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An inv itation to Aboriginal people and Torre s St rait Islanders to work with the NSW Department of Education and Training


Contents Promoting opportunities for a career in education ................................................ page 02 Sid Domic: my message to you ........................................................................... page 03 Aboriginal Employment Unit - Staffing Services ..................................................... page 04 Teaching: a career with great benefits ................................................................... page 06 Teaching scholarships just for you ......................................................................... page 09 Other career pathways in education ..................................................................... page 10 Improving career opportunities for Aboriginal people ........................................... page 12 Roles in educational leadership ............................................................................ page 14 More than one pathway to a successful education career .................................... page 16 Getting qualifications through university or TAFE ................................................. page 19 Supporting your career .......................................................................................... page 20 Regional support centres ....................................................................................... page 22 Other useful contacts ............................................................................................. page 24


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P ro m oti n g opp o r t u n i tie s fo r a c a re e r i n e du c atio n As Director of Staffing Services in the Department’s Human Resources Directorate I am keen to promote the opportunities for employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW Public Schools. In recent years the participation and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in permanent, temporary and casual roles in NSW public schools has increased significantly. More than 600 Aboriginal teachers and executives occupy permanent positions in NSW public schools complemented by regional teams and state office staff. School Administrative and Support Staff positions continue to be identified for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our Aboriginal employment team is actively promoting employment and training opportunities across the

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community, at careers events in schools and universities, encouraging those people wishing to pursue a career in the NSW public school system.

in schools has a direct impact on the engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in their education.

The Department provides teacher education scholarships to support our teachers of the future with at least 80 available each year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. Generous financial incentives are available to provide assistance while you study with a guarantee of permanent employment in NSW public schools. Current teachers who were supported with a scholarship are featured in this booklet.

I am proud to promote the opportunities available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW public schools. This Join Our Mob booklet provides some insight for you into the successes of some of our current employees and you will also learn more about the range of roles occupied by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in our schools.

Human Resources Directorate works in collaboration with the Aboriginal Education and Training Directorate and the Aboriginal Education and Consultative Group Incorporated (NSW AECG) to maximise learning outcomes for Aboriginal students in our schools. The presence of Aboriginal employees

Peter Johnson Director, Staffing Services


Sid Do m i c: my m e s s a g e to yo u I had visited schools in Australia and enjoyed the experience and it was the same in England. The children were amazed to discover that the paintings told stories and were very excited, and showed great respect for what I had to tell them.

I was born and raised in Rockhampton where the local Aboriginal people are the Darumbal. After some years I discovered I was linked to the Kalkadoon people from Mt Isa, where my grandmother is from. For six years I was fortunate enough to live in the UK playing rugby league. As I am also an Aboriginal artist, it wasn’t too long before I was asked by one of the primary schools in that country to speak to the children about my art and the beautiful culture of my people.

I left the school with a good feeling about that visit. But it was only when I returned a couple of weeks later and saw all the great art pieces that the children had completed, that I realised how successful my visit had been. They were so proud of themselves and so grateful for the time I had taken to teach them. I went on to visit many schools in the UK and on my return to Australia, I applied at a local primary school to tutor Indigenous students. I now work with special needs children at a school in Bundaberg.

but just like rugby league, I have come into a profession that I really enjoy. I am very fortunate that I had the opportunity to live out my dream of playing professional rugby league. I know I could not have achieved all I have if it wasn’t for all the wonderful mentors who helped me along my journey: my family, friends, coaches and teachers. In my new role I get a sense of contributing to my community and to the children I am involved with. I believe every child has the potential to achieve their dream if they have the hunger to apply themselves and strong mentors to support them and guide them along their way. Sid Domic

In my new position I come across challenges every day. It has been tough moving from one profession to another

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A b o r i g i n a l E mp l oy m e nt U n i t - St af f i n g S e r v i c e s Staffing, I work across the board to liaise with Aboriginal teachers and students on matters relating to recruitment and retention of Aboriginal teachers. This involves supporting Aboriginal teachers to get their teaching approvals, finding permanent jobs and transfers. I also play a major role in promoting the Teacher Education Scholarship Program.

