Policy last updated
15 June 2020
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education
The purpose of this policy is to support schools in providing quality and meaningful education to Koorie students, where Koorie students engage fully in their schooling years, and gain the knowledge and skills to excel at year 12 or its equivalent.
A note on terminology used
The term Koorie is used inclusively and refers to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria. The Department of Education and the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI), use the term throughout education documentation.
Koorie is a contemporary collective group term and may not be familiar to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As such, it is important to be respectful of how individual students, their families and community refer to themselves, and use this to guide the language used when referring to individuals or Community.
Terms such as Aboriginal, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous and First Nations Peoples are also commonly used in teaching and learning resources and practice guidance.
Schools are expected to:
- work in partnership with the local Koorie community to develop place-based approaches to improving student outcomes
- support the development of high expectations and individualised learning for Koorie students
- ensure all Koorie students have an individual education plan
- create a learning environment for all students that acknowledges, respects and values Koorie cultures and identities
- view success for their Koorie students as core business.
Consistent with the principle of self-determination, Marrung: Aboriginal Education Plan 2016 to (Marrung) was developed in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI). Strong partnerships with the Koorie community will be the foundation for achieving outcomes for Koorie students in Victoria.
Programs and reforms
Programs and actions under Marrung include:
- extending the Early Years Koorie Literacy and Numeracy to Koorie students not meeting year 3 reading and numeracy benchmarks in years 4, 5 and 6
- working with schools with high Koorie absences and sharing effective practice
- reviewing the Koorie Academy of Excellence and exploring opportunities to roll out an expanded model across the 4 Department regions
- supporting schools to use Individual Education Plans, including trialling Koorie student and family support plans through the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO)
- undertaking research to identify factors that contribute to academic achievement (including higher NAPLAN and ATAR score) and implement supporting strategies
- Marrung Education Scholarships for high achieving Aboriginal students studying years 11 and 12 in government schools.
Koorie Education Workforce
The Koorie Education Workforce assist early years services and schools by providing guidance to enhance cultural inclusion practices, and to support the engagement, attendance, wellbeing and achievement of Koorie learners.
Koorie Education Managers (KEMs)
In Victoria there are four Koorie Education Managers, one in each region, who work collaboratively to ensure delivery of consistently high quality and culturally inclusive practices across education settings for all learners. KEMs lead cohesive, consistent and strategic implementation of Koorie Education priorities and provide programmatic and cross portfolio oversight and expertise in their region supporting learners from 0-18 years.
The KEM supports contextually informed and evidence based practice to be embedded, and facilitates constructive relationships and collaborative networks through effective consultation, governance and in partnership with Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups and other community agencies, government departments and local communities to support improved student learning outcomes for all Koorie learners.
Koorie Education Coordinators (KECs)
Koorie Education Coordinators lead consistent area-based coordination and provision of support to early years services and schools from the regional Koorie Education Workforce through multi-disciplinary area teams. Early years’ service providers, schools, parents and community can obtain assistance with Koorie cultural inclusion, Koorie education guidance and support through their region by contacting the KEC with enquiries.
The KEC is able to arrange for a Koorie Engagement Support Officer (KESO) to work with early year’s services and schools providing guidance to enhance cultural inclusion practices, and to support the engagement, attendance and wellbeing of Koorie learners. KECs provide high level expertise to lead the implementation of education initiatives, Koorie specific programs and inclusive practices that privilege engagement with Koorie community and support parent/carer partnerships in education.
Koorie Engagement Support Officer (KESOs)
KESOs are area based professionals who are members of the local Aboriginal community with an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the histories. KESOs provide advice to schools about culturally inclusive learning environments, and the co-ordination of services to facilitate improved engagement of Koorie children and young people.
KESOs play an integral role to engage families, communities, education and service providers to facilitate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners to participate fully in education. They support all learning settings to transition students and families across all learning stages where appropriate: into early years, primary, secondary and further education.
Other initiatives to support the learning, development and educational outcomes of Koorie learners include:
- Catch Up funding
- Education Justice
- Team Around the Learner
- School-wide positive behaviour support
- Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support (secondary specific additional teaching support)
- LOOKOUT Education Support
- The Navigator Program may also be relevant for individual learners dependent upon their context
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to Resources tab.
Koorie Cultural inclusion is a system-wide shared responsibility at all levels of our Department. In early years settings and schools, it is an important part of deepening learners' knowledge and understanding of their world, their country, their community and identity.
The Koorie Cultural Inclusion Practice Notes Resource was developed to facilitate reflection on existing Koorie cultural inclusion practices within schools – what it looks like at a whole school and classroom level. This resource provides examples of ways in which educators can enhance their practice to cultivate a culturally supportive and responsive learning environment in which Australia's First Nations Peoples contributions are visible and celebrated. It includes a school-based case study, teacher tips and leadership guidance that expands on Professional Practice Note 19 published in the teaching and learning professional practice suite in July 2019.
Koorie Cultural Inclusion Consolidated Practice
This professional practice note supports teachers and school leaders to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural inclusion, as an enabling foundation for learning in all Victorian Government schools.
Professional practice note 19: Koorie cultural
Other resources for educators
- Koorie teaching — Resources for teachers covering topics such as protocols for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and teaching Aboriginal languages.
- contains various education materials, including Koorie English
- Careers and further
- Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups
Programs and reforms
- Early Years Koorie Literacy and Numeracy
- Marrung education
- Cultural Understanding and Safety Training (staff login required)
- LOOKOUT education support
Further department support
Reviewed 26 March 2020