Resources and register for schools

Extra Guidance for Schools

More than a decade ago now, in 2008, the Close the Gap Campaign began National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD) to give opportunity to schools, business and communities around Australia the opportunity to stand with First Australians in demanding health equality for all.

From its humble beginnings, the third Thursday of March each year has seen NCTGD grow into a significant national day in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing. We now have hundreds of thousands of people involved in events around the country each year – making it clear to our governments that Australians overwhelmingly support equality in our health system.

While progress in closing the gap has been far too slow for our liking, everyday we see great examples of communities and services showing innovation and initiative that is having a great and positive impact on the gap.

We are writing to you to strongly encourage your active participation in National Close the Gap Day this year. Set for Thursday, 18 March, we want to see more and more schools join with us in showing our support. This is an educational opportunity where students, teachers and the whole school community can come together to discuss the facts of Indigenous health.

Schools in action: Warriappendi School and Lourdes Hill College help Close the Gap

In 2017, over 79,000 teachers and students came together to celebrate National Close the Gap Day. We followed two very different schools, separated by over 2,000 kilometres, to see how they each made a stand for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality.

Warriappendi School

For Warriappendi School, National Close the Gap Day holds a special significance. Based in the suburbs of Adelaide,this small school works closely with young Aboriginal people, and helps them to re-engage in formal education processes. Priding itself on having creative and meaningful programs, this unique school is taking active steps to Close the Gap within its own school community.

One way that Warriappendi School is working towards closing the gap is by changing the food culture within their school.All students who attend the school are enrolled in a hospitality certificate, where they learn to cook healthy and nutritious meals, and serve them to other students at lunchtime. Not only does this promote healthy eating, it also gives students skills to utilise in their homes, communities, and in the job market.

In 2017, Warriappendi School celebrated National Close the Gap Day by holding lessons about Indigenous health for all their students, which included classroom activities, outdoor games, and healthy snacks. They also put their cooking skills into practice, cooking and serving meals to their school community at lunchtime.

Lourdes Hill College

Meanwhile… half a nation away in Brisbane, long time Close the Gap supporters, Lourdes Hill College, a Catholic secondary girls school also ran an event campaigning to Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes.

Their event took the form of a school-wide lunchtime festival, involving a wide range of activities including petition signing, banner painting, a sausage sizzle, roaming chatterbox quizzes, a photo booth, skipping, basketball, competitions, music, and more…

A highlight of the event was inviting local elder Aunty Joan for a yarning circle, with all students encouraged to take a seat and join in.

Planning your day

So… how on earth do we run a National Close the Gap Day event?

Brainstorming activities

This is the fun bit. To start, just ask yourself:

  • What are the people in your group good at? What are they into? Sport? Music? Dance? Social media?
  • How can we incorporate those things on the day?
  • How can we get everyone involved at some stage?
  • How can we entertain people and make sure they have fun?
  • How can we make sure people learn more about the campaign and how they can get involved?
  • Your event needs to be meaningful to you and your school — make sure it’s relevant to the stuff people in your community might understand or experience themselves. Ask yourself:
  • Will it be enjoyable?
  • Will we get people thinking, asking questions and wanting to make a difference?
  • Be passionate ANDrealistic — what can you do with what you’ve got? You’ll be surprised at how even a small group of people, with just a few resources, can end up creating an awesome event!
  • Making it happen
  • Use our Event Action Plan to organise yourselves.
  • On the day, make sure someone is on hand to document the fun. Are there any student journalists who can take photos, make videos or write reflection pieces?
  • Recording your day can make your voice heard by people beyond your school. You can also email them to us at (EMAIL) along with the release form. You might make you and your school famous on our blog!

10 Top tips

Indigenous health equality is everyone’s business. So let’s make National Close the Gap Day 2020 as big as we can. Let’s get so many people involved that governments are compelled to take further action. That means planning for success! Here are some tips to help you maximise the impact of your activity.

