The challenges of education in Australia’s remote majority indigenous communities are complex and persistent. The best intentions and considerable resourcing over decades haven’t translated into consistently higher quality instruction and unfortunately, not a significant improvement in broader education outcomes.
This paper documents the challenges faced on the ground by educators in Western Australia’s Kimberley Region, as well as the lessons being learned by a current initiative providing intensive training and professional development across 24 schools. The Kimberley Schools Project is evidence of a scalable model that privileges high impact instruction alongside attention to attendance, pre-school programs, and community engagement.
Overcoming indigenous educational disadvantage is possible with the right teaching approaches and school policies. It demands abandoning flawed and antiquated teaching approaches that have become popular in indigenous education, as well as commitment to high expectations, and better preparation and development of teachers and school leaders.
Advancing indigenous educational outcomes is a key national priority and much can be learned from the successes being delivered in participating Kimberley schools.