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Quality schools for Aboriginal students

Conducted between 1997 and 1999, this Project aimed to identify the characteristics of schools and teachers that demonstrably improved the attendance and retention of Aboriginal students at school and their engagement in school learning. The Project worked with Years 7 to 12 in selected metropolitan and regional schools.

The project:

  • profiled the characteristics of effective teachers of Aboriginal students;
  • analysed Aboriginal views on how schools can be made more attractive to Aboriginal students, and how to engage them in learning;
  • collected and collated data on the extent to which Aboriginal parents were involved in the school; and
  • researched Aboriginal and Islander Education Workers' (AIEW) perceptions of their role.

Key outcomes found that:

  • primary students were more positive towards school than secondary students were;
  • many Aboriginal students:
    • want to attend and stay at school, and have parental support to do so, but are alienated by teachers;
    • want a relationship-based, student-centred pedagogy (as do their teachers);
  • parental involvement with the school varied across age of students, geographic location and gender; and
  • Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers (AIEO):
    • perceive their role as one of mediator;
    • have a strong sense of mission; and
    • are influenced in their attitude to schooling by teachers.

The Centre for Indigenous Australian Knowledges is conducting the review on behalf of the WA Education Department and the Australian Research Council.


Professor Gary Partington
Dr Ann Galloway

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