Woodleigh – working towards Reconciliation


Woodleigh School is located on the estate of the Mayone Balug clan of the Boon Wurrung / Bunurong people and is proud of its connection and relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our recent Reconciliation Week was a wonderful celebration of this connection but also a reminder of the journey still left to travel as we work towards genuine reconciliation.

In partnership with Reconciliation Australia, Woodleigh School has committed to implement a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to advance the process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as Indigenous Australians, and non-Indigenous Australians. Our student Reconciliation Group, under the leadership of Carey Saunders, will also be involved in the development of our RAP as will our broader school community. At the Reconciliation Dinner, held at the Minimbah Campus recently, we started the process of adding the voice of the community to the RAP process.

At a Senior Campus assembly during Reconciliation Week, AJ Williams-Tchen, Director of the Girraway Ganyi Consultancy, highlighted the ongoing ‘gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as well as his own personal story of family separation. It was a timely reminder of the work still to be done as we work towards the goal of genuine reconciliation. AJ will be working closely with the school next term as a consultant to help us review and strengthen the support we provide to our Indigenous students here at the school as well as helping us to review our curriculum. We are very keen to build on the incredible legacy of Peter Aldenhoven and Jeanette Kaindel, further strengthening our Indigenous Education Program as well as work towards the goal of reconciliation. The introduction of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme here at Senior Campus provides a further vehicle to strengthen this commitment.

Images: Beanie Festival 2018

One aspect of our Indigenous Education Program is our relationship with the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Gathering Place in Hastings. Peter Aldenhoven is now Executive Officer of Willum Warrain and we are thrilled to announce that Peter will be opening our school’s Beanie Festival here at the Senior Campus on Saturday 27 July. The festival has been developed over the last few years by a dedicated group of parents led by Cathy Norman, Jacki Bisset and Marnie Simpson with the intention to build our community and raise money and awareness for our school's Indigenous Community Partnerships. We are keen to involve Willum Warrain this year as we have in the past and use the festival as a means to advocate for reconciliation.

Information has been sent out to families recently on how you can get involved and we would love to see students wearing a beanie to support ‘Beanie Day’ at the end of term, as well as seeing you all at the festival itself next term.

Here’s a video of last year’s event to get you excited!

David Burton
Head of Senior Campus