It is also exciting to note the commencement of the Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program at Guyangara. Guyangara will be the 22nd community to adopt the program as part of plan to provide early childhood education experiences across the Territory.
In November last year the Department of Education's Chief Executive Ken Davies and I visited a number of homelands in Arnhem Land and committed to undertaking a homelands master plan in the new year.
Last week colleagues from Department of Education, Department of Infrastructure and I visited the Yirrkala homelands schools in Dhalinybuy, Wandawuy, Birany Birany, Rurrangala, Gan Gan, Garrthalala and Rorruwuy as part of our master planning process. The information collected during these visits will assist the department to assess the requirements of school processes, stakeholder engagement and facility upgrades.
We will continue provide regular updates on all of the projects under the Indigenous Education Strategy. If you would like further information about anything contained in this week's newsletter please contact at email@example.com
Indigenous Education Review Implementation
On Friday 4 March, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Honourable Nigel Scullion, and Minister for Education, the Honourable Peter Chandler MLA officially opened the Child and Family Centre in Yuendumu. The launch included performances by the students and a lunch served and prepared by the students of Yuendumu School.
The centre caters for up to 65 children from birth to six years of age and provides families, the community and agencies a facility where they can work together to support the ongoing development and education of young Indigenous children.
The centre has 24 community members working in different programs, with local Indigenous people forming the majority. Having local community members working in the centre allows the children and their families to engage in activities in both English and Walpirri.
Construction of the new residential facility for Indigenous students attending secondary school in Nhulunbuy is now underway.
Local construction company Norbuilt has commenced clearing the site and is in contact with suppliers in the region to ensure there are local materials used in the construction of the facility. This early phase of the process will create local job opportunities in the construction field and in the longer term, new jobs to staff the residential facility.
Due for completion in late 2016, the facility will provide students from across North East Arnhem Land with access to support and accommodation whilst they undertake studies at Nhulunbuy High School. Updates will continue to be provided on this exciting project in the coming editions of the newsletter.
In February, ten Middle Years students representing the Student Voice Working Group from across the Northern Territory were special guests at the Department of Education's Executive Board meeting. The students from Centralian Middle, Darwin Middle, Dripstone, Katherine High, Nightcliff, Nhulunbuy High, Rosebery, Sanderson, Taminmin High and Tennant Creek High Schools worked in small groups with departmental executives to undertake an exercise to discuss the effects of bullying and violence in schools.
As part of the Indigenous Education Strategy, a key focus will be on creating positive student behaviours and ensuring Indigenous student wellbeing.
Each group worked together to develop a key proactive message on strategies for eliminating bullying and violence in schools. These suggestions included replacing suspensions with self-improvement sessions, creating a safe environment for teachers and students to have conversations and empowering students to feel confident to seek help if required.
Executive Board were impressed with the discussions and look forward to continuing to work with the Student Voice Working Group to put the strategies into practice.
Eighteen students from the Territory are amongst the first group of young people to enrol into secondary education at the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS).
MITS is an independent residential school that is designed to assist Indigenous students who are interested in studying at boarding schools in Melbourne with the first year of transition. The school provides a nurturing and supportive environment where students undertake accelerated numeracy and literacy courses and a range of activities that will help them adjust to life in Melbourne and boarding school generally.
While studying at MITS, Territory students are in regular contact with the Department of Education's Transition Support Unit staff who are happy to report that all students are well settled, working hard and are successfully completing Term 1. The students are looking forward to visiting with their family over Easter and returning to MITS in Term 2.
The 2016 school year has started on a very positive note for the newly established Stars Foundation Girls Academy. The foundation, which is designed to improve the education and health outcomes of young Aboriginal women, is made up of female middle years and senior secondary students from across the Territory.
With the Tennant Creek branch of the foundation set to commence in Term 2, 2016 and participant numbers already exceeding expectations so early in the year, it is an exciting time to be rolling out a program that focuses on achieving the best educational outcomes possible for our female youth throughout the Territory.
To welcome the participating students, an induction was held in Term 1, 2016 with Casuarina Senior College, Dripstone Middle School, Sanderson Middle School, Katherine High School, Nhulunbuy High School and Yirrkala School all represented. This provided a great opportunity for the students to hear personal recounts and professional anecdotes from speakers from a wide range of career choices such as police, health and hospitality, and local identity Deb Anstess Vallejo from the Department of the Chief Minister.
The Foundation's Director of Operations, David Francis, said the primary message for the girls was "the importance of finishing Year 12 and making a significant commitment to their studies to allow them to realise their full potential in life."
Ken Davies also attended the induction and discussed with the students the importance of completing their studies, and the opportunities that would be available to them once they graduated with their Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training.
Jason Greene from the Stars Foundation declared the induction day "extremely worthwhile," with the Stars girls getting the "opportunity to interact with each other and listen to inspiration speakers from a wide range of backgrounds."
Providing ongoing support to students and their families in remote and very remote regions is instrumental to the successful implementation of the Indigenous Education Strategy.
To assist with improving engagement between schools, students, families and the community, Family and Community Engagement Charters are set to be developed to provide a consistent set of guidelines to support respectful and purposeful engagement and collaborative participation between schools, their community, parents and students.
Schools, families and communities are encouraged to individualise their engagement strategies to reflect the needs and aspirations of their community to ensure that educational outcomes are mutually achieved to the benefit of all students.