Indigenous / The Big Picture

Indigenous children are less likely to take part in early childhood education, which makes their first year of school all the harder.

  • Indigenous children are 44% less likely to complete school
  • In 2006, only 45.3% of indigenous children completed year 12
  • One third of indigenous children leave school at year 9 or below
  • Fewer indigenous children participate in early learning programs
  • By 15 years old there is a 2-year learning gap in reading literacy between Indigenous children and non-Indigenous children
  • The Song Room programs have helped closed the literacy gap by more than 15% in grammar and punctuation and 7% in writing

On average, Indigenous children face further challenges to access a world-class education. They have poorer living standards, poorer health and a lower life expectancy. Those who live in remote areas are even more disadvantaged by distance.

The Song Room works in partnership with local Indigenous communities through their local schools to tailor programs based on their specific needs.

Since 2008, The Song Room has run programs of proven success in partnership with Indigenous communities in urban settings with high indigenous populations such as in Western Sydney and Brisbane, as well as remote communities such as Gunbalanya, Barkly, Darwin and the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory, and in Kwinana, Pamelia, Orelia and Medina in Western Australia.

Documented improvements from the independent research on these programs show:

  • Indigenous students improved by more than 20% in reading, more than 17% in writing and more than 12% in spelling in comparison to other initiatives
  • The Song Room Creative Arts Indigenous Parents Engagement (CAIPE) program increased full attendance by Indigenous students by more than 8% in regional communities
  • All students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, showed significant improvement in English grades

Closing the Gap

The Song Room is committed to achieving the targets set by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for closing the gap in Indigenous education and early childhood learning.

Our work through the pilot program called Creative Arts Indigenous Parents Engagement (CAIPE) closed the gap in educational outcomes by more than 15% in grammar and punctuation and 7% in writing in less than a year of the program. Indigenous student numbers with full school attendance rates also increased.

National Indigenous Language Policy

This policy aims to address the loss of Indigenous languages in Australia. Latest reports show that 110 of our 145 Aboriginal languages are endangered.

As part of the The Song Room’s CAIPE pilot program, an early literacy storytelling program explored local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and culture. It drew on the cultural resources of parents, students and community members to make the program a success in preserving traditional language, stories and improving early literacy.


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