Issue 10
Monday, 02 December 2019
Charles Darwin University
Master of Education (International) graduate Andrew Lloyd
Master of Education (International) graduate Andrew Lloyd

Trust underpins Outback Year 12 success story

By Patrick Nelson

A CDU graduate has told delegates at a symposium in Alice Springs the uplifting story of six students from a remote town in Central Australia who have completed Year 12 in South Australia.

Master of Education (International) graduate Andrew Lloyd said a key element of this “good news story” was the functional partnership between the isolated remote community and an independent college 1800km away.

“The partnership involved the school, the family, Elders and the community contributing to the process of a boarding school transition,” Mr Lloyd said at the Knowledge Intersections Symposium at Desert Knowledge Precinct last week.

“Last year two Indigenous students completed Year 12, with a further four this year.  

“This is a positive aberration from an isolated Aboriginal community with a history of little student engagement in a Western secondary curriculum and no secondary school completion.”

Mr Lloyd, the NT Education Department’s senior transition manager said the college and the community demonstrated an intentional commitment to learn and understand each other.

“Community engagement, especially with the Elders, and empowerment has proven essential for this partnership. Elders sat down with staff and designed the Year 12 curriculum.

“This is a grass-roots, community driven program that illustrates that if families are directly engaged in learning programs, then students have a much greater chance of succeeding.”

Mr Lloyd said staff from the college had visited the community each year to learn about Indigenous language and culture, to learn about the community and to deliver voluntary acts of service.

“Some of the learning takes place on-country during bush-tucker trips. This is where they might learn about traditional ways to make fire, or how to hunt witchetty grubs, or hear a story about honey ants.

“What we have found is that this helps deepen relationships and cross-cultural understanding, which helps students engage in Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds.”

Mr Lloyd said this case study had strong implications for the future.

“It provides us with strong evidence for cross-cultural partnerships between interstate boarding schools and very remote Indigenous communities.”

He said the community and the college were working towards a long-term partnership commitment.