Research Background

Why do we need Culturally Nourishing Schooling?

Australia has so far failed to meet national education targets established in 2008 to Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in attendance, literacy, numeracy, and Year 12 completion.

More than $45 billion has been spent in the last decade to improve Indigenous student outcomes and engagement.

Yet there has been only minimal improvement to the long-term learning outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

School systems have been unable to establish and sustainably implement the raft of interconnected programs required to address the needs of these students. This continued failure to develop and implement appropriate programs to meet the cultural, social, and educational needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is perpetuating intergenerational cycles of educational disadvantage.

Aboriginal Voices Systematic Reviews

A team of 14 academics from 10 Australian universities carried out a system-wide review of more than 10,000 sources of Australian educational research literature spanning 2005 to 2017.

This review made clear that a whole-of-school approach is required for schools to address this deeply entrenched issue. 

The Aboriginal Voices project found there is often a disconnect between what teachers think they practice and what they are doing in the classroom or in their relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. It determined an array of long-term issues affecting the underachievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australia that need to be simultaneously addressed. 

It also identified what is working well; where teachers are supported to engage in robust professional learning, and families and communities are meaningfully involved in the life of schools and decision-making – which has informed a set of strategies that are now being tested in the CNS project.

Read the Aboriginal Voices reviews