Outstanding Koorie Education Award Finalists

Outstanding Koorie Education Award Finalists for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards program.

Swan Hill Specialist School

The School Inclusion Team at Swan Hill Specialist School has embarked on a significant journey to acknowledge and represent local Wemba Wemba culture at the school.

Seeking opportunities to learn from Koorie leaders, staff at every level of the school have undertaken professional learning to improve their Koorie understanding and capability.

Creating many visual representations and acknowledgments of Koorie culture and perspectives at the school in partnership with the Wemba Wemba community, the inclusion team is working to create a culturally safe and inclusive environment for their Koorie students.

For each Koorie student at the school, the ways in which they can successfully learn and participate in education are respected as both an individual and from a cultural perspective.

Individual education planning and increased cultural representation and acknowledgement at the school is empowering Koorie students to succeed in their learning journeys and to celebrate their culture and identity.

Lilydale District and Yarra Valley Education Plan

The 6 schools of the Lilydale District and Yarra Valley Education Plan (Plan) have created a Collaborative Indigenous Strategy (Strategy) that is changing the lives and outcomes of Koorie students.

Collectively creating an educational environment where cultural safety, empowerment, and connection to cultural identity is an everyday experience for Koorie students, the Plan is working to create systemic change across the area.

Fulfilling the aspirations of the Strategy, the Plan is facilitating students’ access to Koorie leaders and mentors in support of students’ cultural and career aspirations. The Plan’s initiative in appointing a First Nations Advocate role at each school has now led to an advocate (a Murrung Lead) being embedded in every primary and secondary school in the Outer East Area — encompassing 150 schools.

The Plan is realising life-changing representation and opportunity for Koorie students, who are empowered to confidently celebrate their culture and identity at school.

Kurnai College

In 2022 Kurnai College identified a need to address Koorie students’ cultural safety in ways that could grow student’s confidence in their identity as Koorie people.

Forming relationships with the local Gunaikurnai community, service providers and support agencies, the Koorie Team has initiated many different ways to create positive systemic change for Koorie students and their families, and for all students at the College.

In 2023, a documentary (Stop, Rewind, Play) was produced in association with Kurnai College and featuring many Koorie students, members of the Koorie Team, community Elders and student mentors. The documentary was produced as a study guide that addresses the harms caused by racism, bullying and lack of cultural awareness, and how these can be changed through education.

Early adopters of department initiatives such as Campfire Conversations and Cultural Understanding and Safety Training, the Koorie Team is helping to increase the cultural safety and confidence in identity of Koorie students.