Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Education Minister Kate Jones said implementing the review recommendations would improve educational outcomes and access to schooling for the children of Aurukun.
Close to 200 people including parents, teachers, students, Wik elders and community leaders were interviewed as part of the review process.
“School will reopen from the first day of Term 3 and the Department will assume a greater role at the Aurukun school,” the Premier said.
“A full complement of staff and Principal Scott Fatnowna will return to the School. From day one, access to a full-time guidance officer will be in place in Aurukun. Beenleigh State High School principal Matt O’Hanlon will also remain in the community to support the school leadership team in a coaching and mentoring role for the remainder of the 2016 school year.”
Review recommendations include:
- strengthening the Department’s support for the day-to-day operation and governance of the school;
- Year 7 and 8 studies be made available in Aurukun
- enter into a new service agreement with Good to Great for direct instruction;
- commission an independent financial audit of current financial arrangements to assess the progress in implementing the recommendations of previous financial audits;
- develop a workforce plan and support mechanisms to enable the school to attract, develop and retain the best-possible staff; and
- develop and implement a first language curriculum to support transitions in the early years.
Key stakeholders, including Cape York Academy Chairman Noel Pearson, the Council and Queensland Teachers’ Union, were briefed on the review recommendations yesterday. The Department’s Director-General Dr Jim Watterston will meet with Mayor Derek Walpo, the Council, and community representatives, including the Wik Women’s group, in Aurukun today.
The Deputy Director-General of State Schools Patrea Walton, who is travelling to Aurukun with Dr Watterston, will oversee the implementation of the recommendations in consultation with the community.
Education Minister Kate Jones said the review found the Aurukun community wanted a greater say in their local school.
“We will work with parents and community leaders to ensure they are more involved in the school particularly with the language and culture program,” she said.
“We will implement a first language curriculum in the early years – in consultation with the community – to support children’s transition to school.
“We will also re-establish the Parents & Citizens’ Association to ensure parents have a direct voice in the school.”
Ms Jones said the review recommended that a secondary program for Years 7 and Year 8 students be made available at the school.
“Having local schooling and training options within the community was one of the major issues raised with me during my recent visit to Aurukun,” she said.
“While many students transitioned successfully to boarding school, the community wants to have schooling up to Year 8 locally to help students not ready to move away to stay in education.
“ In addition to providing Year7 and Year 8 education at the school from the beginning of Term 3, we will also work with local services to deliver better support for school-aged students to complete their studies or training.”
“For example distance education will be an option provided for local young people to stay engaged in learning within community.”
Ms Jones thanked everyone in the Aurukun community for participating in the review and the review team for their work.