Indigenous Education Strategy - Issue 18

Tony's Message

As term three commences it is pleasing to see almost 40 new teachers join our classrooms across the Territory, with more than half joining our remote schools including Ntaria, Jilkminggan, Ramingining, Amoonguna, Larapinta, Katherine, Canteen Creek and Tennant Creek. Welcome!

In this edition, we mark the opening of a spacious and modern new preschool in Alpurrurulam and launch Rising Star, an innovative new web series designed to engage families as their children’s first and most important teachers.

Rising Star is the first educational children’s program designed specifically for Aboriginal children and I encourage you to visit to watch the latest episodes.

I look forward to seeing you at Garma Festival next week to talk about how we can best build on the progress we have made to date under the Indigenous Education Strategy.

Tony Considine
General Manager Engagement and Partnerships

Buffalo Boys expertise valued

Community maintenance workers, “the Buffalo Boys”, are working with 25 Lake Evella School students to train them in occupational health and safety.

The maintenance workers are introducing the students to risk assessment, personal protection equipment, and the importance and implementation of occupational health and safety protocols — all of which are part of a year-long employment pathways’ program.

Lake Evella School principal, Clarice O’Leary, said the Buffalo Boys also showed the students a range of modern work practices as well as the traditional tools and methods used by their great grandfathers.

“Employment pathways’ programs equip students with skills for a diverse range of careers by looking at common techniques, such as letter writing, occupational health and safety, personal protection equipment, completing forms and resume production,” she said.

“Our students are also developing skills by running a cafĂ©, operating an online shop, and by participating in the Caring for Country initiative with the Yirrkala Rangers — learning about the local area, the daily work of the rangers, [and] native plants including their traditional uses, pests and pest control, and the fire creation techniques used by the rangers.”

Rising Star

Rising Star is an exciting new Aboriginal early childhood web series designed to encourage young children to play, inquire and think.

Based on the educational science of Play School, the Rising Star web series uses music, dance and stories to engage children up to five years old in both English and Aboriginal languages and influence their crucial early learning and development.

The program is produced locally by the NT Music School and works with the Families as First Teachers Program (FaFT) across 38 Territory locations.

It engages young children and their families through interactive play activities, nurturing and everyday learning moments.

NT Music School Principal and producer of Rising Star Bill Grose said the program was designed for Aboriginal children but appealed to everyone.

“Rising Star has been created to inspire instructional play, conversational reading, emotional learning and lots of fun during a child’s development in the early years,’’ he said.

“It is also the first educational children’s program that has been designed specifically for Aboriginal children. It features Northern Territory Aboriginal artists and Aboriginal languages which our Aboriginal children in the Territory can connect with and relate to.’’

Rising Star is available online and features popular NT Aboriginal artists and presenters including Emily Wurramara, June and Ali Mills, Gus Fitzgerald and Roy Ruwarringa.

Rising Star is an initiative of the Northern Territory Music School in partnership with the FaFT program. Two episodes are currently available and a new episode will be available each term.

Visit to watch the latest episodes of Rising Star.

Titjikala young achiever of the year

Titjikala School Assistant Teacher Roger Wilyuka won the 2018 Northern Territory Young Achiever of the Year and the Young Aboriginal Educator Award at the NT Young Achiever Awards.

Roger was recognised for his positive attitude and strength of character, which has made him a successful educator within the Titjikala community.

Roger is dedicated to education in his community, working as an Assistant Teacher in the school’s Transition class, running the fathers and sons reading program and school holiday activities and sports program.

“I also really love working with the young kids at my school. It is great for me to be teaching them. It is most important to be encouraging the younger ones in school and to be working with them one on one,” said Roger.

Roger was acknowledged for his outstanding commitment to teaching and learning and for inspiring his peers, students and community by bringing positivity and creativity to his role.

The award recognises the many young Aboriginal teachers, assistant teachers, support staff and students who are making a positive impact on the education of students at Territory schools.

Aboriginal educators and support staff like Roger play a crucial role in the lives of their students, making a real difference by supporting teaching and learning, giving them guidance and support, and providing a bridge from schools to families and communities.

