More than 20 schools across the Kimberley are set to participate in a $25 million regional services reform initiative to improve school achievement among Aboriginal students.
The Kimberley Schools Project will support principals and teachers to deliver teaching tailored to the needs of local Aboriginal students.
“This three year initiative will strengthen the education of children in the Kimberley, particularly Aboriginal children,” Minister for Education Peter Collier said.
"A partnership between public, independent and Catholic schools will tackle the widening gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students."
The Kimberley Schools Project is one of 10 priority actions in the Resilient Families; Strong Communities roadmap, which outlines major reforms the delivery of housing, education, employment and human services for Aboriginal people in regional and remote Western Australia.
Targeted teaching will include a strong focus on phonics, and a Broome-based support unit will provide one-on-one coaching and advice for teachers and principals. Curriculum materials have been specifically developed for students in the Kimberley.
Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman said the majority of students in the Kimberley were Aboriginal and their education outcomes were significantly below those of non-Aboriginal students and lower than State and national averages.
"Poor living conditions, remoteness and a lack of positive role models are among the reasons many Aboriginal children are not achieving at school," he said.
State reform leader Grahame Searle said the importance of regular school attendance and culturally appropriate teaching had emerged as major themes in the Regional Services Reform Unit’s consultation with Western Australia’s remote Aboriginal communities.
The Kimberley Schools Project is a collaboration between the Regional Services Reform Unit, Department of Regional Development, Kimberley Development Commission and Department of Education, in partnership with Catholic Education WA and Association of Independent Schools WA.
Broome Primary School students with Kimberley Schools Project co-chair Professor Bill Louden.