When it comes to providing support and assistance for Aboriginal staff in schools, the Aboriginal Employment Unit – Staffing Services, in the Human Resources Directorate, is on hand and ready to assist you on matters relating to your career: including promotion, recruitment and retention.

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You can contact us at: Aboriginal.Employment@det.nsw.edu.au or call (02) 9836 9103.

Read on to find out a little more about who we are, where we are from and what we do. Janine French Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Staffing Services Hi, I am a descendent of the Gamilaroi people. I come from Moree, in northwest NSW. As the Senior Education Officer - Aboriginal Liaison Officer, within the Aboriginal Employment Unit - School

Prior to getting this position I have had various roles throughout the Department. As a Bachelor of Education graduate I have been a classroom teacher and reading tutor. I have also taken on roles of Aboriginal Education Officer, Aboriginal Languages Project Officer, and Aboriginal Studies Project Officer. These roles have given me great insight into various positions within the Department and across different sections, and a range of handson experiences including assisting in the classroom, teaching my own classes and working in state office positions. For any questions about becoming a teacher including our scholarship program please contact me: Phone: (02) 9836 9263 Email: janine.french@det.nsw.edu.au


Annie Austin Staffing Project Officer (Aboriginal) School Administrative and Support Staff Hi, I am a descendent of the Gamillaraay people. I come from Toomelah/Boggabilla in NSW. As the Aboriginal Project Officer I support Aboriginal staff in non-teaching positions such as Aboriginal Education Officers (AEOs), School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs), School Administrative Officers (SAOs) and General Assistants (GAs). A major part of my role is the identification, recruitment and retention of newly appointed Aboriginal school administrative and support staff recruited under Recommendation 55 of the Aboriginal Education Review (2004). Under the recommendation, the Department identifies vacant school administrative and support staff positions in schools with a significant number of Aboriginal students as positions requiring Aboriginality. I also play a major role in supporting the employment and retention of all AEOs across the State. Prior to this role I worked as an Aboriginal Education Officer for eight years. Having this in-school experience has given me a

great understanding of the issues faced by administrative and support staff in schools. For any questions relating to non-teaching Aboriginal positions in schools, please contact me: Phone: (02) 9836 9849 Email: annette.austin@det.nsw.edu.au Jayden Webb Aboriginal Project Officer Hi, I am a descendent of the Gumbaynggirr people. I come from Grafton in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. My role is to provide support and assistance to Janine and Annie and to support Aboriginal staff in NSW public school. I attend promotional events which occur across the state at schools, universities and community events. As the newest member of the unit I am excited by the opportunities my role provides. I can be contacted on: Telephone: (02) 9836 9103 Email: Jayden.Webb@det.nsw.edu.au

Veronica Willmott Assistant Director, Staffing Services I am fortunate to be in a position where I support our Aboriginal Employment Unit and work with principals, teachers, school administrative and support staff, regional teams and state office staff. We continue to build on recent successes which have seen significant increases in the positions and roles available for Aboriginal staff. We promote engagement in education which can lead to so many other opportunities across the education and training sector. Current students in schools and universities and community members can see the diverse range of roles available and share in the successes of people you may even know. This booklet shines the light on these opportunities with the key message that the NSW Department of Education and Training values and supports our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. I hope this booklet, the career stories inside and the opportunities available in NSW public schools inspire you, or someone you know to join us.

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Te a c h i n g : a c a re e r w i t h g re at b e n ef i ts If you are an Aboriginal person looking for a rewarding career and the chance to make a difference to your mob, you should consider training to become a teacher.

year of teaching and regular contact with Aboriginal human resources officers.

We are committed to increasing the numbers of Aboriginal teachers in our schools, and to that end have put in place a number of initiatives. If you are an Aboriginal person looking for a rewarding career and the chance to make a difference to your mob, why not consider training to become a teacher?

NSW public school teachers enjoy a whole range of benefits, opportunities and flexible working conditions.

As a teacher, you have a unique opportunity to make a real difference to many young lives, and especially to Aboriginal students and communities. At the same time you’ll be helping all students develop a stronger awareness and understanding of Aboriginal people and their cultures.

