Rosalyn Thomas

The What Works website was launched on 15 June at the 5th National Indigenous Education & Boarding Symposium on Worimi Country near Newcastle. The What Works website provides know how and resources as guidance for boarding schools with Indigenous students.

 ‘From the beginning this wasn’t a project that would create a publication to replace the What Works Boarding paper from 2006. We were guided by the potential of technology to provide online access to knowledge of ‘what works’’, said Rosalyn Thomas, the Chair of the What Works Reference Group, Senior Consultant: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education with the Association of Independent Schools of NSW and IEBA Board member, in launching the website.

‘We had the view that by providing and promoting easily accessible information online it will be possible for school to improve practices and the skills of staff working with Indigenous students. As a result student retention should increase and education outcomes improve.’

The content to date includes existing resources and research as well as new material developed in consultation with students, parents, researchers, Transition Units, school leaders, boarding staff and Indigenous staff working in boarding schools. The release of the website isn’t the final word on what works.

‘We heard in the consultations that what works in one setting with a particular student may not work in another setting with other students. In other words, there are many things that work in different situations, with different students, with different families, different school settings and different locations’, explained IEBA CEO Greg Franks. 

‘That is why the website is an open platform for everyone involved in Indigenous boarding education to tell their stories and share resources with the whole country.’

To maximise the positive impact for Indigenous students, the website needs to be supported by face to face promotion to the boarding sector. That is why IEBA aims to take the Symposium around Australia on a What Works Workshop Roadshow in the later part of 2022.

The What Works to Support Indigenous Students Guidance for Boarding Providers project was supported by funding from the National Indigenous Australian Agency.