Fund amount:

Program area:
Educational Equity



Cultural education portal to boost links with First Nations people

18 Oct 2021

A unique new online learning portal will provide an opportunity for all Victorian students to make connections with First Nations Elders.

The Ross Trust is providing the not-for-profit organisation SharingStories Foundation with $120,000 for a three-year project to develop their Cultural Education Portal. The Portal aims to build teacher confidence and capacity to deliver an inclusive curriculum that deepens students' understanding and respect for First Nations peoples and Cultures. 

The project is an important response to Victoria's need to Close the Gap in educational outcomes for First Nation students and has the potential to support up to 13,000 First Nations students’ capacity to learn in culturally safe school environments.

SharingStories works with First Nations Senior Cultural Custodians to develop community produced bilingual multi-touch books rich with important cultural knowledge interpreted through animations, language, and interactive maps. 

A trial of SharingStories educational resources in 2019, identified the biggest challenge for teachers implementing a culturally relevant curriculum was their limited understanding of Australia’s First Nations histories and cultures and the lack of authentic teaching resources. As part of this project, teacher resources and classroom cultural protocol documents will be created under the guidance of senior custodians and mapped against the Australian Curriculum in partnership with schools. The provision of authentic resources through the Cultural Education Portal will allow teachers to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures with confidence, strengthen school effectiveness and improve student engagement. 

SharingStories CEO Liz Thompson said the new Cultural Education Portal was unique in its capacity to:

  • offer teachers Koorie community produced and approved resources;
  • include Traditional Knowledges and histories as shared directly by Senior Custodians as part of classroom teachings;
  • acknowledge the diversity of First Nations peoples in Victoria assist in the development of culturally safe schools;
  • promote a strong sense of identity and belonging amongst First Nations students;
  • improve First Nations students’ engagement in learning; and
  • create a shared pride in Country and culture for all students.

The Ross Trust CEO Sarah Hardy says the project perfectly aligns with the trust’s focus on delivering education opportunities for vulnerable young Victorians. 

“We’re delighted to support thousands of First Nations students learning in culturally safe schools, as well as help 300,000 Victorian students develop connections with Elders and Country,” she said.

“It’s pleasing that community feedback, school surveys, and teacher and student case studies will measure the program’s success, and discussions will be conducted with Elders and community participants.”

Six months after the program’s conclusion, SharingStories will conduct an online survey with schools to ascertain the strength of ongoing school-community partnerships as a result of the portal and access to these unique resources. 

Read more about SharingStories