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If you want to inspire your community and pass your skills and knowledge on to the next generation, there is no more meaningful way to do it than as a teacher. When you are a newly appointed Aboriginal teacher you will receive, in addition to the usual school-based induction programs, support through local and regional networks, mentoring during your first

Rewards and opportunities

For a start, there is the high commencing salary, $56,829 from January 2011 - one of the highest of any profession. Teachers who join us after working as Aboriginal Education Officers, Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers and other positions with the Department may be entitled to start on a higher commencing salary depending on experience. Then there is the range of promotional and career development pathways open to you: an advantage unique to being part of one of the largest education employers in the southern hemisphere. Your opportunities to take on leadership and management roles are greatly enhanced in a network of over 2,200 locations. Executive and principal positions are advertised regularly through the online recruitment site Jobs@DET, and will give you many options to further your career.

As a teacher in the NSW public education system, you get to play a diversity of roles that explore the full range of your skills and talents both inside and outside the classroom. Sports coaching, drama and performing arts events, organising social and community activities - the possibilities are endless, and diverse. Extra benefits and incentives If you choose to teach in certain noncoastal rural locations, you may be entitled to an additional range of benefits, allowances and incentives that, in some locations, could add up to a few thousand dollars extra in your pay packet. Just some of these incentives include: • rental subsidy of 70% - 90% • hot or cold climatic allowance • isolation from goods and services allowance • motor vehicle depreciation allowance • reimbursement of medical and dental expenses • vacation travel allowance • an extra week of summer vacation, and • extra personal leave and training and development time.


THE INSPIRATION OF STRONG WOMEN Kathy Frost reveals with pride that she was the second person in her family to attend university. “My inspiration was my aunt who was already a teacher, and I can remember wanting to be just like her and to follow in her footsteps.” Follow she did – and today, Kathy is assistant principal at Pottsville Beach Public School on the North Coast. “I always tell people how lucky I am that I’ve had very strong

women in my life who were such inspirational female role models,” she says. “My mother was my first major influence; even more so because she was able to provide opportunities for me and my siblings that she herself never had. “For my mother, education was a huge factor that was really important and she encouraged us [to get an education] from the very beginning.” An additional fillip was the example provided by her teacheraunt. “Seeing her actually in the

north coast of NSW close to the Queensland border.

Doing more for Aboriginal education Dyonne Anderson describes herself as “a very proud Bundjalung woman”, from the nation in the far

Currently the principal of Cabbage Tree Island Public School, a small school in the Bundjalung nation with an Aboriginal student population of about 30, Dyonne has been in the role for some years and can boast some excellent results during her tenure, including a recent national “Dare to Lead” award of excellence recognising the school’s high academic results, leadership and collaboration with its community. During her long education career, Dyonne has packed quite a few achievements under her belt. As a

profession and having such enthusiasm and joy for it, made it that much easier for me to project myself into the role. “My teaching career means so much to me,” Kathy enthuses. “I feel so privileged because as a teacher I have the ability to impact on so many people’s lives: not just my students, but their parents and grandparents as well. “In lots of ways, my teaching career defines me.

own children and my siblings can look up to. As the eldest child I’ve always tried to lead by example.”

“I see myself as someone my

teacher at Lismore Heights Public School in the early ‘90s, she helped establish the State’s first Aboriginal language program.

Aboriginal Studies Preschool to Year 12; HSIE Consultant; and Science and Technology Consultant.

“The Bundjalung language program was about making a connection for the kids culturally, giving them an opportunity to experience language and culture firsthand from community members.”

“I’m very passionate about ensuring that education is equitable and accessible to everyone,” she explains. “We really need to ensure that Aboriginal students have the opportunity to relate to the curriculum they are taught.”

Determined to do more for Aboriginal education, Dyonne decided to take on non-school based positions where she felt she could have an influence on curriculum and policy formulation. At various points in her career, she was: curriculum adviser for

Right now, in addition to her duties as Principal, she has also taken on a role as executive on the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals’ Association. “I think it’s extremely important that we have a voice on the national agenda [of Aboriginal education],” she says.9


she was in her first year at uni, when a teach.NSW presentation team came to talk to students about the program. “The scholarship was a very appealing prospect, not just because of the financial assistance it offered but also because of the guarantee of a job when you graduated,” says Belinda. “I knew I didn’t have to stress about looking for work.”

