Ascham Ngara Commitment 2022

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Ngara Ascham School is located on Gadigal Land. Ngara is a Gadigal word that encompasses the value of learning.

Ngara Artwork Shakirah Stevens and Destiny Peris (2019) created our Ngara Commitment artwork (front cover) during their last year as students at Ascham. This artwork is also used on our Indigenous Round playing shirts and we thank them both for leaving the School with this meaningful legacy.

Artist’s Statement We aimed to embody our Ascham School community in our design: The red at the top symbolises the coming together of women to a meeting place. The dolphins are emblematic of our School. As written in the School Diary, 'the dolphins symbolise energy, persistence and the ability to swim against, as well as with, the tide’. Dolphins also symbolise harmony, which encapsulates the spirit of reconciliation. The water represents our location within the Eora nation in Sydney, surrounded by our beautiful waters. (Shakirah Stevens and Destiny Peris, 2019)

Image: Artists and Ascham Old Girls, Destiny Peris and Shakirah Stevens, at our National Reconciliation Week in 2019.

Welcome to Country

The Ascham Ngara Commitment Our obligation is to consciously contribute to the process of reconciliation which aims to achieve an equality between Australia’s original inhabitants and those who came after. Ascham will compassionately acknowledge the pain and anguish faced by our First Nations People and celebrate the triumph of remaining culturally significant and influential in contemporary Australia. The Ascham Ngara Commitment strives to grow a community of deeply aware and brave thought leaders who will boldly contribute to the Australian story of reconciliation with our First Nations People. Ascham community will work in unity to create a culturally responsive school and boarding environment, focused on contributing to a nation in which all people and cultures can survive and thrive. Ascham community will seek to be guided by, and walk alongside, the local Gadigal people and all those from First Nation communities to incorporate the knowledge, talent and wisdom of First Nations people in all its operations, policies, curriculum and the growth of the built environment. Ascham will demonstrate the growth in our learning and understanding of the diverse cultures, histories and languages of Australia's First Nation People through culturally visible strategies and meaningful actions. We acknowledge that our commitment is an ongoing journey, and we are only at the beginning. Our commitment will be embedded over time and continue to deeply impact our community as we listen, learn and grow together.

Our Framework To Listen… Seek First Nations Peoples perspectives to guide our understanding and appreciation of their histories, cultures and languages.

To Learn… Implement a range of opportunities for students and staff, including inside the classroom, on country, camps and tours to learn and grow in our understanding.

To Grow… Create meaningful opportunities that cultivate authentic connectiveness and belonging so that First Nations People proudly select Ascham as their place to learn or work.

Head of School Andrew Powell with Mr Les Daniel, who performed a smoking ceremony for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flag Raising ceremony in June 2018.

How Will We Do This? Inside the Classroom Through: Building and maintaining culturally safe, aware, and responsive classrooms and curriculum. Raising awareness of issues and current affairs related to reconciliation. Developing workshops that foreground First Nations Peoples spirituality and culture for students and teachers. Promoting national days of significance along with current curriculum resources for teachers. Hosting First Nations teachers and practicum students to work in collaboration with teachers across P–12.

Key persons: Deputy Head of School and Director of Curriculum and Learning

Outside the Classroom Through: Providing responsive learning pathways for Year 7-10 students to be guided through the many layers of First Nations knowledge and perspectives embedded locally in Sydney, more broadly to country NSW as well as North-East Arnhem land. Designing and implementing NESA accredited Professional Learning Course for our staff. Establishing an annual First Nations artist/person in residence program. Providing co-curricular learning opportunities for students. Implementing a staff induction program to highlight the significance of our Ascham Ngara Commitment and engender cultural competence. Increasing First Nations perspectives and representation across all aspects of the School.

Key persons: Director of Professional Learning, Head of Boarding

With the Community Through: Seeking guidance and maintaining sustainable and authentic partnerships with: • Gadigal people through the Gujaga Foundation and Culture College • AISNSW Consultant: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education • local AECG and Land Council. Embedding Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country at significant events and ensure that they are delivered in a respectful environment. Maintaining our whole school annual celebrations of National Reconciliation Week from 27 May–3 June. Providing opportunities for staff, students, and community members to collaborate and organise whole school reconciliation projects. Seeking opportunities to add to our cultural visualisations (art, sculptures, gardens and displays) around the school campus. Promoting programs/causes/events that foster diverse thinking and inclusivity. Continue to promote and grow our Ngara Scholarship Fund to continue our legacy of financially supporting First Nation students to attend Ascham School.

Key Persons: Head of School, Director of Enrolments and Community, Ngara Committee Chair

Ascham Ngara Council The Ascham Ngara Council will drive the strategic alignment of initiatives and programs across all aspects of the School. The members of this group are committed to drive the goals of the Ascham Ngara Commitment towards the creation of a culturally responsive School. In addition to the Ascham Ngara Council a volunteer planning committee is responsible for the actions and events associated with National Reconciliation Week (27 May—3 June) celebrated annually at Ascham. This committee will also be responsible for the regular updating of the Reconciliation Action Plan.

Ascham Ngara Council Members Head of School Director of Curriculum and Learning Director of Professional Learning Director of Enrolments and Community Head of Foundation and Development Head of Boarding Head/Deputy Head of Junior School Ngara Committee Chair