This paper considers what is required to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are experiencing vulnerability. There are factors experienced specifically by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that may impact their educational experience, such as cultural identity and cultural connection. These factors may have a protective impact, or in their absence, a negative impact. Some factors may be related to broader issues concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia such as the impact of colonisation, dispossession and cultural dislocation, and dislocation of families through removal.
This paper starts with SVA’s definition of the cohort, considers the scale of the challenge, outlines the current ecosystem of support and includes some quotes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to describe their experience of education. It also documents SVA’s exploration of the SVA Education Driver Tree through the educational experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It then identifies the key drivers of better educational outcomes across home/community, the system and formal education environments for these children and young people. The paper provides examples of these drivers in action to highlight some activities in the sector that are creating promising outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.