Scholarship offers an appealing prospect At the start of her working career Belinda Murdoch worked at a day care/preschool centre, running playgroups for underprivileged children in her local area in inner Sydney. “I was working with young Indigenous kids as well as those from low socio-economic families in Redfern, Glebe and Waterloo.” With the experience, she found her calling. Shortly afterward she began her teaching degree at the University of Sydney. She found out about the Department’s teacher education scholarships when

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As a graduate scholar, Belinda got a posting at Alexandria Park Community School teaching subjects such as history/geography, commerce and business studies to students from Year 8 to Year 12. “I really enjoy it, and have no regrets at all [about choosing a teaching career],” she says. Belinda aims to continue establishing a connection with her students, including the Aboriginal children in her classes. “My aim is to know them, understand where they’re coming from in terms of their cultural history and family background, and help them see that they can succeed in their future.”

A very rewarding career Rodney Wright started his career in education as an Aboriginal Education Officer at Dubbo College, Delroy Campus. “In doing that role, I became aware that I had a great connection with children,” he recounts. “I was also encouraged by teachers at the school to take up a teaching degree, as they thought I would succeed in this field.” And so he has. Rodney is now a teacher at Batemans Bay Public School, and looks forward to a long career in education.

Rodney’s studies received a significant boost with his successful application for a teacher education scholarship, which he heard about when a teach.NSW team visited his university. “The first thing that drew me to the scholarship was the benefit of financial assistance throughout my studies,” says Rodney. “But further into the program many other benefits became evident – not the least of which was the guarantee of a permanent job when I graduated.” About his decision to become a teacher, Rodney has absolutely


no regrets. “My experience has been overwhelming. I have to say it’s a very, very rewarding career. “The best thing about it is when your students suddenly ‘get’ a learning concept they may have been struggling with throughout the week. Seeing their face light up at that moment is a really great experience.” Rodney adds, “I’d like to think that I’m a role model for my students, because they can look at me and realise that there are career opportunities for Aboriginal kids out there.”

Te a c h i n g s c h o l a rs h ips j u st fo r yo u Of the 300 teacher education scholarships offered by the Department each year, at least 80 are set aside exclusively for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. These scholarships enable you to train as a teacher in primary or any agreed secondary subject area. This is in keeping with our commitment to increase the number of Aboriginal teachers in our public schools. Our scholarships provide you with the following: • $ 5,000 a year in financial assistance. Over four years, the normal duration of study, this amounts to $20,000 in your pocket • a nother $3,000 as a one-off grant when you get your first permanent teaching appointment, and • a guaranteed job in an agreed location when you graduate.

Aboriginal scholarship holders can look forward to a full range of support initiatives including on-campus visits and ongoing contact with and assistance from our Aboriginal Liaison Officers and Aboriginal Project Officers. Teacher education scholarships open for applications around mid-year. For more information and to check out when applications open this year, go to www.teach.nsw.edu.au/scholarships or email us at Aboriginal.Employment@det.nsw.edu.au.

As a teacher, you will also be eligible for the HECS-HELP benefit from the Commonwealth Government.

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Ot h e r c a re e r pat h w ays i n e du c ati o n These positions provide invaluable support for both executive staff and students in the orderly running and administration of schools, and are a vital part of the school community. ABORIGINAL EDUCATION OFFICER (AEO) Aboriginal Education Officers are responsible to the principal or delegate for providing assistance to teachers, Aboriginal students and their families to support improved learning outcomes for Aboriginal students. AEOs are the primary link between the school and parents, extended families and communities. They encourage parents to be part of the school community and be fully engaged in their child’s education and decision making within the school. AEOs liaise with the principal and staff and interact with the Aboriginal community in relation to staff and Aboriginal students in the school and Aboriginal education activities.

