Policy Number: TL201503
Updated: November 2018
“This policy is recognition of the fact that Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the custodians of the lands upon which our schools stand. We pay our respects to Elders, past, present and future. SCS is committed to honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual connections and the rich contribution they bring to our schools. Along with governments across Australia, we affirm the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to maintain languages and cultures and acknowledge their deep cultural associations with the land and water.”
Education Council, 2015 page i
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the original inhabitants of Australia. SCS embrace the richness and diversity which exists within the Aboriginal nations of Australia. Catholic education is committed to maximising the learning opportunities for Aboriginal people.
Catholic school communities have a responsibility to create an understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal people, their histories, cultures and spirituality. Catholic schools play an important role in the formation of their students to develop as active and contributing members of Australian society.
“There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning”
1 Corinthians 14:10
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are confident and strong learners, empowered to succeed and shape their own future and supported to embrace their culture and identity as Australia’s First Nations peoples in the context of the Catholic faith.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education in our Catholic schools includes both the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and the provision of a curriculum which authentically incorporates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture.
SCS is committed to improving the educational outcomes and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students so that they excel and achieve in every aspect of their education.
In accordance with Catholic Church teaching, SCS acknowledges that parents are the primary educators of their children.
Essential to the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is the development of quality partnerships with their families.
SCS is committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education in an environment which promotes a sense of belonging, caring and sharing in which children have opportunities to develop physically, academically, socially and spiritually.
SCS is committed to celebrating and promoting awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and through the implementation of the NSW BOSTES cross curriculum priority for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.
All schools will develop a school Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education plan in line with the SCS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategic Plan 2014-18.
SCS will welcome and encourage the enrolment in Catholic schools of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students within the context of the Enrolment Policy for Systemic Catholic Schools.
Each school will consider cultural competence and safety in establishing quality partnerships between education sectors, local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other stakeholders.
Each school will develop, implement and monitor a Personalised Learning Plan for each Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander student.
Responsibility of Sydney Catholic Schools Office:
Work towards quality partnerships and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities
Support education that is culturally responsive
Promote understandings of Aboriginal spirituality and appropriate cultural protocols
Promote and maintain high expectations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and monitor educational success
Increase employment opportunities within education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Promote and support the work of the Archdiocesan Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee.
Responsibility of Principal:
Implement this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy
Develop a school Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education plan
Ensure that all members of the school community are educated with regards to this policy
Implement the NSW BOSTES cross curriculum priority for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
Develop quality partnerships with the families of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
Support the cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by respecting and valuing the cultural background and identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
Responsibility of Parents and Guardians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students:
Support high expectations for their children
Develop partnerships with their schools
Support the development of positive relationships within the schools and the wider communities.
Requires the ability to ‘see’ issues and experiences from another person’s perspective and to know oneself in a cultural context, that is, to understand oneself as a cultural being.
An environment that makes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel welcome, supported and respected.
Quality partnerships are encouraged between education sectors and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other stakeholders. These partnerships are characterised by listening and responding, strong accountability and active engagement, collaborative information sharing and informed decision-making.
Related policies and SCS Documents
- Enrolment Policy for Systemic Catholic Schools
- Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney
- New Horizons: Inspiring Spirits and Minds
- Statement on Authentic Learning in Sydney Archdiocesan schools
- Sydney Catholic Schools Parent Charter
- SCS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategic Plan 2014 – 2018
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy 2015
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010-2014
- Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians 2008
- CCSP choosing a Catholic school for Your Child, Council of Catholic Schools Parents NSW/ACT
- ‘Educating for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation’, a Statement by the National Catholic Education Commission, November 1998.
- ‘Working with Aboriginal Communities’revised edition a Guide to Community Consultation and Protocols, Board of Studies NSW, 2008
- Address given by His Holiness Pope John Paul II at the Meeting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at Alice Springs, November 1986
- Commonwealth definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Policy number: TL201501-1.2
Last modified July 2017
This policy supersedes all previous policies relating to matters contained therein. In so much as any aspect of this policy may appear to be in conflict with another Archdiocesan system or school-based policy, then precedence is to be given to this policy.
Review by: December 2017
Approved by Leadership Team: 19 November 2015
Endorsed by SACS Board:2 December 2015
Approved by Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools: 3 December 2015
Commencement Date: 1 January 2016