the advice I would give to a school or a teacher considering using the EAL/D Hub is to really take it seriously and take it on board. So it's really beneficial. It made me think about the language I use in my classroom and how a lot of students wouldn't be able to access that kind of language to take on the hub and to see how it's actually going to benefit them in the classroom. Because I feel that to be able to teach somebody from a different culture, you first have to understand their culture.

Ian Gentle, Aboriginal Secondary Education Transition Officer, Port Augusta Secondary School: And it's really hard because there's a lot of say like issues behind the scenes that may happen. So even though it's not just EAL/D itself, like with the Aboriginal English and learning Standard Australian English, there's a lot more stuff embedded in Aboriginal culture that people do need to be aware of because a lot of things that might just come off and seem like behaviour management stuff, but really it is that deeper stuff that is happening. So yeah, for teaching staff or just people in general, I believe that if we're going to teach anything, we need to have a better understanding of their culture. And I think cultural awareness in any form is something that will benefit everybody and anybody.

Angela Hancock, Aboriginal Education Director and Assistant Principal, Port Augusta Secondary School: The thing I've noticed is that students are more engaged with their learning and more involved. They see themselves as a learner. The teachers that are involved with the EAL/D classes, as well as the modules are explicitly teaching the different content and going back to the students. So students are making improvements in different areas of the curriculum as well. And so it's having a flow on effect, not just in literacy as in English, but also in maths, science and the other curriculum areas. And also recognising that standard Australian English is used in schools, they can code switch. They can speak their own language, and they're both very valuable and important.

End of transcript.

Strengthening Aboriginal languages and literacy in non-Anangu schools

We're expanding existing programs to increase opportunities for children and young people to engage with Aboriginal languages and culture through observation and experience. We are committed to building and growing our partnerships with Aboriginal language communities in South Australia for the benefit of all students in our schools.

Supporting Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara language and culture in Anangu schools

We're increasing the resources, professional learning, support and pathways for Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara language and culture. This project provides opportunities for Aṉangu teachers to build on their skills and help identify ways to integrate the Australian Curriculum through Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara language.

For non-Aṉangu teachers this project provides opportunities to engage in Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara language and culture learning. Teachers continue to develop their skills to work alongside Aṉangu teachers to deliver the Australian Curriculum and SACE. This gives teachers strategies to transfer literacy skills from students’ first languages to Standard Australian English.

Aboriginal contexts in the Australian curriculum

The curriculum development team is working with South Australian Aboriginal communities, First Nations Educators and cultural institutions to embed Aboriginal contexts in units of work across all curriculum areas as appropriate and where it enriches the learning. This work will:

  • Produce high quality resources embedding Aboriginal contexts into curriculum units of work.
  • Support Aboriginal students’ participation and achievement by ensuring that Aboriginal students see themselves, their identity and their cultures reflected in the curriculum.
  • Support all students and teachers to develop an understanding, awareness and respect for Aboriginal histories and cultures.

South Australian Aboriginal contexts in science initiative

Linked to the curriculum work is the SA Aboriginal Contexts in Science Initiative. For this initiative, Curriculum Development partnered with South Australian Aboriginal Nations to embed Aboriginal knowledges and ways of knowing into the South Australian Science Curriculum. These resources support science teachers with background information to embed culturally appropriate and scientifically rigorous learning.

Goal 3 – Aboriginal young people on pathways to success

Employment and traineeship pathways

We're strengthening collaboration within our department to better support employment and traineeship pathways for Aboriginal students. We're developing student entry points into the workforce while at school.

Workabout expansion

We have expanded the Workabout Centre program to make sure Aboriginal students can use their skills to successfully transition from study to employment, training, or further education.

SAASTA expansion

We increased the number of South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academies (SAASTA) from 16 to 21 to give greater access for Aboriginal students across South Australia. The expansion included the Aboriginal Women’s AFLW Academy, Aboriginal Basketball Academy and STEM Academy.

Development of the strategy

The strategy was designed in partnership with Professor Peter Buckskin, chairperson of the South Australian Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Council (SAAETCC) and informed by consultation with Aboriginal students, families, communities and our workforce.

Consultation activities included:

  • face to face consultation sessions for families, parents, carers and the community held across 18 metro and country South Australian locations
  • an online survey, YourSAy page and discussion board, developed by the South Australian Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Council (SAAETCC)
  • a community forum on the APY lands held in conjunction with the Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee (PYEC) 
  • a student forum for Aboriginal secondary school students 
  • an online survey for Aboriginal primary and secondary school students to provide input
  • sessions for staff, other government and non-government agencies, expert groups and committees were held in both metro and some country SA locations. 

What this means for children and young people

Aboriginal children and young people are supported through:

  • responsive learning environments that are inclusive of their cultural needs
  • more confident and supported educators who engage with their families
  • increased access to learning and development programs
  • increased engagement with Aboriginal cultures and language programs
  • individualised learning plans that identify personalised support needed to participate
  • achieving in education and pathways to further education and employment.

What this means for families and communities

Aboriginal families and communities are:

  • active participants in their child’s development through contributions to individualised learning plans
  • having input and participation across our services, including within governance structures 
  • having opportunities to engage in the teaching and delivery of Aboriginal cultural knowledge and languages within education settings.

Read more on the above in thekey initiatives document (PDF 1.6MB).

Aboriginal Education Directorate

Phone: 8226 4391
Email: education.aboriginalservices [at] sa.gov.au