Reconciliation Australia has identified schools as one of the key settings to enhance and develop positive relationships in the community. The Reconciliation Australia schools program aims to assist schools to extend positive classroom practices into the school community through actions that reflect Reconciliation Australia’s vision.
As schools know, whole school change is best achieved when school curriculum, school culture and school community are addressed through a co-ordinated approach. In 2012, Reconciliation Australia sought input from a variety of government and non-government education organisations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative bodies and other education experts.
Throughout 2013, Reconciliation Australia will be piloting and launching various aspects of the schools program and expect a full program launch to occur in 2014. In the meantime, please use the resources below to start taking action in your school. You can also visit the School Resources section for further information.
If you have any general feedback or suggestions for other nationally appropriate resources
Reconciliation Australia is designing a program targeted at Australian schools and teachers. It is expected that the program will include:
- a school-specific model for reconciliation action;
- curriculum implementation assistance for teachers in teaching the new Australian Curriculum (specifically addressing the cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures);
- professional learning for teachers (specifically addressing Australian Professional Standard 2.4);
- high quality, appropriate school-based activities preceding and following days of national significance;
- resources/tools for schools to develop and/or maintain long-term and meaningful relationships with their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Reconciliation Action Plans
Reconciliation Australia is developing a new, school-specific model for schools to organise and register their reconciliation actions. This new model will be launched in 2014. The new model will use the existing framework of relationships, respect and opportunities but the process for schools to register their actions with Reconciliation Australia will change. While this new model is being developed, Reconciliation Australia encourages schools to register their interest in developing an Action Plan. We will send you the former Reconciliation Action Plan template and ask you a few simple questions relating to it’s appropriateness in the school setting.
By the end of 2016, all schools in Australia will be teaching the same content in English, Maths, Science and History. Across these four subjects are three cross-curriculum priorities, one of which requires—for the first time in many cases—Australian primary and secondary schools to engage in teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This priority is divided across a framework of Country/Place, Culture and People. For each cross-curriculum priority, a set of organising ideas will reflect the essential knowledge, understandings and skills required to guide teachers. Reconciliation Australia is developing and collaborating on resources to address this new Curriculum area.
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
Australia now has a consistent set of standards which outline what teachers should know and be able to do. Of particular interest to Reconciliation Australia are two focus areas:
- Focus area 1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
- Focus area 2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Reconciliation Australia is developing a professional learning program to assist teachers to engage in these new professional standards.