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Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests
Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests are an initiative of OCHRE, the NSW Government’s community-focused plan for Aboriginal affairs. They support local communities with realising their visions and aspirations to revitalise, reclaim and maintain their traditional languages through the teaching of Aboriginal languages in schools.
OCHRE recognises Aboriginal languages and cultures as a unique component of Australia’s heritage, and a fundamental affirmation of Aboriginal identity, spirituality and connection to Country. Under OCHRE, five initial Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests are established across the state.
An Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest is a network of communities bound together by their connection to an Aboriginal language. The Nests bring communities together around their traditional languages and link to schools, TAFE NSW, universities and other community language programs and/or groups.
Each Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest has a base school which receives funding each year for administrative support and to employ Aboriginal language tutors at schools within the nest.
Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests are designed to provide a continuous learning pathway for Aboriginal students. The language skills and knowledge of Aboriginal language and culture holders and speakers from local Aboriginal communities are critical to the continuing development and support of teaching and learning in the nests.
The Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest initiative is being led by the Department of Education in partnership with the NSW Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group Inc. (AECG), the peak advisory group on Aboriginal education in NSW.
The five Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests are:
The Bundjalung Language and Culture Nest was launched in Lismore on 20 February 2014. The base school for this nest is Goonellabah Primary School. The Bundjalung Language and Culture Nest spans communities in Lismore, Kyogle, Tweed Heads, Ballina, Evans Head, Woodenbong, Grafton, Tabulam, Coraki, Casino and Bonalbo.
The Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay/Yuawaalayaay Language and Culture Nest was launched in Lightning Ridge on 2 May 2014. Its base school is Lightning Ridge Central School. The Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay/Yuawaalayaay Language and Culture Nest includes communities in Lightning Ridge; Walgett, Collarenebri and Goodooga.
The Gumbaynggirr Language and Culture Nest was launched in Coffs Harbour on 19 February 2014. Its base school is William Bayldon Primary School, Coffs Harbour. The Gumbaynggirr Language and Culture Nest covers communities in Coffs Harbour, South Grafton, Macksville, Orara, Nambucca Valley, Sawtell, Toormina, Northern Beaches, Dorrigo, Urunga and Bellingen.
North West Wiradjuri
The North West Wiradjuri Language and Culture Nest was launched on 25 October 2013. Its base school is Dubbo Primary School. The North West Wiradjuri Language and Culture Nest has established strong links in communities in Dubbo, Narromine, Peak Hill, Trangie, Gilgandra, Wellington and Mudgee, and public schools located there.
The Paakantji/Baakantji Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest was launched on 30 April 2014. Its base school is Wilcannia Central School. The Paakantji/Baakantji Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest includes the communities of Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Menindee, Bourke, Mildura and Coomealla.
All five Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests were established following extensive local Aboriginal community consultation and are continuing to develop and grow through the guidance and support provided to each local nest’s reference group by the NSW AECG Inc.
Aboriginal Language teachers and tutors
Each Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest has an Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest Teacher attached to it. The teacher’s work is to collaborate with schools, local Aboriginal language holders and/or speakers and the reference groups for their nest. Nest teachers develop quality Aboriginal language for Aboriginal and other students, and collaborate with their reference group on the engagement and professional development of Aboriginal language tutors.
Aboriginal language tutors are critical to the teaching and learning of Aboriginal languages in the nest schools. Aboriginal language tutors are local Aboriginal language speakers. Schools are encouraged to support Aboriginal community members in their role as speakers and teachers of Aboriginal languages. Aboriginal language tutors are responsible for helping students to learn an Aboriginal language that has been approved by the local community. Tutors are employed in accordance with the NSW Department of Education’s policies and procedures.
The teaching and learning of Aboriginal languages in schools across the nests is also supported by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), formerly known as the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES).
NESA provides guidance for the teaching of Aboriginal language programs for students from Kindergarten to Year 10 in schools through its Aboriginal Languages K–10 Syllabus, June 2003, which is available here.
NESA’S Aboriginal Languages Advice on Programming and Assessment for Stages 4 and 5, 2013, for students in Years 9 and 10 is available here. Its Aboriginal Languages Stage 6 Content Endorsed Course Syllabus, 2015, for students in Years 11 and 12 is available here.
Want to know more?
Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests are delivered by the Aboriginal Education and Communities directorate, NSW Department of Education.
Phone: (02) 9244 5751
The Department of Education
NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group
NSW Education Standards Authority