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AEOs work with teachers to assist Aboriginal students in all school activities including: • joining in excursions • d iscussing the educational progress of

their children with Aboriginal parents • identifying and developing resources to support the learning outcomes of Aboriginal students • a ssisting in the development and implementation of personalised learning plans for Aboriginal students • s upporting Aboriginal cultural awareness for all students with particular reference to Aboriginal students • helping to maintain effective relationships among Aboriginal parents, the Aboriginal community and school staff. Below are positions which may be specifically identified for Aboriginal people, in schools with significant Aboriginal enrolments. See Page 12 for further details on the process of identification of these positions for Aboriginal people. SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER (SAM) This role is responsible to the principal for the efficient management of the school’s financial and administrative functions and the supervision and training of school administrative officers, as well as providing assistance in school routines and working with teachers.

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER (SAO) This role is responsible to the principal for assisting in a range of school, classroom and office activities eg. record keeping, bookkeeping and other clerical duties, reception; operating and maintaining classroom and office equipment; purchasing; preparing and maintaining stock and resource materials. SCHOOL LEARNING SUPPORT OFFICER (SLSO) Duties focus primarily on assisting teachers in the implementation of individual educational programs and individual transition programs and also assisting teachers in providing opportunities for children with special needs to develop personal, social, domestic and pre-vocational skills and attending to the personal care needs of children. Duties may also include the operation of audiovisual aids, duplicating, issuing of learning materials and other clerical duties. SCHOOL LEARNING SUPPORT OFFICER (preschool) Duties focus primarily on assisting teachers with daily preschool activities


including setting up and clearing of the playroom and playground, cleaning of equipment and issue of learning materials. Duties may also include the operation of audiovisual aids duplicating and other clerical duties. SCHOOL LEARNING SUPPORT OFFICER – ABORIGINAL STUDENTS This role is responsible to the principal or supervisor for working with teachers who are implementing education programs to support improved learning outcomes of Aboriginal students. This role also assists teachers to engage Aboriginal students more fully in learning programs, school activities and in school routines by: • setting up equipment for classroom activities • gathering learning materials, including culturally appropriate materials • helping individual and/or small groups of Aboriginal students with their learning tasks, and • participating in appropriate classroom and school wide Aboriginal education activities. GENERAL ASSISTANT (GA) Duties may include minor maintenance of buildings, plant and equipment; moving school lawns and playing fields; receipt and distribution of stores and other duties as directed.

An active role in helping the community Before discovering a career in education, Colin Appo worked in a variety of trades: from hospitality worker (following in his pastry chef father’s footsteps) to a roof tiler. But what he really wanted was a career where he could play an active role in helping his community. He took up Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health at TAFE, intending to make his mark as a health worker. But then he got the opportunity to work as an Aboriginal Education Officer, and he hasn’t looked back since. Colin has now been working as an AEO at Kingscliff High School, in the Tweed Heads/Ballina area, for the last four years, and has even been acting in the role of Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (ACLO) in the last two. “The role of an AEO is threefold,”

Colin explains. “It involves supporting Aboriginal students in all aspects of education. It involves community support and being a link between families and the school, explaining school policies and procedures to the community. “Lastly, it involves supporting teachers and staff within the school, providing knowledge about Aboriginal culture, and how teachers can engage Aboriginal students.” In his acting ACLO role, this responsibility is expanded outside the community, to the 61 schools Colin looks after within the Tweed Heads/Ballina district. “These include schools that don’t have Aboriginal enrolments, or don’t have a large Aboriginal community, but are still keen to implement Aboriginal education policy,” says Colin. “And that’s really important that they have this commitment, because Aboriginal education policy means educating all – not just Aboriginal students – about Aboriginal Australia.”

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I mp ro v i n g c a re e r opp o r t u n i tie s fo r A b o r i g i n a l p e op le The Department is committed to improving not just educational outcomes for Aboriginal students, but also career opportunities for Aboriginal people. A recent review of Aboriginal education and recruitment strategies conducted by the Department together with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Inc (AECG) resulted in comprehensive recommendations to achieve sustainable improvements in education, employment and participation of Aboriginal people. A key recruitment strategy of the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Plan 2009-2011 (AHRD Plan) is the designation of School Administrative and Support (SAS) staff positions for Aboriginal people in schools with significant Aboriginal enrolments. Called Recommendation 55, this initiative enables designated schools to fill the following as Aboriginal identified positions:

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• • • •

School Administrative Officer School Learning Support Officer General Assistant School Administrative Manager.

