Project lead: NSW Department of Education
Project funding: $49,600 Round 3 2014
The Rural School Leadership Program provides mentoring and leadership opportunities for up to 20 early career Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers in rural and remote locations. Participants must demonstrate leadership capabilities and aspirations. Participants are matched with a current school leader who supports their professional development and assists in developing a detailed career plan.
Fifteen teachers participated in the 2015 program. The program fostered strong partnerships between participants, school leaders and members of the NSW Deadly Teachers Alliance. It also strengthened the existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders teachers mentoring network and is encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers to take on leadership roles.
The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and leaders has reached a critical mass for continued growth. The Department has a robust mechanism for supporting its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers including mentoring, follow up and attendance at regional meetings by members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Career Initiatives team.
Strong working partnerships have developed with the Secondary Principals’ Council, whose members are aware of what the leadership journey means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers, including the need to balance community obligations and professional responsibilities. Eighteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principals and the Department’s two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander directors attended an event for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deputy principals and aspiring leaders.
The teacher education scholarship program, while not a leadership program, is the cornerstone of the Department’s achievements in increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and leaders because of the high numbers being supported to train as teachers, graduate and be appointed to permanent teaching positions each year.
In 2016 2.5% of teachers in NSW public schools are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (cf 2.9% of NSW population, and 3.0% of the national population. Source: ABS 2014).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers are underrepresented in both primary and secondary promotional positions, with the exception of secondary principal (2.0% cf 1.9%).
More detailed statistics are available in the MATSITI Evaluation Report.
MATSITI evaluation conclusions
The Department has seen significant growth in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders at the mid executive level and is beginning to see increases at the higher levels of deputy principal and principal. There is growing confidence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers to put themselves forward for relieving in higher positions. The Department’s involvement with MATSITI has provided it with opportunities to showcase its achievements and its involvement in the national MATSITI community has inspired its leaders to attain MATSITI goals.
Due to the increasing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers employed in the Department, this program is well poised to build on its successes and address the under representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers in leadership positions.
Project contact: Veronica Willmott, Senior Manager, People and Careers at NSW Department of Education and Communities