  1. Know what you want to achieve
    The aim of National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD) is to bring people together, both at your school and across Australia, and to take action. What do you want people to get out of the day? To know more about the issue? To know how to make a difference? Have fun? Sign the pledge? All of the above?
  2. Build a team
    Making a NCTGDgroup makes planning fun, and guarantees a great event.
  3. Choose your date
    We’re asking you to hold your activity on Thursday 19 March 2020 to maximise the impact of the day. If this date isn’t possible, why not integrate your event with National Reconciliation Week (beginning 27 May), or NAIDOCweek (2-9 July)?
  4. Make an invitation list
    Invite students, teachers, family, community members, elders, your local Member of Parliament, the local paper and any other important people. Create your own invitations, send them out, and put up posters around your school and community.
  5. Plan your event
    Get inspiration from the activity ideas on this page. We’ve included an example action plan and checklist, and one for you to fill out yourself at the end of this guide.
  6. Make it awesome
    The best events are fun, informative and interactive. Use music, play the Close the Gap video, have activities, get peeps involved and sign the pledge.
  7. Plan your resources
    What do you already have and what will you need to make it all happen? Get those cameras, paints, props, music ready.
  8. Take ACTION
    Signing the Close the Gap petition sends a message to our leaders that the movement for health equality is growing and keeps you in touch with the campaign. You may also want to write to your local politician or the Prime Minister and tell them that you and your school care about this issue.
  9. Make some noise!
    Tell us what you’re planning – – and post your pics. You can also follow us on Instagram – @closethegapcampaign – and tag us, using #closethegap #NCTGD#nationalclosingthegapday. You can also send us your event photos, video and audio (along with the photo release form) so we can show you off on our website.
  10. Celebrate and reflect on your achievements
    Have a post-event celebration and thank everyone who helped out. How many students did you reach? How many people helped and joined in? How many people signed the pledge? Talk about what worked and what you’d change for next year. Look back and enjoy your success — you’ve earned it!

Need some more help and advice email our team at (EMAIL)

Activity ideas

Make it

  • Create a banner, mural or sculpture.
  • Take part in the Close the Gap student Instagram photo challenge (see page XX).
  • Create artwork exploring differing perspectives on Close the Gap.
  • Make a short film of your event — use your camera or phone.
  • Make your own Close the Gap posters by hand or using design software.
  • BOOKTHE SEA OF HANDS: Hire ANTaR’s iconic Sea of Hands for your own community installation. The Hands have their own history as a symbol for the Land Rights movement and reconciliation in Australia. The Hands come in six colours from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags and look brilliant when planted as community in the school oval or other outdoor space.

Play it

  • Be Quizmaster. Use our downloadable chatterboxes to test your Close the Gap knowledge.
  • Move it Mob Style!
  • Run a sports event.
  • Take it to the stage — write and perform your own play.

Show it

  • To show your respect for Australia’s First Peoples and their culture, start with an acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land you’re meeting on. Can you invite a local elder?
  • Use your art and photos to create an exhibition.
  • Set up a display or stall in the playground, for the week leading up to National Close the Gap Day.
  • Decorate your school and classroom with posters from here. Even change your school sign to show your support.
  • Show the Close the Gap videos with our Youtube Close the Gap video playlist in class or assembly. Find the videos here: (link is external)

Say it

  • Write it, rhyme it, tell a story. We’ve all got different experiences of ‘the gap’ — what does it mean to you? Say it in a rap, a poem, a story or any style you like. Say it at assembly, in class or write it for the school newsletter. Set up a yarning circle.
  • Invite an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community member to talk to your class or the school. You’ll get a personal perspective of the issues and our older generations are often amazing storytellers.
  • Dive to the depths and have a debate. This is a great way to look at every part of the issue, like “Is it possible to close the health gap?”, “Are young people the key to closing the gap?” and “Should closing the health gap be a priority for our governments at state and federal levels?”
  • See if you can get on your community radio station to talk about what your school’s doing. They’ll want a rundown of what Close the Gap is, so get yourself prepared by reading the sections at the beginning of this guide.
  • Write to your local paper to see if they’d like to cover your event. They’ll want to interview a spokesperson, so nominate a student and brush up on your Close the Gap knowledge.

Taking Action: Support this year’s petition

All Australians should be able to enjoy a world-class health system that is free of systemic racism and geared to closing the life expectancy gap between Australia’s First Peoples and their fellow non-Indigenous citizens.

This is what National Close the Gap Day is all about – Australians showing how much they hope to see a new determine approach from government to Close the Gap.

Our petition this year backs the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the front line services and programs that are achieving success in closing the gap. Show them your support and join our call for all Australian governments to get behind Aboriginal Community Controlled health.

You can download the petition sign up sheet here and collect signatures. 

For teachers: close the gap in the classroom

Don’t worry teachers, we’ve got you covered! CTG partner Oxfam Australia has come up with a range of free classroom resources that you can use to integrate NCTGD in the classroom.

As a bonus, these resources are aligned to the Australian Curriculum, to help you address your learning outcomes!

School registration form

Step 1: Organiser Details

Thanks for taking on the role of event organiser. Complete the checklist below so we can get all the details of your event right. We will then review and confirm your event by email. You will then be able to use the tools on this page to share and promote your event and even help us raise some funds for the national campaign to Close the Gap. We appreciate your efforts and we are always here to help. Email us any time (EMAIL) *

Step 2: The Basics

Tell us the basics about your activity. Such as what you have planned, when it will be and in your own words why people should come and support health equality. *

Step 3: Scheduling

Date/Time of your event *

Step 4: Location

Step 5: A few more details

We invite members of the public, schools and organisations to support the Close the gap campaign and or donate.

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