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Celebrating Australia's rich history

This morning I was privileged to visit Hampton Senior School and watch a special Reconciliation Week screening of the inspiring documentary ‘Owning Your History’.

The short film tells the inspiring story of Brianne Yarran, Year 12 graduate and winner of the Commissioner’s Participate Award at the 2016 WA Youth Awards.

The new documentary records the powerful journey Brianne embarked upon to discover more about her connections with the Stolen Generations.

At the morning tea following, it was great to meet the passionate people, some of whom are working as part of the Follow the Dream program, who are truly invested in supporting the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Reconciliation Week is a wonderful reminder of the importance of continuing to build our respect and understanding of Australia’s rich history and culture, something Aboriginal children and young people have told my office is vital to their wellbeing.

Yesterday I also had the pleasure of speaking at the Institute for Professional Learning’s ‘Leading a Culturally Responsive School’ seminar.

This event had a particular focus on using research and collaboration to create well-informed and culturally inclusive learning programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

I spoke about how, through many consultations, Aboriginal children and young have spoken about the importance of school and learning to their future wellbeing, and how too many have expressed concern that, for many reasons, their attendance and engagement is not sufficient.

There are some highly successful programs like Follow the Dream that are playing a crucial role in bridging the gap between school and culture, however more can be done to increase engagement and improve the self-esteem for Aboriginal students.

Thank you to Brianne and Hampton Senior High School, and to the Department of Education for hosting me.