GENERAL - NARRAGUNNAWALI: RECONCILIATION IN EDUCATION
What do you mean, 'reconciliation?'
‘Reconciliation’ is a complex term that can mean many different things to many different people. In many ways, it can be considered quite a contestable term in that it implies an inherent or initial ‘conciliation.’ However, in acknowledging the truths of colonial Australia’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it becomes clear that this relationship has been historically characterised by a number of (often intergenerational) injustices, such as physical violence, forced dispossession of traditional lands, and overt and unapologetic racism.
Drawing the very diverse perspectives around reconciliation together, and drawing on both national and international research, the landmark The State of Reconciliation in Australia report (2016) nevertheless found that, at its core, reconciliation comprises five integral and interrelated dimensions: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; and unity. Engaging with Narragunnawali provides an opportunity for educational communities to weave these dimensions together in positive and practical ways, and to harness the powerful role that education – learning, un-learning and re-learning – has to play within our nation’s reconciliation journey.
Who can get involved with Narragunnawali?
Everyone! Anyone who is interested in reconciliation in education across Australia can be involved. We encourage you to become part of the Narragunnawali community and to freely access the professional learning, curriculum and wider resources on the Narragunnawali platform, whether or not you are formally connected to a school or early learning service, and whether or not your school or early learning service has committed to developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Schools and early learning services can develop RAPs via the Narragunnawali platform no matter whether they are big or small, or are located in the country, the city or a regional town. The Narragunnawali RAP development process caters for primary, secondary, senior secondary and combined schools within the Government, Independent and Catholic sectors, as well as diverse early learning services ranging from early childhood education and care centres, preschools, family day care centres, and out of school hours care services. Teachers and educators can access professional learning and curriculum resources to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives.
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.
To support you on your professional learning journey, you can also freely register to participate in one or more of our Narragunnawali webinars.
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 feedback and new ideas! Feel free to include learning outcomes, suggested inquiry questions, and detail about the activity itself.
RECONCILIATION ACTION PLANS
What is a RAP and why should my school or early learning service develop one?
A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation. A school or early learning service can develop a RAP using the Narragunnawali platform to register and extend on existing initiatives, or to begin a new journey. Narragunnawali RAPs provide a manageable but whole-scale framework for driving reconciliation in education, with a holistic focus on strengthening relationships, respect and opportunities in the classroom, around the school and with the local community alike.
While a RAP represents a plan of action, it is important for schools and early learning services to ensure that their RAPs also function as ‘living documents’ – entering into the RAP development process with integrity; purposefully embedding RAP commitments into everyday practice; and engaging in ongoing critical reflection, consultation and collaboration with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and community members will help schools and early learning services to remain accountable to their selves and their communities and to contribute to active and sustainable 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
How do we make sure we are using respectful and inclusive language and terminology in our RAP?
While the language connected to RAP Action commitments is auto-generated when you add an Action to your RAP, there are opportunities to personalise the language used when setting Action-aligned Goals and Deliverables, and when writing your Vision for Reconciliation statement. 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. The ways in which we speak about reconciliation are just as important as the ways in which we act towards it; language is itself active, and can impact on attitudes, understandings and relationships in a very real and active sense. For more information please see Narragunnawali's Guide to Using Respectful and Inclusive Language and Terminology.
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. Reconciliation is everyone's business, and for everyone's benefit. Narragunnawali is perfectly suited to schools and early learning services that don’t have many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student enrolments.
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. More information about the Cluster RAP model can be found in the Establishing Your RAP Working Group - FAQs sheet.
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! For more information, see the Establishing Your RAP Working Group - FAQs sheet.
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, aspirational approach to a particular RAP Action.
Most schools and early learning services choose to keep their Goals hidden from the published RAP document for confidentiality/privacy reasons. However, should your school or service wish to have its RAP Goals published, please notify the Narragunnawali team at the time of submitting your RAP to Reconciliation Australia for final review.
A Deliverable is a specific task or step that will support the delivery of a RAP Action. Deliverables can be used as dynamic planning tools that all RAP Working Group members can add to, edit and check off even after the RAP has been published.
Deliverables are always kept hidden from the published RAP document in that they are intended to be flexible internal planning tools rather than public statements of commitment.
To learn more about Goals and Deliverables, see the Setting Goals and Deliverables FAQs sheet.
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 the Chair of the RAP Working Group clicks ‘SUBMIT RAP,’ an email will be sent to the Principal or Director requesting their approval.
After the Principal or Director then clicks 'APPROVE RAP', the RAP will be automatically sent to Reconciliation Australia who will review the RAP's Vision for Reconciliation and Acknowledgement of Country statements prior to publication.
Once the RAP has been reviewed by Reconciliation Australia, your finalised RAP document and poster can be downloaded, and a summary of the RAP will appear on the interactive Who has a RAP? map.
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.
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.
In order to edit your Vision for Reconciliation, add/remove new Actions after your RAP has been published, your RAP will need to be reverted to draft and re-submitted to your Principal or Director for approval. Reflection Survey responses are also unable to be edited while the RAP is published, although you will be encouraged to re-complete the Reflection Survey every 12 months after publication, when the RAP is automatically reverted to draft for refresh purposes.
