Breaking records in reconciliation

From a record social media followers and record number of members to the highest number of staff ever. However, what is most pleasing, is a record forty-three new Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) published on the Reconciliation Australia's Narrawanaggawali Reconciliation in Education Program in the final month of 2021.

According to Reconciliation SA’s Education Project Officer, most months there are an average of between five and ten RAPs published on the platform each month. This is a massive boost and incredibly promising.

When a RAP moves from a draft to a published RAP, it signifies that the school or early learning service are ready to start taking action and move forward on implementation.

The Narragunnawali program supports educators to understand what reconciliation means, and how to then plan for reconciliation initiatives using the template on the website.

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These conversations help educators to realise that reconciliation is achievable in their education settings, and that there are many things that you can do to progress reconciliation. Many teachers and educators working in education are not First Nations people, and the program supports them to see that there are many things they can teach about, such as anti-racism education.

The flow on effect is that Reconciliation Action Plans then have a huge impact on students, as they require sites to think about and then plan for what they are including in the curriculum. RAPs include fourteen required actions that schools need to implement, which means that a school should be inviting First Nations people into their classrooms, building strong connections with local community, working towards a culturally competent workforce and many more.

These actions impact students directly and support them to see the value that First Nation culture’s have in Australian society, and education is key for achieving a reconciled state.

Children and young people are literally the future, and through reconciliation in education, we can support their learning and understanding of our true history, and hopefully grow up strong and informed students, that will walk together with First Nations peoples.

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In addition to this progress, Reconciliation SA facilitated seventy-three face to face meetings with teachers and educators which resulted in education settings across South Australia beginning to develop or complete their Reconciliation Action Plans.

There were also forty-two Reconciliation SA facilitated anti-racism workshops held across 2021, and Race relations is one of the five dimensions of reconciliation.

When looking at anti-racism education, and how teachers can become anti-racist educators and allies to First Nations community, its only logical that they would do that using the Narragunnawali platform. Narragunnawali promotes anti-racism, by including “Take action against racism” as one of the fourteen required actions that need to be added to a RAP. By guiding teachers and educators to this action, and the connected professional learning and curriculum resources, we support them to understand that all their work can be part of a Reconciliation Action Plan.

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Finally, there were thirteen Reconciliation in Education workshops held across the year, which includes 385 participants in all.

These workshops focus on understanding what Reconciliation in Education means, and how teachers and educators can embed the dimensions of reconciliation in their practice within the classroom, in the school and in their local and broader communities.

Each workshop is also an opportunity to promote the Narragunnawali platform as something that can further develop their understandings of reconciliation, as well as access practical resources, including development of a RAP.

On a practical level, Reconciliation SA aims to ensure that each participating school and early learning service develops a RAP in their individual setting. On a wider community level, Reconciliation SA seeks to ensure that the information provided in these workshops inspires people to go to their schools and communities and share the information they have learned.