Literature review

A systematic review of recent research on the importance of cultural programs in schools, school and community engagement and school leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education

Aboriginal Australians education Educational evaluation Indigenous education Schools Australia

This report provides a targeted review of a small subset of systematic reviews into ten critical areas of Indigenous education across Australia. The report commences with a description of the methodology used by the team of 13 senior academics across 10 universities who undertook a simultaneous systematic review of educational and social sciences research literature as part of the ‘Aboriginal Voices’ project. The purpose of this collaboration was to gain deeper insights and clarity from the over 13,000 studies that formed the initial set, from which they sought to gain understanding of the effective policies, practices and structures that were seen to enhance the engagement of Indigenous students in Australian schools.

Key findings:

  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities expressed their aspirations for their language and cultural programs to be made available through schools.
  2. Accessible cultural programs deepened students’ learning, appreciation and understanding of local knowledge and beliefs.
  3. Concerns that parental engagement was to primarily enforce contested school programs and interactions between students and the school.
  4. That there was little evidence of sustained success in forging school interactions with parents.
  5. That school and community engagement was dependent on the co-leadership of families and the school
  6. That leaders need to empower communities to be actively involved in with schools
  7. That leadership requires principals to share power with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander







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