Bio, Awards & Media

I am a secondary English/history teacher originally from Canberra, ACT. I am currently leading Big Picture Education (project-based learning) at Silkwood School on the Gold Coast Hinterland. I am of Aboriginal and Welsh descent. My Aboriginal family are Wiradjuri people from Dubbo, NSW. My Welsh family are primarily from Swansea, South Wales.

I have completed a BA Honours on the representations of Indigenous people in Australian and New Zealand teenage literature. I have also studied Aboriginal literacy education through my Master of Education.

I have completed the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program (2015) and the Stronger Smarter Facilitator Training (2017).

I was on the executive committee for the ACT Association for the Teaching of English from 2006-2017, fulfilling various roles from National delegate on AATE council to Journal editor, Vice President and, in my final role, President.

In each school I have worked at, I have been involved in some way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, from running homework centres to being a member of Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) committees and presenting professional development to staff about bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the curriculum. I began leading the roll-out of 8 ways education across ACT Public Schools in 2018, just prior to my appointment at Silkwood School, QLD.

This blog is primarily about literacy education but I am happy to talk to teachers from any discipline who are looking for ways to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the curriculum.

Cara Shipp in other publications:

Featured article Literacy Learning in the Middle Years Journal, 2013

Press article, Bell Shakespeare Schools’ competition:

Press article, new pedagogy in Centre for Indigenous students at Campbell High School:

I have written several units for Reading Australia with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perspectives:

Melissa Lucashenko, Too Much Lip, for Yr 11/12

– in publication

Sue McPherson, Grace Beside Me, for Year 8

Grace Beside Me

Ruby Ginibi Langford, Don’t take your love to town, for Year 12

Don’t Take Your Love to Town

Les Murray, Collected Poems, for Year 11

Murray: Collected Poems

Ellen van Neerven’s Heat and Light, for Years 9-12

Heat and Light



2017 Australian Education Union ACT Branch Reconciliation Award

2016 Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education in the ACT Public Education Awards: Celebrating Excellence


Cara-Jane Shipp (known as Cara) is currently SLC in charge of Year 8, English, Humanities and Languages Faculties and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs, at Wanniassa P-10 School. Her previous leadership role was SLC of the Tuggeranong Network Achievement Centre.   Her BA (Hons) featured research on the representations of Indigenous people in Australian and New Zealand teenage literature, and her Master of Education focussed on Aboriginal literacy education.  Cara has completed the Stronger Smarter leadership training and delivered professional development for the ACT Education Directorate and nationally on Indigenous matters.

She decided she wanted to be a teacher as a child and has acknowledged her father’s influence as a passionate advocate for the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through education.  One of Cara’s many strengths is working with young Indigenous people with low literacy levels. She suggests that “it is often poor literacy that leads kids to disengage; they can’t understand what is going on and can’t access the curriculum”.

Another is her enduring commitment to establishing high-expectations relationships with all students she works with – this approach is fundamental to her successful teaching and mentoring of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at Wanniassa School and the other schools and settings she has worked in.”

2016 Australian Education Union Arthur Hamilton Award for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education

2013 Certificate of Excellence in Educational Leadership, Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACT)




3 responses to “Bio, Awards & Media

  1. Hi. I was reading an article you published in Literacy Learning: the Middle Years in 2013 and saw that you have a blog. I am studying Adult and Vocational Education and am currently completing a Teaching for Diversity unit. I am focusing my study in this unit on equity for Aboriginal students and found your article helpful so looked up your blog (it was listed in the references section of the article). I look forward to reading more of your work as I want to learn more about engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in my practice post-graduation. (I’m quite disappointed with how poorly this important area of teaching practice is covered in pre-service teacher training so have made a personal commitment to learn what I can from various sources).

    I’m a first generation Australian born in Holland with Dutch, Indonesian and Chinese heritage. As a child of the ’80s educated in Australia I was only ever taught that Aboriginal people lived in bark and grass huts, threw boomerangs, had corroborees and believed in the Rainbow Serpent. I’m in my mid-30s now and don’t want future generations to be raised with similarly limited knowledge (unfortunately, my 9yo nephew is currently learning about Aboriginal people in his primary school and the lessons have led him to believe that there are no Aboriginal people left in Australia, that they were nomads, that they did cave paintings and that they used boomerangs – he didn’t even realise the man at the local Aboriginal education centre was an Aboriginal man – sad that this is still happening in 2014).

    Anyway, thought I’d say hi because I am now following your blog.

    • Hi Andrew
      Thanks for your comments.
      As a teacher, you will notice my blog is not overly active – there is a bit of time between posts – as I get way too busy!!! But happy to hear that you are doing what you can to educate yourself and improve the future for our kids. Your nephew’s story is very sad, and all too common. Always happy to hear from you directly if you have a question or need pointing to resources – – but in the meantime, stay tuned as I will most likely add to this blog after the July English teachers’ conference in Darwin!

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