If you would like to find out more about this career opportunity, call the Aboriginal Employment Unit on (02) 9836 9103 or email Aboriginal.Employment@det.nsw.edu.au. For full details on the AHRD Plan, go to https://www.teach.nsw.edu.au/documents/ahrdplan0911/pdf.


THIS HOCKEY MUM BELIEVES IN EDUCATION Lorelle Morrissey wields a mean hockey stick, having played for Australia’s national team and even now playing for the Australian veterans’ side. But her proudest role has been as mum to her two children. That, and her current job as School Administrative Officer at Kingscliff High School. Lorelle has been working in NSW public education for the past couple of years, and previously worked as a preschool assistant in the ACT education department when she lived in the territory. “I’ve always loved being involved in education,” she says. Obtaining her current position through Recommendation 55, a Department initiative which targets selected school administrative staff positions for Aboriginal persons, Lorelle is happy to be “an Indigenous face at the school that students, parents and the community can relate to”. “I definitely see myself as a role model for students at the school,” she says. “To them, I represent an example of what they can achieve by working in the field of education.”

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R o le s i n e du c ati o n a l le ade rs h ip These positions provide support at a senior level in the greater community.

welfare and restoring regular school attendance of Aboriginal students.

The department isn’t just schools. Aboriginal people are employed in various positions in State and regional offices all over NSW. Staff employed in State and regional offices are often referred to as corporate staff. A number of these roles have been specifically identified for Aboriginal people. Some of these are:

ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY LIAISON OFFICER (ACLO) ACLOs support and develop consultative links between the Aboriginal community and the Department at school, regional and state office levels.

REGIONAL CONSULTANT, ABORIGINAL EDUCATION AND ENGAGEMENT These teacher qualified positions provide a high level of support to regional support centres. ABORIGINAL EDUCATION CONSULTANT (AEC) Teacher qualified AECs provide advice and support to schools across the region on the organisation and implementation of Aboriginal education policies and programs.

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ABORIGINAL STUDENT LIAISON OFFICER (ASLO) Operating across staffing areas, ASLOs work with Aboriginal students, their families and schools to assist with student

ABORIGINAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING MANAGER Aboriginal Education and Training Managers are responsible for co-ordinating and promoting Aboriginal education and training throughout TAFE NSW Institutes, and providing a strategic planning focus for Aboriginal programs. Aboriginal Development Managers also provide Institute Directors with professional advice on budgets, course provision, staffing and management of Aboriginal education and training provision within TAFE NSW Institutes. Whilst Aboriginal Development Managers are TAFE based they may be able to provide you with assistance with your teaching and can help you make contact with the local Aboriginal community and community elders.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION: BRINGING HOME THE MESSAGE Throughout her career, Gail Sampson has championed the cause of Aboriginal education. She worked with the Department as an Aboriginal Education Officer at Courallie High School in Moree for 13 years. “I really enjoyed that job because it involved getting out into the community and trying to encourage more parents to get their kids to school every day,” she says. When she became Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer, it gave her the opportunity to expand this role. Now, as Aboriginal School Liaison Officer, Gail is doing what she loves best: working with schools and families in the Aboriginal community to improve school attendance of Aboriginal youth. As an ASLO in the Moree school staffing area Gail also liaises with government departments to find means to raise awareness among young Aboriginal kids and their families of the value of getting an education. “We’ve devised lots of ways to encourage these kids to come to school, such as reward systems – Aboriginal designed attendance certificates to make them proud of their achievements – and also school raffles, as well as student engagement camps where we talk to the kids about all the


FORMULATING POLICY AS AN ABORIGINAL EDUCATION LEADER Cathy Waters-Trindall’s career trajectory has taken her from an Aboriginal teachers aide in the ‘80s, to primary teacher in the next decade, to consultancy positions helping to formulate Aboriginal education policy in units like the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Inc. Today Cathy is the Quality Teaching Indigenous Education Consultant at Tamworth regional office, overseeing Aboriginal education development and implementation throughout 125 schools in the New England region.

