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In 2017 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs recognised that despite the best intentions … mainstream boarding, is not meeting the needs of Indigenous students. Recommendations included the need for an Indigenous Cultural Boarding Standard for Australian boarding schools and residences.

For the past five years, IEBA has been pursuing the development of a national Indigenous Cultural Boarding Standard, however, it is now recognised that an Indigenous Boarding Code of Practice (the Code) would be a more effective mechanism.

The Indigenous Boarding Code of Practice will provide much needed guidance to boarding schools by providing nationally consistent, culturally responsive boarding practices guidelines. A culturally safe and inclusive learning environment is essential for the effective education of Indigenous students, particularly for those from remote and very remote communities.

Boarding schools and residences that commit to implementing the Indigenous Boarding Code of Practice can expect to increase student retention, attendance and build student health and wellbeing. The Code will also provide assurance to Indigenous families that their children will be accommodated in culturally responsive boarding residences and appropriately supported to achieve their educational aspirations.

IEBA are aiming to develop the Code through engagement with education and Indigenous stakeholders during 2023. The Code will then be piloted by a range of schools before being implemented nationally in 2025.

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs
Dec 2017
Recommendation 15

The committee recommends that, by 2020, the Federal Government, in consultation with states, territories and Indigenous leaders, create a National Indigenous Boarding Strategy that will:

  • require boarding facilities to meet the standards outlined in the Boarding Standard for Australian Schools and Residences;
  • establish and require boarding facilities to meet a National Indigenous Cultural Standard; and
  • recognise and appropriately account for the physical and mental health needs of Indigenous students.