Increasing the number of Aboriginal young people reaching their learning potential

Increase the proportion of Aboriginal students attaining year 12 by 50% by 2023, while maintaining their cultural identity.

Aboriginal students learning in a classroom

Why is this important?

Working towards Aboriginal students attaining their final school qualifications at the same rate as non-Aboriginal students is an important part of fostering equality of opportunity for Aboriginal people. Recent studies show a clear link between completion of year 12 and positive future employment and higher educational outcomes.  

Increasing the proportion of Aboriginal students attaining their Higher School Certificate (HSC) by 50% means that 1200 additional Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students will attain their HSC by 2023. To achieve this, it is imperative we work with Aboriginal communities, and accompany curriculum with language and culture to ensure young people maintain their cultural identity.

Engaging and including Aboriginal families and communities is essential to achieving the priority.

How are we tracking?

On average 46% of Aboriginal students attained their HSC in 2016 and 2017, which equates to 2100 students. Over the same period, 76% of non-Aboriginal students attained their HSC. The Premier’s Priority is designed to close this gap, and ensure that we are providing a culturally inclusive learning environment that fosters positive educational outcomes for Aboriginal students. 

Interim results for 2019 show that the proportion of Aboriginal students attaining their HSC decreased slightly from baseline to 45%. We are monitoring attendance and HSC results to understand and respond to the impact of COVID-19 on students’ learning through 2020.  

Download the Increasing the number of Aboriginal young people reaching their learning potential data information sheet (PDF, 147.58 KB)


What are we doing? 

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO), the NSW Department of Education and the Premier’s Implementation Unit are working together to support students to reach their learning potential and maintain connectedness to culture and the community. Some of the ways we are working towards this goal include: 

The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group’s Pirru Thangkuray Cultural Engagement and Goal Setting Program

This program is designed to be engaging and fun, and supports Aboriginal and other school students to build their self-esteem, self-confidence, cultural identity, sense of wellbeing and to realise their academic potential. Coaches from the local community support students to set cultural and academic goals. Pirru Thangkuray provides support in sustaining educational outcomes for students through the delivery of Aboriginal perspectives and culturally appropriate content. Learn more about the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc

Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centres

Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centres are being piloted in a number of schools across NSW. A key focus of Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centres is to improve student engagement, attendance, retention and HSC attainment, and support students at key transition points.  

Murrumbidgee Regional High School is one of the schools piloting the Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centres and has already seen positive impacts: 

 “This new L&E Centre is quickly becoming the place to coordinate a variety of supports for our kids. We feel the kids will get more personalised support and already feel safe and positive with the staff. We can see teachers are already responding to help kids in their classes.”
– community member 

“We have been asked what we want to support us at school. I want Aboriginal girls to do be able to do more interesting things and to help us do better in class.”
– student 

 “Our newly appointed [Head Teacher] has provided staff, students, AECG and community with an immediate sense of confidence and trust that our Aboriginal students will be better supported within this new resource.”
– school leader 

Locally-tailored cultural immersion and policy engagement for schools

The Aboriginal Education Policy commits to improve outcomes for Aboriginal students, and increase knowledge and understanding of the histories, cultures and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia. The NSW Department of Education is committed to strengthening the application of the policy across all public schools. This is further supported by the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, who deliver cultural immersion training to participating teachers and school staff to learn about local Aboriginal culture, history and social experience. 

Integrating Aboriginal culture into teaching and learning

The NSW Department of Education is committed to supporting schools to build the capability of staff to understand and develop teaching strategies for the cross-curriculum priority area: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures. NSW Department of Education staff will engage with culturally specific content and resources to support their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal histories and cultures and learn strategies to confidently embed and teach Aboriginal perspectives in their classrooms. 

Increasing Educational Attainment
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