Browse the Frequently Asked Questions below to address questions you might have about Narragunnawali, developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), using curriculum and professional learning resources, or if you'd like technical support. Please contact us if you can't find what you're looking for.
Who can get involved with Narragunnawali?Everyone! Anyone who is interested in reconciliation in schools and early learning services in Australia can be involved. We encourage you to become part of the Narragunnawali community whether you are part of a school or early learning service that is big or small; Government, Catholic or Independent; located in the country, the city or a regional town. Through the Narragunnawali platform, schools and early learning services can develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and teachers and educators can access professional learning and curriculum resources to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives.
What is a Reconciliation Action Plan?A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation. Narragunnawali RAPs provide schools and early learning services with a manageable and meaningful framework to establish or strengthen relationships with Aboriginal or Torres Strait people and organisations. RAPs also provide a blueprint to plan reconciliation activities in the classroom, around the school or early learning service and with the community. A RAP demonstrates to the community that your school or early learning service is forward thinking about reconciliation and committed to making positive and holistic change.
How do schools and early learning services develop a RAP?
Since 2014, schools or early learning services have used the Narragunnawali platform to develop RAPs. A RAP may be the beginning of a journey or a place to register existing initiatives. The platform provides teachers and educators with information and ideas around how to implement reconciliation commitments effectively. It also includes the flexibility to tailor these commitments to the unique context, needs and aspirations of your school or early learning service community. The platform also allows for members of the RAP Working Group to define goals, be assigned deliverables, and set timelines.
Below are the key steps to developing a RAP:
- Establish a RAP Working Group
- Complete the Reflection Survey
- Develop a Vision for Reconciliation
- Add RAP Actions, including 14 that are a minimum requirement
- Submit RAP to Principal or Director for approval and to Reconciliation Australia for review.
We don't have a high enrolment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at our school or early learning service. Can and should we still have a RAP?
Absolutely! All Australian students and children need to grow up understanding and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions to increase respect and build stronger relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community. Narragunnawali is perfectly suited to schools and early learning services that don’t have many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student enrolments.
How can teachers and educators engage with Narragunnawali professional learning resources?
Any way you like! Narragunnawali’s professional learning resources are designed to be teacher-led and can be used individually, in small groups or during staff meetings. The resources will help build all staff awareness and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, and contributions, and to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives.
All professional learning resources are linked to RAP Actions, and aligned to the National Quality Standard (early learning) and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (primary and secondary).
It is an expectation that, in committing to any RAP Action, staff commit to actively engaging in personal and professional learning and reflection. Sometimes, for some non-Indigenous staff in particular, this may actually become a journey of “unlearning”—of challenging assumptions and recognising that some of the things that they may have learnt about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures during their own education experiences may not have been entirely accurate, appropriate or adequate.
Finding out what you don’t know—or that what you thought you knew may be limited or problematic—can sometimes be a bit confronting or overwhelming. Before engaging in a professional learning activity, ensure that you create a safe, sensitive and supportive learning space, and remind yourself and your colleagues that Australia’s reconciliation journey is, at its core, a personal and shared learning journey.
How do we make sure we are using respectful and inclusive language and terminology?
Using respectful and inclusive language and terminology is an essential component of reconciliation and strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. Given the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identities across Australia, you should always seek advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in your local school or early learning service community regarding preferences and protocols around terminology use.
While they are guidelines only, below are some recommendations for using respectful and inclusive language and terminology. Please consider these guidelines, alongside guidance from your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, when preparing written statements such as your Vision for Reconciliation:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
It is often best practice to use ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ when referring generally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. ‘Aboriginal’ (and less commonly accepted variants such as ‘Aboriginals’ or ‘Aborigines’) alone is also not inclusive of the diversity of cultures and identities across Australia, for which reason it should be accompanied by ‘peoples’ in the plural. Furthermore, the term ‘Aboriginal’ is not inclusive of Torres Strait Islander peoples, and reference to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be spelt out where necessary. Pluralised reference terms such as ‘First Nations’ or ‘First Peoples’ are also acceptable language and respectfully encompasses the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identities.
What about ‘Indigenous’?
It is important to recognise that, in some parts of the country, the term ‘Indigenous’ can be considered offensive. That is, it has scientific connotations which have been used historically to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as part of the ‘flora/fauna’ rather than the human population of Australia, and can be seen as a problematically universalising or homogenising label for what are, in reality, highly diverse identities. An exception for the term ‘Indigenous’ is considered in some situations, for example:
- If an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person prefers and/or has approved the word ‘Indigenous’ to be used;
- If an organisation has appropriately referred to a program or job title (e.g. “Indigenous Programs Unit” or “Indigenous Programs Manager”)
- If the word ‘Indigenous’ has been appropriately embedded into an organisational i.e. Federal Government, State Government and Local Government—policy.