How do we know we are on the right track, and not being tokenistic?
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.
As well as consistently consulting and collaborating with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, re-completing the Reflection Survey every 12months; tracking your progress against RAP Actions, Goals and Deliverables; and critically engaging with professional learning resources such as the Tackling Tokenism example are just some ways in which you can meaningfully reflect on, evaluate, and celebrate, RAP progress.
How to build relationships with community?
Committing to building mutually trusting and respectful relationships with community is considered one of the minimally required RAP Actions necessary for fostering reconciliation in a whole-scale sense.
Strong examples of reconciliation in education demonstrate an active awareness of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identities, histories and cultures both within and across communities, all the while being relevantly and responsively contextualised, localised and personalised. They are founded on a commitment to building sustainable, transformational relationships rather than short-term ‘transactional’ relationships, based on deep conversations, consultations and collaborations with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.
Remember that, as with any relationship, it may take time to get to know each other and to create an atmosphere of shared safety and trust. It is also important not to put too much pressure on community members to be involved, recognising the past injustices that they may have faced in colonial education contexts, and bearing in mind that it is generally most respectful to establish a relationship before asking community members to contribute to activities in your school or early learning service. Genuinely investing thought and time into building relationships with community will help to support strong and lasting partnerships, and friendships.
See the Build Relationships with Community RAP Action page for more information and ideas.
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 to ensure it remains a dynamic and living document. Refreshing doesn’t mean starting all over again, though - while a RAP is automatically reverted to draft every 12 months after publication, all data from the previous version of the RAP will be retained within your school or early learning service's Narragunnawali RAP account. Refreshing your RAP is an opportunity to update your RAP Working Group membership details, think about what has been achieved in the past year by re-completing the Reflection Survey, make any meaningful updates to your Vision for Reconciliation, and extend on your school or early learning service’s commitment to reconciliation by adding new Actions to your RAP.
How can community members connect with Narragunnawali, and with local schools and early learning services?
Narragunnawali acknowledges that, even if they may not be teachers or students, essentially every Australian is connected with a school or early learning service environment – whether as a parent, a family member, a provider of educational goods and services, or a wider local community member.
While reconciliation is just as much (if not more so!) the responsibility of non-Indigenous Australians, local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members can powerfully contribute to school and early learning services’ reconciliation journeys by helping to ensure that these journeys are as meaningfully contextualised, and as culturally safe and responsive as possible. Narragunnawali encourages community members to have their voices heard on RAP Working Groups; to consider contributing to reconciliation activities such as collaborating in the celebration of significant community and cultural events, or providing advice around how local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content and perspectives may be respectfully incorporated in curricula; and to hold local schools and early learning services accountable to their reconciliation commitments. After all, reconciliation is everyone’s business, and for everyone’s benefit, and so it is important for schools and early learning services not to place unfair expectations on their communities to represent sole drivers of the reconciliation process, but instead to talk and walk together with community, and with integrity.
What terms and conditions apply to RAPs?
RAPs are unique and highly valued documents. Reconciliation Australia has worked extensively with its stakeholders to develop and build both the workplace RAP Program and the Narragunnawali program for schools and early learning services. To maintain the integrity of our programs, the Reconciliation Australia and Narragunnawali logos are Trade Marked through IP Australia. Organisations, schools or early learning services that choose not to be part of Reconciliation Australia’s RAP programs, or who have not developed RAPs through to final endorsement/publication stage via these programs, should not use the words ‘Reconciliation Action Plan,’ ‘RAP,’ or the Reconciliation Australia or Narragunnawali logo on public websites or documents.
If, after developing your RAP through to public stage via the Narragunnawali platform, your school or early learning service wishes to incorporate any personalised design work into the final RAP document, you would need to include the following statement to clarify where the Narragunnawali RAP framework, text and design features have been directly adapted: “This document has been adapted from [School]’s Reconciliation Action Plan, developed through Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education program”.
Why do I need to set up a personal Narragunnawali user login?
Having a personal Narragunnawali user login (using your own name and unique email address) means that you can:
• freely access the full suite of resources on the Narragunnawali platform
• save your favourite Narragunnawali professional learning and curriculum resources
• be a member of more than one RAP Working Group
• keep track of all Actions and Deliverables that have been specifically assigned to you
• have your name published as a Working Group member on the final RAP document
• receive reminders and notifications about your RAP (e.g. when your RAP is published by Reconciliation Australia, or when it is due to be refreshed)
• receive Narragunnawali news and updates directly to your inbox
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 into my account.
My school or early learning service isn't in the postcode-based drop down list when I follow the prompts to "Create or Join a RAP".
No problems, we can add your school or service to our system! 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?
Please contact us and we can update the name of your school or early learning service.
Why does our RAP contain a DRAFT watermark?
The DRAFT watermark is included on the RAP poster and document until it is made public by Reconciliation Australia.
I can't download/print my RAP document or poster.
Please make sure you have a PDF reader installed (e.g. Adobe).
If you still can’t download and print your RAP, please contact us.