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Principal’s Message
01.06.22

Edmund Rice Education Australia Touchstones

Justice and Solidarity

As an Edmund Rice Community we are committed to working with and walking alongside the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia, advocating justice and promoting reconciliation.

 

National Reconciliation Week

Reconciliation week marks a very important time each year in the life of our nation and our school. Throughout this week we reconfirmed our commitment as a College, to continue to learn more about our true history, our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The Theme for Reconciliation Week this year is “Be Brave, Make Change”. This theme challenges us to be brave in walking alongside our First Nations brothers and sisters and in our country’s journey toward reconciliation. Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures. (Reconciliation Australia Website)

This time last year we launched an important piece of work that members of our staff developed in conjunction with members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander local community. We have established what is called a Reconciliation Action Plan. This Plan outlines the Actions that we have begun to introduce into our school to raise our awareness about the role we all play in in righting the wrongs of the past. This plan is an important step for our community. In living out this plan, we are making a commitment to some of the important core values of our school.

Throughout Reconciliation week, we participated in a range of activities designed to raise our awareness about the issues faced by our nation in relation to reconciliation, we engaged in learning activities that promoted a greater understanding about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, people, their culture and heritage.

Click to View Plan

I would like to acknowledge the great work of the Reconciliation Action Plan Committee who have devoted a great deal of energy into preparing not only the activities of the past week, but have commenced working with all members of staff in developing ways in which we can introduce learning experiences across all subject areas to pay respect to our First Nations peoples, culture, heritage and spirituality and gain a better understanding of what true reconciliation should look like. The members of the RAP Team are Mrs Mantellato, Mr Griffin, Ms Moulten, Mr Griffin, Mrs Lynn, Mr Dell, Mr Rozario and Mr Beacroft.

One of the activities that we invited students to participate in last year was to vote on the naming of the Wellness Centre with a title from the local Darkinjung Language. Through a process of student voting, it was decided that the centre would forever be titled YADHABA, which in Darkunjung means become well. The symbolism represented on this sign include Aboriginal Artwork depicting the four EREA Touchstones of Liberating Education, Gospel Spirituality, Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity. The watermark which also appears on the sign which shows two people arm in arm is the symbol for the Liberating Education Touchstone. This Touchstone maintains as a central theme, our commitment to enabling students to experience personal achievement within a safe, supportive and healthy environment, which aligns closely with the operational values of the Wellness Centre.

Our challenge as a community now lies in ensuring that we commit to developing our own understanding of Reconciliation, not just during Reconciliation Week but in our lives. We are challenged to commit to being brave and take actions in our lives in building strong relationships and connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and futures.

An important activity that was conducted in homeroom each morning was to discuss with students the significance of the tradition of acknowledging country. Each student was provided with the opportunity to write their own Acknowledgement of Country and share with members of their homeroom. I have included below some examples of student responses to this work which demonstrates their clear understanding and respect of our First Nations people.

Student Acknowledgements 

Charlie Shannon Year 11: Our connection to the land that lies beneath our feet is critical, as we are the stewards and caretakers of land that isn’t our own. It is land we adopt and thought to protect and care for, as First Nations people did before us. Our land is surely and solemnly part of our culture until the end of time.

Oliver Irvine Year 7: Our land is a sacred place in which we should look after. We honour the Darkinjung and Guringai people, who are the owners of this land. We should pay our respects to all of those people.

Anonymous Year 9: When I go on walks in the bush, I feel connected to the land that belonged to others many years ago. It is our responsibility not to take  anything and preserve this land, and acknowledge who owned and took care of it before us.

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)

Every year, all schools in Australia participate in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD). The NCCD process requires schools to identify information already available in the school about supports provided to students with disability. These relate to legislative requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005, in line with the NCCD guidelines (2019).

Information provided about students to the Australian Government for the NCCD includes:

  • year of schooling
  • category of disability: physical, cognitive, sensory or social/emotional
  • level of adjustment provided: support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice, supplementary, substantial or extensive.

This information assists schools to:

  • formally recognise the supports and adjustments provided to students with disability in schools
  • consider how they can strengthen the support of students with disability in schools
  • develop shared practices so that they can review their learning programs in order to improve educational outcomes for students with disability.

The NCCD provides state and federal governments with the information they need to plan more broadly for the support of students with disability.

The College Leader of Diverse Learning Mrs Katie Neilly, and our Diverse Learning Team, are currently working with teachers, students and families to identify students who qualify for learning assistance under this scheme. The NCCD will have no direct impact on any students and students will not be involved in any testing process. The school will provide data to the Australian Government in such a way that no individual student will be able to be identified – the privacy and confidentiality of all students is ensured. All information is protected by privacy laws that regulate the collection, storage and disclosure of personal information. To find out more about these matters, please refer to the Australian Government Privacy Policy

Further information about the NCCD can be found on the NCCD Portal (https://www.nccd.edu.au).

If you have any questions about the NCCD, please contact the Mrs Katie Neilly via the front office on 4321 6400 or via email at kneilly@stedwards.nsw.edu.au

Accurate Parent Contact Details

It is crucial for the efficient operations of the school that family contact details on record at the College are accurate so that we can ensure that you are receiving all relevant information from the College and that we are able to contact you in the event of an emergency. If your details have changed and you have not notified the College, please email our Enrolments Administrator, Mrs Kellie Atkinson on katkinson@stedwards.nsw.edu.au to update your contact details.

 

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