Positive Partnerships in the Top End

On the 26th September 2017, the Positive Partnerships’ Northern Territory team delivered a concurrent workshop in Katherine.  The township of Katherine is 300km south of Darwin and has a population of about 11,000 people. In the concurrent program, schools register for the workshop and then invite parents from their school community to attend and school teams are formed to work together at the workshop.  At the Katherine workshop nine schools were represented by 29 participants, which was an excellent turn out at the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts & Culture Centre.  This included two remote schools, where teams travelled over 650km from Borroloola and 320km from Ngukurr to attend.

Team with participants in the Positive Partnerships Katherine workshop

During the workshop, school staff and parents/carers worked together to explore planning tools and strategies to support students on the autism spectrum and other diverse learners in the school community. At the Katherine workshop conversations were also supported by the Positive Partnerships Team Leader of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family and Community Programs, Maria Watson-Trudgett.  Maria worked closely to support the Borroloola and Ngukurr teachers and their Indigenous Assistant Teachers and supported both schools in a culturally sensitive way to implement some of the strategies to support their individual students and their families.

One of the strengths of the concurrent model is having school staff and parents together to plan proactive strategies. This was really evident at the Katherine workshop where some teams focussed on preparing the students for the transition to the 2018 school year. One team identified new ways that they will engage with young people on the autism spectrum to include their voice in education support plans, and a number of teams explored positive ways to increase the communication between home and school.

Following the Katherine workshop the Positive Partnerships team delivered a two day facilitator training to 11 Northern Territory delivery team members. This included many new faces as well as some team members who have had a long involvement with PP. The NT delivery is represented from a number of key agencies such as Department of Education, Catholic Education, Autism NT and Autism SA. Over the two days the team was immersed in the content for both professional learning and parent/carer programs, and had the opportunity to discuss and practice key elements of the programs.  We are all really excited about what the NT team will deliver in 2018.