In October 2011 the Department of Education and Communities commenced a consultation process with communities and stakeholder groups to develop a strategy to improve outcomes for children and young people in these schools and communities. The Connected Communities strategy is a result of this work. The strategy positions schools as community hubs. It broadens the influence of the community and school leadership, to play a role in the delivery of key services and in supporting children and young people from birth through school into further training, study and employment.
The strategy has been informed by advice from the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG), a broad consultation process with key stakeholders and research about extended service schools and place-based approaches to service delivery and community development.
The Connected Communities strategy will be co-designed with each community based on information from a comprehensive community profile including input from the community concerning the current strengths within the community and the community’s vision and aspirations.
This strategy complements a number of other reforms in education including:
- Local Schools Local Decisions which is enabling much greater authority and flexibility for principals to make decisions about how best to use the schools resources to improve teaching and learning outcomes
- Early Action for Success which emphasises high level instructional leadership in schools to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes in our most poorly performing schools
- Every Student Every School which provides a comprehensive range of reforms to strengthen learning and support in every school in NSW including for students with disability and learning difficulties.
The Connected Communities strategy has a number of key features including:
- Cultural awareness (Connecting to Country) delivered locally for all staff
- Teaching Aboriginal language and culture
- Additional school executive position – Leader: Community Partnerships
- Early years focus through to further learning and employment
- Personalised learning plans for all students
- Schools as a hub for service delivery
- Early intervention and prevention focus
- Partnership and co-leadership with the Aboriginal Community
- Partnership with a University and a TAFE Institute
The strategy would be strengthened by linking with an opportunity hub and/or place based service delivery model, however it is not reliant on these approaches.
To facilitate a rigorous evaluation of the Connected Communities strategy, an evaluation framework will be in place from the outset. This framework will include milestones, targets, key data and measures, and a collection and reporting schedule, as well as a proposed methodology for the data analysis.
The key deliverables are:
- Aboriginal children are increasingly developmentally ready to benefit from schooling – in their physical health, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication.
- Aboriginal families and community members are actively engaged in the school.
- Attendance rates for Aboriginal students are equal to the state average.
- Aboriginal students are increasingly achieving at or above national minimum standards and overall levels of literacy and numeracy achievement are improving.
- Aboriginal students are staying at school until Year 12 (or equivalent training).
- Aboriginal students are transitioning from school into post school training and employment.
- Aboriginal parents and carers report that service delivery from the school site is flexible and responsive to their needs.
- Aboriginal students and communities report that the school values their identity,culture, goals and aspirations.
- Staff report that professional learning opportunities build their capacity to personalise their teaching to meet the learning needs of all students in their class.
- Staff report that professional learning opportunities build their cultural understandings and connections with the community.
For further information on Connected Communities please see the links or contact details below:
Connected Communities Directorate
02 9244 5312