Partnering with key stakeholders to improve outcomes and deliver better services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and students.
The Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group (KYLAG) was established in Mossman to collaborate with and advise Mossman State School on the Kuku Yalanji language program. This compact between the school and community acknowledges the expertise and knowledge of the Kuku Yalanji people and the important role they play in the school.
The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Training Advisory Committee (QATSIETAC) continued to provide advice to the Queensland Government on education and training matters related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.
The Department of Education's new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Framework aims to enhance engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. It was co-designed with the QATSIETAC and will be implemented in schools, classrooms and offices across the state.
Across eight remote and discrete Queensland state schools, 194 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students received therapy to address their learning, social and developmental needs through the Be Well Learn Well program in partnership with CheckUP, Gidgee Healing and the Apunipima Cape York Health Council.
The department commenced engagement with Cape York remote and discrete communities and schools to strengthen educational decision-making. A Cape York School and Community Collaboration Connect Session was held in Cairns, attended by 33 participants including Principals, Mayors and Community Representatives. This group will reconvene in early 2021 to co-design a robust governance arrangement and establish local decision-making bodies for each school.
The Education Justice Initiative in Townsville continued to provide a culturally responsive service to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve their education pathways.
The Department of Education engaged with Services Australia and the Department of Social Services to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding school students were supported and assisted to return to communities affected by the
Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth) travel restrictions.
A collaboration with Kombumerri Traditional Custodians and the Department of Education, the Kombumerri Together project continued to engage with students attending school on Kombumerri country with reconciliation, respect, and recognition of Kombumerri histories and cultures. The project has gathered Kombumerri knowledge and stories in 50 short videos including 6 Kombumerri Traditional Custodians who share their perspectives, passed down through generations of families.
The Barna Jarjum 'Strong Children' Framework is building cultural awareness
Unique to the South East Region, the vision of the Barna Jarjum Framework is that the 114 participating schools (P-6) ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families experience success, a sense of belonging and a personal connection to their learning.
Within participating schools, there are 197 Indigenous Champions who work closely with the regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team to implement the framework within their school.
The Indigenous Champions attend professional learning opportunities to build cultural competence and a true understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and ways of knowing, being and doing. They then return to their schools to build awareness of Indigenous perspectives.
Kuku Yalanji Indigenous Language and Culture program
In 2018, after an 18-month consultation process with the local Aboriginal community and Elders, Mossman State School introduced the Kuku Yalanji Indigenous language program into their school curriculum. The program was co-designed by Kuku Yalanji people and the school, and endorsed by the Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group of Indigenous Elders.
The school has seen large increases in enrolments since the program was introduced, and improvements in attendance, student engagement and behaviour. Embedding an Indigenous language and culture program into the school curriculum sends a clear message to the community that the school values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, language, culture and history.
The program has been very well-received by both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous school community, brought recognition to the school at a local, state and national level, and fostered great pride in the school from students, families, community and staff. It has helped change the entire fabric of the Mossman State School community.