“I have a team of seven people who support me in bringing Aboriginal education to higher levels,” says Cathy. A main aspect of her role is to assist schools in embedding Aboriginal cultural perspectives into their Aboriginal education training policy, and to advise principals on how they can make Aboriginal education more relevant, and the Aboriginal community more engaged in their children’s education. “I try to ensure that Aboriginal education is everyone’s responsibility,” she adds. “By forming partnerships across different portfolios, we ensure that we have a team approach to what we do.”

positive aspects of school, of getting an education, and how it can improve their future. “I’m very proud of what I’ve done in my career,” Gail says. “My three children are all working in education. My eldest son is a teacher, my younger son is an Aboriginal Education Officer, and my daughter works in the Human Resources Directorate as Aboriginal Liaison Officer. “They’ve done really well in their careers, and this is what I’m hoping for Aboriginal kids today to achieve.”

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M o re t h a n o n e pat h w ay to a s u c c e s s f u l e du c atio n c a re e r

Casey-Lee Smith

Steven Collins “While working as an Aboriginal Education Officer I decided to become a teacher myself and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree. I’m now assistant principal at Woy

Woy South Public School, where I have been teaching for the past 15 years. I consider myself a role model for the Aboriginal community and students.”

“When I finished Year 12 I deferred further studies for a year and worked, but I soon realised that I wanted to make something more of myself. I also wanted to make a difference to Indigenous

kids so that they know that they can grow up and be whatever they want. I’m now teaching at Darlington Public School near Redfern, and I absolutely love teaching, it’s my passion.”

Gail Sampson

“I worked as an Aboriginal Education Officer in Moree for 13 years, a job I really enjoyed. Now, as Aboriginal School Liaison Officer, I’m doing what I love best: working

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with schools and families in the Aboriginal community to help instil in their kids the value of getting an education. I’m very proud of what I’ve done in my career.”

“Doing the role of an Aboriginal Education Officer made me realise that I wanted to teach and would probably be good at it. I’m now in my third year as a teacher at Batemans Bay

Public School. The experience so far has been overwhelming; it’s been a very rewarding career. I’d like to think I’m a role model for my students.”

Rodney Wright


Kylie Caldwell

“I took on various roles in education including administrative work in the front office at school, and as an in-class tutor. I then got the opportunity to relieve as an Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer, which led to the position I now hold, as Aboriginal Student

Liaison Officer. I have responsibility for 60 schools in the Wilson and Richmond Valley network areas. When I see students who are happy and finding success in their school, and are proud of who they are, it’s a very rewarding feeling.”

“I started in education as a teachers’ aide and a mentor to students. After completing a Bachelor of Education majoring in Indigenous

Studies, I’m now an English teacher at Casino High School. My teaching career is brilliant; teaching English is my passion.”

Eli Pietens

Glen Cook Lorelle Morrissey

“I’ve played hockey for the Australian national team, but my proudest role is as mum to my two children. As School Administrative Officer at Kingscliffe High

School, I’m happy to be an Indigenous face at the school that students, parents and the community can relate to.”

Starting out as an Aboriginal Education Officer, I completed my teaching degree studying part-time. I started teaching at Tabulam Public School, then became Aboriginal Education Consultant for the Lismore district before becoming

principal at Cabbage Tree Island Public School. After five years, I decided to take up the assistant principal’s position at Evans River Community School, where I am now, to be closer to home.

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“We’re very passionate about ensuring that education is equitable and accessible to everyone.”


Ga i n i n g q u a l i f i c ati o n s t h ro u g h u n i ve rs i t y o r TA FE Each university recognises the specific educational needs of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders with Indigenous education centres. They work to empower and inform Aboriginal students by providing a point of contact for them with a focus on academic, personal and cultural support. They each also offer special admission programs and pathways into mainstream university courses. Through these programs individuals of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage and who are accepted as such by their community, can apply for alternative entry pathways. Prospective students who apply to universities through these alternative entry schemes are often asked to attend an interview. The entry process gives consideration to the fact that the educational experiences of Aboriginal people, coupled with individual aspirations and skills, may meet the criteria for entry. Take the time to research which university and course meets your needs and offers the best level of support.

