Indigenous students supported

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North Albany Senior High School principal Sharon Doohan is hopeful the State Government’s announcement to deliver more Aboriginal and Islander education officers into WA classrooms will help close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

From 2018, Albany Senior High School, Denmark Senior High School, Mt Barker Community College and NASHS will receive extra funding for the provision of AIEOs as part of an election promise from Labor.

Ms Doonan said the school’s AIEO, Rachel Brown, fulfilled several roles outside of general classroom support.

“Our AIEO also develops and maintains links with the community, supports the teaching and learning programs and provides advice on directions in Aboriginal education and culturally inclusive programs,” she said.

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“The AIEO supports our Aboriginal students in the areas of engagement, academic achievement, participation and attendance.

“AIEOs are highly valued members of the staff.

“They are a positive role model to our students.”

With national concerns regarding the stark contrast in life expectancy, education and employment opportunities between Aboriginal and non-indigenous people, Ms Doonan said the extra funding would help improve the situation.

“At NASHS reducing the gap is a priority,” she said. “We look forward to this additional funding — it will help us to progress achievement of our targets in our business plan which are aimed at reducing the gap.”

ASHS principal Jenny Firth said the funding would allow for increased support to students in need.

“We will be able to provide more targeted support to our Aboriginal students with literacy and numeracy needs,” she said.

As part of the announcement, ASHS will receive a 0.3 full-time equivalent AIEO in 2018 and 2019 along with DSHS and MBCC, while a 0.6 FTE will be added at NASHS in each of the next two years.

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