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As part of its commitment to reconciliation and contributing to positive educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, Learning Links is incredibly proud to have been running a targeted literacy and numeracy program in school communities for the past five years.

Across almost all socio-economic indicators, Aboriginal communities are the most disadvantaged in our society. They often face multiple barriers to meaningful participation in education. Sadly, data tells us that most Indigenous students are 3-4 years behind their non-Indigenous peers by Year 9, which makes them significantly more likely to disengage with learning and drop out of school.

For the many Aboriginal children with learning difficulties who come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, access to the professional support they need can be particularly challenging. Their families not only lack the financial means to pay for critical intervention, but they may also lack the ability to provide the practical support their children need at home. Learning Links Aboriginal Education Program hopes to make a difference to the lives and future of these children.

To support this, Learning Links formed an important partnership with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) and the Liverpool Local AECG (LLAECG). AECG’s are not-for-profit organisations that provide an Aboriginal community perspective and advice on all matters relevant to education and training. 

Over the last four years, the LLAECG has conducted an annual expression of interest process in collaboration with local schools to identify schools and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who would benefit from Learning Links’ support and expertise. Given the life-changing outcomes that can be achieved from this evidence-based program, Learning Links has been fortunate to receive generous funding to offer it at no cost to a number of schools and students facing disadvantage.

This year, thanks to Perpetual’s IMPACT Philanthropy Program and funds generously donated from the Fred P Archer Charitable Trust, Learning Links was able to again partner with the LLAECH to provide individualised and small group education support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Years 1 to 4 at three schools in the Liverpool LGA.

The program, run by a Learning Links Education Specialist, enhances children’s capabilities and confidence in foundation literacy and numeracy skills. It provides intensive support to students facing learning difficulties and struggling to keep up with their peers, aiming to equip them with the necessary tools for success in learning, and in life. Importantly, the program also focuses on the need to recognise cultural differences in learning with the aim to bridge attendance and outcome gaps. To support student learning, it aims build capacity and upskill teachers, enabling them to better support children with learning difficulties in the classroom. The program also fosters a collaborative effort between home and school to enhance the learning process. 

Thanks to this funding, Education Specialists from Learning Links are partnering with each school one day per week for 30 weeks to support Aboriginal students. This initiative will empower 26 children with skills, strategies and confidence to master the foundational skills that will empower them to better reach their full learning potential. 

To date, feedback from each school has been extremely positive, with all affirming the program’s importance in assisting their students with literacy and numeracy. They are confident that the program will not only improve attendance rates but also enhance learning outcomes, ultimately narrowing the educational gap for their Aboriginal students. 

All of this has been made possible by the generous funding of Perpetual’s IMPACT Philanthropy Program and the Fred P Archer Charitable Trust. On behalf of Learning Links, and the schools and children being supported, we thank you for your commitment to helping us support Aboriginal educational outcomes.