Some other important things to remember
- ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Torres Strait Islander’ should always be capitalised. As capitalisation demonstrates respect, also capitalise terms such as Indigenous, Traditional Owners, Custodians, Elders, and Country.
- Do not abbreviate ‘Aboriginal’ or ‘Torres Strait Islander’ or use the acronym ‘ATSI’.
- Assimilationist terms such as ‘full-blood’, ‘half-caste’ and ‘quarter-caste’ are extremely offensive and should never be used when referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Please remember that this is a guide only, and should not replace the advice from your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. If upon consulting with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community you find that the preferred terminology is different from the recommendations above, please contact us before submitting your RAP.
We are hoping to create a RAP that is shared across more than one school or early learning service—is this possible?
Yes. Two or more individual schools or early learning services can collaborate in the development and implementation of a cluster RAP.
When creating a RAP, select ‘Create a Cluster RAP’ and add the name of each school or early learning service individually. It is important that you have a member from each participating school or early learning service on your Working Group so you can jointly develop and implement the Actions within your RAP.
If you decide that a Cluster RAP is not specific enough for the unique setting of your school or early learning service, consider developing an individual RAP for your particular school or early learning service, and collaborate with other schools or early learning services as part of a wider reconciliation network. See the RAP Action Reconciliation Network for more information.
Can I be a member of a RAP Working Group for more than one school or early learning service?
Yes! You can be a member of multiple RAP Working Groups. For example, you might be a teacher at one school and a parent at another – there’s no limit!
What is the difference between the Goals and Deliverables that are under each RAP Action?
A Goal is an opportunity to describe your school or early learning service’s unique approach to a particular RAP Action.
A Deliverable is a specific task or step that will support the delivery of a RAP Action. Deliverables can be used as a planning tool that all RAP Working Group members can edit them at any time.
What is the process of submitting a RAP?
Before you can submit your RAP you must have established a RAP Working Group, completed the Reflection Survey, finalised your Vision for Reconciliation, and added at least the 14 required RAP Actions.
When click ‘SUBMIT RAP’ an email will be sent to the Principal or Director requesting their approval.
After the RAP has been approved by your Principal or Director, it will be automatically sent to Reconciliation Australia for review.
Once the RAP has been reviewed by Reconciliation Australia, your RAP can be downloaded, and a summary of the RAP will be published on the Narragunnawali platform.
What do we do once our RAP is published?
Take action! It is up to the RAP Working Group to continue to drive the RAP and ensure RAP Actions are being implemented. We encourage you to promote your RAP and associated Actions through newsletters, on your website, at events, and displaying it at the front desk or foyer. See RAP Action Staff Engagement with the RAP.
How do we know we are on the right track?
If your RAP is relevant and meaningful to your school and early learning service, and values building and developing ongoing relationships with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, then you are heading in the right direction. Be flexible, ask for feedback and continuously evaluate your RAP as you continue on your reconciliation journey.
Can we make changes to our RAP once it has been published?
Yes, you can edit your RAP Working Group membership, and add/edit Deliverables at any time without affecting the published RAP.
You can edit your Vision for Reconciliation, add/remove new Actions and add/edit Goals but your RAP will need to be reverted to draft and re-submitted to your Principal or Director for approval.
How long does a RAP last?
RAPs are valid for 1 year from when they are published. The RAP Working Group will be sent a reminder email to let you know when the RAP needs to be refreshed. Refreshing doesn’t mean starting all over again, though. Refreshing your RAP is the opportunity to update your RAP Working Group, think about what has been achieved in the past year by re-doing the Reflection Survey, make any updates to your Vision for Reconciliation, and extend your school or early learning service’s commitment to reconciliation by adding new Actions and Goals to your RAP.
I would like to contribute an idea to Narragunnawali. How can I do this?
Please contact us to share your ideas; we’d love to hear from you! It might be a suggestion for a new Action, a professional learning activity or a curriculum resource. We are always open to new ideas! Feel free to include learning outcomes, suggested inquiry questions, and detail about the activity itself.
I created an account but never received an activation email.
Please allow a few minutes for your activation email to arrive. If it still hasn’t arrived, check your junk mail folder. If it still hasn’t arrived, please contact us and we can assist.
I can’t log in to my account.
My school or early learning service isn't in the postcode-based drop down list.
No problems, we can add you! Please contact us and we will send you a basic registration form.
Our school or early learning service has changed its name but the old name is listed. How can we change it?
Yes. Please contact us and we can update the name of your school or early learning service.
We can’t download or print our RAP.
There are a number of reasons you may be unable to print your RAP.
- You need to add members to your RAP Working Group
- You haven’t completed the Reflection Survey
- You haven’t entered a Vision for Reconciliation
- You haven’t added all of the required Actions to your RAP
- Your RAP has not been approved by your school or early learning service’s Principal/Director
- Reconciliation Australia has not reviewed your RAP.
If all of the above steps have been completed but you still can’t download and print your RAP, please contact us and we can assist.