2021 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year

Congratulations to Aiden Sing, an Assistant Teacher from Belyuen School, in the Northern Territory, who is the 2021 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year. Aiden was one of eight outstanding finalists competing for this year’s coveted title of Australian Teacher Aide of the Year.

Aiden Sing

Belyuen School, NT

Nominated by: Elspeth Hurse, Principal

Video courtesy of the Hon. Lauren Moss, Minister for Education, Children, Youth, Seniors and Women, NT

Aiden Sing returned to his home community in the Northern Territory, as a young man wanting to make a difference to the lives of the children in the community.

Elspeth Hurse, Principal at Belyuen School, said Aiden’s work is making a real difference to the education and wellbeing of Aboriginal Australians. She described Aiden as an outstanding educator and inspirational role model, who is highly valued throughout the community and beyond.

In 2020, Aiden returned to Belyuen, his home community, where he is an integral part of the Belyuen teaching team. Aiden works across the school community, including Belyuen’s Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program, supporting elders with the delivery of a strong cultural program.

He understands the critical role of culture in building identity and belonging, and his work is culturally responsive, strengths based, and underpinned by building trust and mutual respect.

Aiden supports all students, and provides one to one and small group support for academic learning and wellbeing, and implements restorative justice practices to address behaviour. From his personal experiences and his clear understanding of the background and needs of these students, Aiden plays a key role in planning and delivering these programs.

The community recognises that Aiden’s approach contributes to increased attendance, and the school has seen a significant decline in violent and anti-social behaviours. This has also led to an increase in student engagement and participation in academic learning, where students identify themselves as learners, demonstrate increased respect, responsibility, and resilience, and have shown an increased pride in culture and self.

Aiden is a recognised leader in both the school and the general community. He collaborates with the senior primary teacher to co-plan and implement programs, and actively participates in staff meetings, and the LEaD commitee (Leading Engagement and Decision-Making). He identifies himself as a learner and role model in the community, and participates in regular whole staff professional learning. He is halfway through the Certificate III in Education Support, and now aspires to become a teacher.

2021 Australian Teacher Aide Team of the Year

Congratulations to the Bilingual Student Support Officers from the Centre of Deaf Education at Avenues College in South Australia, who have been named the 2021 Australian Teacher Aide Team of the Year

Chelsea Sawley, Tahlia Riessen, Tracy Papanotis, Roy Visser

Centre of Deaf Education - Avenues College, SA

Nominated by: Teresa Maiolo, Centre of Deaf Education Coordinator

Chelsea Sawley, Tahlia Riessen, Tracy Papanotis and Roy Visser, who are Bilingual School Support Officers at Centre of Deaf Education - Avenues College, work collaboratively to facilitate the inclusion of deaf and hard of hearing students, and provide essential access for deaf students by interpreting and facilitating inclusion across all subject areas.

Teresa Maiolo, Centre of Deaf Education Coordinator at Avenues College, described the Bilingual Student Support Officers (BSSO) as an exemplary team of professionals who are highly respected within the school community, and highly valued by their colleagues, and the students they support.

The Bilingual Student Support Officer (BSSO) team, work across the school providing essential access for deaf students by interpreting and facilitating inclusion across all subject areas. They have been instrumental in leading several initiatives including: a Transport Training Program, a Literacy Intervention Program, and supporting Outside of School Activities, and staff Auslan classes.

The BSSO team established the Transport Training Program in 2020, to develop the independence of deaf students and their abilities in accessing the community. They sought the expertise of support staff at a local school with an established Transport Training Program, and successfully implemented the program at Avenues College. This has led to a number of students moving from dependent transport to and from school, to independent travel, and has had a huge impact on the confidence of the students, and their ability to access their community.

At the start of 2021, the BSSO team produced age and developmentally appropriate materials for a Literacy Intervention Program, to address gaps in student literacy development. This has seen a growth in student literacy, and the school now plans to share the successful pilot program with similar centres.

This year, the BSSO team facilitated the involvement of deaf students in a range of Outside of School Activities. Notably, staff facilitated the involvement of two deaf students in the school’s Pedal Prix team, including after school training and attendance at weekend races, to ensure students who are deaf/hard of hearing have full access to all parts of school life.

Congratulations on your exceptional achievements!