For Aboriginal students to reach their full potential, it is important to recognise the role of Aboriginal parents as the first educators of their children and to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities in the educational process. Their cultural knowledge and personal histories are invaluable resources in promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their histories, culture and languages. The CSO recognises that seeking advice and assistance from the local community, in particular with Aboriginal elders, is important when planning, implementing and evaluating programs.
A Curriculum that is truly Australian should provide opportunities for all students to develop knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal heritage, cultures and contemporary issues, and promote high expectations of Aboriginal students through quality teaching and learning opportunities.
The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools Office Aboriginal Education Policy "is underpinned by the Vision for Catholic Schools, particularly the hopes for Diocesan schools to recognise the individuality and dignity of each young person, and foster the development of each one’s unique potential and spirituality" (Forming Catholic Minds & Hearts).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education has been developed to support schools to be aspirational in their work towards achieving those key strategies including:
- improving and celebrating educational outcomes and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students;
- developing links with Aboriginal families and communities;
- understanding and appreciating the significant issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their aspirations;
- developing the knowledge, appreciation and understanding of staff, students and school communities about Aboriginal Australia;
- supporting Aboriginal heritage, culture and spirituality;
- supporting the Church’s commitment to social justice.