Roger was also the winner of the Regional and Rural Initiative category of the 2014 Young Achiever Awards and this year was one of 15 Aboriginal educators nominated from across the Territory.

Angurugu mother and daughter day

Angurugu School celebrated its first Mother and Daughter Day in June to increase community engagement and recognise student attendance.

Assistant Principal Paul Riches said the event was a reward for students’ attendance at school, and an opportunity for them to show their commitment in learning.

“The Mother and Daughter Day is part of our ongoing attendance and engagement initiatives,’’ he said.

“The 30 participants had a fantastic day, chatting and laughing over an amazing spread of food at Groote Eylandt Lodge, before enjoying activities ranging from swimming, games, competitions and presentations.”

New Alpurrurulam Preschool

The opening of a spacious and modern new preschool in Alpurrurulam has given early childhood education in the Barkly region a significant boost.

The preschool is located near the Alpurrurulam School, creating a clear pathway from the community’s Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program into school.

The new purpose built, contemporary learning space was designed to be inviting and accommodating for children whilst also considering the needs of mothers, fathers, siblings and the extended family and local community.

Principal of Alpurrurulam School Elizabeth Milne said the new preschool facility is a wonderful, bright and happy addition to the Alpurrurulam community and that the community was proud of the new facility.

“Our students now have full and equal access to facilities and learning spaces,” she said.

“Families know they are welcome to spend time at preschool with their children, talk to their teachers about what they are learning and find out how they can assist at home.”

The facility’s open plan layout was designed to be inclusive and features investigative stations so children can explore, create, discuss and interact with their teachers, parents and peers.

Preschool, FaFT and primary school teachers will also have the opportunity to share resources and work collaboratively across the school and preschool to instil a love of learning in children at an early age and to enhance family involvement in their children’s learning.

Michael Long supports remote boarders

More than 360 additional students from remote Territory communities will benefit from residential camps designed to prepare them for boarding school, thanks to a $735,000 three-year agreement between the Department of Education and AFL Northern Territory.

The funds will go towards education programs run by the Michael Long Leadership and Learning Centre that inspire and engage students from remote and very remote communities through the power of sport and leadership.

General Manager Community Engagement and Partnerships Tony Considine said it was great to be able to renew the partnership with the Michael Long Leadership and Learning Centre and continue to engage Territory students.

“This program has been significant in engaging our students with more than 650 Territory children from 20 communities participating in the education program,” he said.

“The additional $135,000 in funding will enable MLLLC to deliver another five residential camps to an additional 120 students each year, to engage in a Boarding Preparation Program.”

The residential camps will be delivered by the department’s Transition Support Unit (TSU) and focus on the social and emotional well-being of students while providing a practical experience of being away from home.

The program is targeted at students aged between 11 and 14 years and aims to improve attendance, increase engagement and behaviour in school and provide a boarding experience, as well as awareness of education opportunities.

Students will be selected by schools in conjunction with AFLNT Remote Development Staff based on attendance benchmarks, behavioural expectations and engagement in learning activities.

The Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre (MLLLC) has accommodation facilities for up to 64 people, a state-of-the-art gym and pool/recovery centre, education spaces and corporate facilities for functions and events.

Katherine families benefit from FaFT

Katherine families are benefiting from the new Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program that commenced operation in Term 3, 2017.

Director of the Katherine FaFT Sally Lovering said “the Katherine FaFT has seen a 69 percent increase in the number of children participating since it commenced operation.”

Located at MacFarlane Primary School in Katherine, the newly introduced program aims to promote children’s early development and support parents in their roles as their children’s first teachers.

“It’s reassuring to see the program continue to grow and support families, their children and the wider community during the children’s critical early years,” said Ms Lovering.

“The new centre means we are giving children the best possible start in life, while at the same time giving their families access to support programs and resources under the one roof to make learning and development easier for the whole family.”

The program continues to develop strong community partnerships with key stakeholders to engage and support families, their children and the wider communities.

Six new integrated family and child centres, and 33 remote FaFT programs plus an additional five urban FaFTs are currently in place across the Northern Territory.

The program will expand to 14 more sites by 2020.