Project lead: Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA)
Project funding: $50,000 Round 4 2015
This two pronged initiative provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators at two critical times – during their preservice and post appointment to a Catholic school.
The preservice initiative (PSI) provides mentoring, coaching and paid work experience to address low retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander preservice teachers at university and help ensure they are job ready upon graduation. Partner universities are Notre Dame, Curtin, Edith Cowan and Murdoch, with positive relationships being built with their Indigenous support units. The early career teacher initiative (ECTI) supports newly appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers’ transition into teaching.
There were ten participants in the PSI, including two from regional locations, placed in ten schools where they were supported by the principal and a mentor teacher. Eight teachers participated in the ECTI. They were supported by a mentor and completed learning modules which included cultural reflection and affirmation. Three of the participants were supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) through the Indigenous Cadetship Support (ICS) program. A further three cadets will be sponsored by CEWA in 2016.
The project has involved a range of areas within CEWA and has strengthened relationships. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and community have been involved throughout the project.
Sharing of the project’s successes has taken place through presentations at meetings of a range of committees within CEWA. The MATSITI funding has enabled the integration of a number of programs which will form the Here to Teach suite. Ideas for the future include PSI and ECTI participants assisting in promoting teaching to interested school students and adding a leadership phase which has been piloted under the MATSITI funded CEWA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander School Leadership Pilot project.
The project will achieve sustainability through the appointment of a designated program coordinator and embedding the PSI and ECTI into the draft CEWA Aboriginal Education Strategy. CEWA plans to build on the success of this project by developing a seamless program which commences with promoting teaching to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students, supporting them through their preservice and early career, and developing their capacity as school leaders.
MATSITI evaluation conclusions
This project recognises the need to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander preservice and early career teachers in order to increase their chances of graduating, being employed and being retained in employment. The project also recognises the importance of developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers as leaders and the value their cultural identity brings to the teaching profession and to students.
This project demonstrates the synergies which can be achieved through a wide perspective which involves gaining commitment from within the organisation and beyond with a range of partners including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Sustainability of the project will be achieved through its inclusion in planning and reporting mechanisms and building on it in responsive ways.
Project contact: Norman Brahim, Aboriginal Scholarships & Cadetships, Catholic Education WA