Multicultural Education Policy

attentionThis policy responds to the cultural diversity of NSW. It commits schools to providing opportunities that enable all students to achieve equitable education and social outcomes and participate successfully in our culturally diverse society.

1.Objectives - Policy statement

Community harmony is promoted through school policies and practices which counter racism and intolerance and develop intercultural understanding.


Schools will provide teaching and learning programs that enable all students to identify as Australians within a democratic multicultural society and to develop the knowledge, skills and values for participation as active citizens.


Schools will ensure inclusive teaching practices which recognise and value the backgrounds of all students and promote an open and tolerant attitude towards different cultures, languages, religions and world views.


Students who are learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) are provided with appropriate support to develop their English language and literacy skills so that they are able to fully participate in schooling and achieve equitable educational outcomes.


Schools, through differentiated curriculum and specific teaching and learning programs, will address the learning needs of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds requiring specific support.


Schools will promote positive community relations through effective communication with parents and community members from diverse cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds and by encouraging their active engagement in the life of the school.

2.Audience and applicability

This policy applies to all staff employed in NSW Public Schools portfolio including schools, Educational Services teams and State Offices. It also applies to students who attend NSW Government schools and has implications for each school community.


The cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of NSW is reflected in its students, staff and school communities. Approximately one third of all students in NSW Government schools come from language backgrounds other than English, both overseas and Australian born. These students speak over 230 different languages and hold a range of religious and spiritual beliefs.


The Multicultural NSW Act (2000) recognises and values the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of NSW. Under the Act, Multicultural NSW is legislated to act across government and across the whole community to promote and foster social harmony, and to maximise the benefits of cultural diversity.


The Principles of Multiculturalism contained within the Multicultural NSW Act (2000) provide the framework for the implementation of the Multicultural Education Policy.


Document history and details

4.Responsibilities and delegations

The Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance is responsible for ensuring the implementation and monitoring of the policy and the Department’s Multicultural Plan.


Executive Directors and Directors are responsible for examining practices and procedures that support NSW Government schools to ensure that they are consistent with the policy.


Principals are responsible for ensuring that school policies and practices are consistent with the policy and for including multicultural education strategies in their school plans. They are also responsible for ensuring that the EAL/D Annual Survey is completed accurately to provide information on English language proficiency of students for resourcing purposes.


All staff members are responsible for ensuring their practices are consistent with the policy.


The Leader Equity is responsible for publication and currency of the policy and support material, the provision of advice on the interpretation and implementation of the policy, and the development and implementation of the Department’s Multicultural Plan.

5.Monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements

The Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance will report, through the Department’s Annual Report and the Multicultural Policies and Services Program (MPSP) Report, on progress in implementing the policy and the Department’s Multicultural Plan.


The Leader Equity will monitor the implementation of the policy and the Department’s Multicultural Plan and coordinate reporting on achievements in multicultural education through the NSW Public Schools MPSP Report and MPSP Appendix of the Department’s Annual Report.


Executive Directors and Directors will report annually, through their contributions to the Department’s MPSP Report, on progress in implementing the policy and the Department’s Multicultural Plan.


The Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation through the Statistics Unit will report annually on numbers of students from language backgrounds other than English in government schools.


Schools will report annually on achievements in multicultural education in their Annual School Reports.


Schools will complete biannually the New Arrivals Program Survey on the numbers, languages and visa status of New Arrival Students to inform planning and support strategies in the Department’s Multicultural Plan.


Leader, Equity (02) 9244 5533.

Document history and details

Approval date


Approving officer

Deputy Director-General, Schools

Implementation date


Web publication date


Superseded documents

English as a Second Language: Guidelines for schools

Multicultural Education Policy Statement, 1983 (ISBN-0-7240-8417-7)

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