Collaboration strategies for schools

  • Generate and maintain contact with relevant local services that enable appropriate referrals and support the sharing of services and capability.
  • Develop a school alumni group to encourage ongoing contributions from past students, families and staff. This can be especially useful where alumni also represent local cultural communities (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander).
  • Open school facilities for community use, including adult learning, community meetings and community interest groups.
  • Build networks to establish a community integrated student support/health/early childhood services hub, including Child and Family Centres.
  • Work with local industry to develop opportunities that enhance student learning, work experience and transition to work.
  • Work with local community and business groups to develop shared policies and approaches that support effective learning and positive community outcomes - for example, anti-truancy measures or community volunteering.
  • Design and develop learning community collaboration strategies that are appropriate for supporting children at different ages and stages of development. For example:


Establish a local network focused on holistic support for early years learning and development in conjunction with local community nursing, parenting, child care and kindergarten services.

Work with the parents and community to explore the use of facilities for a community playgroup.

Years 3-6

Encourage parents and community members to get involved in activities for Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools (EATSIPS), such as sharing traditional culture and stories.

Work with local high schools and other providers to develop transition programs from primary into junior secondary.

Years 7-9

Develop a comprehensive school community profile, including talents and skills that might be utilised by the school.

Establish or access local networks that are focused on adolescent learning and development issues (e.g. engagement, drugs, human relationships). Enlist experts to work directly with teachers and students.

Years 10-12

Reach out to local higher education and training providers to explore opportunities for students to participate in extension, transition and articulation activities from secondary to post-secondary education.

Establish a working group of students, parents and staff aimed at developing communication channels and networks with the community - for example to support transition to employment or vocational education and training.

Establish a student alumni group to extend and strengthen networks.

Specific strategies to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Making of Stronger Smarter - Chris Sarra

The Making of Stronger Smarter - Chris Sarra

Stronger Smarter Institute Director Chris Sarra explores the principles for schools collaborating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities FLV, 4:58mins). Click through to Youtube to learn more about The Making of Stronger Smarter.

  • Begin with effective communication strategies to establish a sense of mutual respect and trust. See communication strategies for schools for more information.
  • Outreach into the communities, rather than waiting for members of the community to approach the school.
  • Seek community collaboration that helps to build meaningful, respectful partnerships between the school and the community that provide opportunities to build a positive perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, their capabilities, aspirations and potential contributions.
  • Some schools and communities employ formal written agreements between the school and community groups. Such agreements can signal to the whole community that everyone is serious about their shared goals. Care must be taken to ensure these agreements genuinely reflect the shared desires of all parties and are followed. More advice about formal agreements is provided on What Works - the Work Program
  • Consult key staff for advice on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, carers and communities, such as Regional Community Education Counsellors, school based Community Education Counsellors (CECs) or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teacher Aides.
Last reviewed
14 December 2015
Last updated
14 December 2015

Creative Commons Licence - Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC

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