The Federal Government will invest $500,000 to “improve the experiences” of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding students and their families.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt made the funding announcement on 2 June.

A key aim of the funding is to give Indigenous families from remote areas a “genuine, independent voice” on the education and wellbeing of students.

Funding spread across two organisations

Half of the funding will be given to Indigenous Education and Boarding Australia (IEBA) over two years. IEBA have been asked to “bring together the latest and best information from the boarding sector and share best practice approaches with providers who specifically support Indigenous boarding students”.

The other $250,000 has been assigned to Remote Indigenous Parents Australia (RIPA) over a two year period to “establish a national network enabling Indigenous parents and families from remote areas to have a genuine, independent voice on the wellbeing and education of their children”.

In a statement about the announcement Minister Wyatt said recent reviews into support for Indigenous boarders found there was a need for enhanced collaboration between home and boarding schools and improvements to consistency between boarding providers.

Sharing knowledge

Mr Wyatt said the funding for IEBA would ensure boarding providers are better equipped to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarders as they transition to studying away from home.

“It will support the development of a freely accessible website containing information, guidance materials and resources for providers on how they can provide the best experience for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding students,” he said.

“IEBA will bring together a wide variety of information from parents, students, boarding providers and peak bodies and share resources from experienced organisations in the boarding sector.

“It will bring together (that) collective wisdom and provide a single, authoritative source of reliable information on what works best to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.”

Engaging parents a priority

Mr Wyatt said the new RIPA network would provide an avenue to “engage parents and families” and represent their views to schools and the boarding sector.

“It will provide access to independent learning spaces to host forums, workshops, conferences and support research initiatives to bring forward what really matters to students and their families.”

Read the statement in full.