There are some TAFE and university courses that are approved by the Department that may assist in furthering your knowledge and increasing your chances of obtaining a job, including: •C  ertificate III Aboriginal Education Assistants (TAFE) • D iploma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education – Australian Catholic University • B achelor of Teaching (Primary) (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) – Australian Catholic University • B achelor or Education (Primary) (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) – Australian Catholic University • B achelor of Education (Secondary) (Indigenous Studies) – Australian Catholic University • D iploma in Education (Aboriginal) – The University of Sydney • B achelor of Education (Secondary: Aboriginal Studies) – The University of Sydney • B achelor of Education (Primary) (AREP) – University of Western Sydney

•D  iploma in Indigenous Australian Community Studies (AREP) – University of Western Sydney (no longer offered as a stand alone program but subsumed within the above UWS bachelor degree program)

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S upp o r ti n g yo u r c a re e r The Aboriginal Education and Training Directorate was established in 2005 as a direct response to the Aboriginal Education Review. It coordinates key initiatives to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes and attendance and retention rates for Aboriginal students in NSW public schools and TAFE institutes, including Commonwealth education and training programs. The Aboriginal Education and Training strategy 2009-2012 is a corporate strategy for the Department with specific actions for TAFE NSW Institutes, colleges, campuses and community colleges, regions, schools, corporate portfolio areas and the Aboriginal Education and Training Directorate. The Directorate: • p rovides a strategic framework for the development of statewide policies for Aboriginal education and training • p rovides leadership, advocacy and advice in relation to education and training for Aboriginal students • d evelops culturally appropriate resources to support quality teaching and learning • a dministers and monitors Commonwealth funding for Aboriginal education and training • s upports the provision of the professional development of Aboriginal education workers and targeted Departmental staff. Contact the Aboriginal Education and Training Directorate on (02) 9244 5640 or email aboriginal.programs@det.nsw.edu.au.

“Aboriginal education is everyone’s

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responsibility. We try to form partnerships across different portfolios to ensure that we have a team approach to what we do.”


The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Inc (AECG) is an Aboriginal community-based organisation made up of volunteer members who are involved in Local and Regional AECGs throughout NSW. The NSW AECG, Inc. is recognised as the principal source of advice on behalf of Aboriginal communities on issues relating to education and training. Its vision is to provide advice on all matters relevant to education and training with the mandate that this advice represents the Aboriginal community viewpoint. The 2010-2020 Partnership Agreement between the NSW Department of Education and Training and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Inc is based on the principles of respect, commitment, collaboration and accountability in order to improve educational and training outcomes for Aboriginal learners. The Partnership Agreement is based on a genuine and practical approach to working together to improve outcomes for Aboriginal learners by ensuring that they have access to an education and training system that values their cultural heritage

and identity and supports their learning and career development through quality teaching practices, relevant policies and strategies and inclusive curriculum and training programs. The Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Inc aims to: • increase the active involvement of Aboriginal communities to strengthen networks at a local level • a dvocate that all students and educators understand and have knowledge of the significant issues and events in history of relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, from the viewpoint of Aboriginal people • p rovide appropriate training to members to enhance knowledge and skills on issues that impact on Aboriginal peoples’ access to and participation in education and training • e nhance involvement of members in all decision-making through collaborative processes • e stablish and maintain partnerships with relevant providers to ensure improved outcomes are achieved in the education and training of Aboriginal students.

Parent involvement and that of ALL the community is critical to improving education and training of Aboriginal students. You are encouraged, as an Aboriginal person, to become involved in your local AECG which can assist in making connections with your local Aboriginal community and community elders. For further information about the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Inc, advice on Aboriginal education and training, or how to set up and become involved in local AECG activities, contact the secretariat at: 37 Cavendish Street Stanmore NSW 2048 Phone: (02) 9550 5666 Web: www.aecg.nsw.edu.au

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“My teaching career means so much. I feel so privileged to have the ability to impact on so many people’s lives.” 27


Photographs in this booklet were taken on location at Alexandria Park Community School and Goonellabah Public School. Our thanks to the staff, students and parents of both schools for their assistance. Particular thanks to our featured staff who proudly shared their stories for this booklet. 10735-0810

JOIN OUR MOB  

An invitation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work in the NSW Department of Education and Communities