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  4. What is the project about?
  5. Challenges
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A range of issues and challenges was initially identified by participants. These mostly related to their previous experiences with 'participation', ways to encourage and maintain the active and positive involvement of community members, the relevance of the curriculum, and problems confronted by students, especially Aboriginal students, as they make the transition to high school.

Expectations of teachers, students and parents

The expectations of participants varied at each site and within the groups. The previous teaching experiences of some of the teachers had initially led them to have low expectations of their students, especially their Aboriginal students.

Previous experiences

At all locations the teachers had worked previously with their AEAs but usually on issues related to student welfare. This project provided opportunities for the AEAs to act as key conduits for their communities into the curriculum innovation being trialled at their schools.

Relevance of the curriculum

Many of the community members and AEAs were able to provide ideas about what works for Indigenous students from their own experiences and from working with their children.

Testing regimes

Each team discussed the formal testing that students were expected to undertake and the difficulties that this caused – especially when it was acknowledged that many of the students entering Year 7 had only achieved Stage 2 or 3 Mathematics outcomes. A further concern was the embedded literacy levels required to complete the assessment as test items can be complex, requiring several steps in responding.


Many members of the Aboriginal community saw schools as being unfriendly places that did not meet their needs. With the support of the AEAs, the schools sought to change these perceptions.


Different models of communication within schools can significantly affect the operation of the project. Broad ongoing internal communication within a school is beneficial to a project.


The timing of a project can be significant. While this project was run during Terms 2, 3 and 4, it was sometimes affected by other school programs such as performances, testing and excursions.
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