New advocate for Aboriginal Education Committee at NESA

The IEU’s new Aboriginal representative to NESA Debbie Long is passionate about making sure Aboriginal education is part of teachers’ “every day” and not just an “add on”.

The Holy Family Primary School Emerton Instructional Leader will provide advice to NESA about Aboriginal issues in relation to curriculum, assessment, teacher quality and school regulations.

She will then advise the IEU of any changes that may affect teachers or support staff and could require release time or additional PD.

Debbie is also a member of the IEU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee.

The NESA Aboriginal Committee group meets twice a year and consists of eight people from all sectors.

“I’m quite passionate about everybody being responsible for Aboriginal education, not just people that identify as Aboriginal,” Debbie said.

“It’s all about empowering teachers with the capacity to understand Aboriginal culture and history.

“Everybody should be an advocate for Aboriginal families, policies and education. It should be at the forefront of everything they do, a part of normal practice and not just something you add on.”

Debbie said she has been involved with coordinating 86 personal learning plans for Aboriginal families in the Parramatta Diocese in one school.

“These families have great aspirations and dreams for their children and they want them to succeed.

“They may need a little extra help to get there and as a collective we can all do something about that.

“I want to make everyone feel confident, the families and the teachers.”

Debbie said coming from the Mt Druitt area was an advantage as she had good links with a strong network of Aboriginal elders that could inform her contributions to NESA.

“Teachers should be enabled to know about what has happened in their community and I would like to see policies that make that occur.”

She would inform the IEU of changes to curriculum, new training, release time and PD that would be required for that so the IEU could “respond not react”.

Sue Osborne