The Prime Minister is continuing his tour of Indigenous communities in the north of the country.
Brooke Boney

27 Aug 2015 - 10:58 AM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2015 - 11:47 AM


Natalie Ahmat: The Prime Minister is continuing his tour of Indigenous communities in the North of the country.

In Cape York he's put his attention to education and says the peninsula has some of the best schools he's ever seen.

Brooke Boney: In the north the school day starts early.

This region in the northernmost part of the mainland has some of the best attendance rates for Indigenous schools around the country at around 70 per cent.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott: The point of coming to school is that it actually sets you up for the rest of your life.

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Three schools in the area teach nearly six hundred Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, from five differnet communities.

The Prime Minister says a strong religious influence and social cohesion is part of the success.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott: Perhaps there's a cohesiveness amongst the clans and the peoples of this area which might not always be present in some other remote places with a different history.

This school is one of 12 schools in Queensland to have a truancy officer program. People from the community go and get the children in the morning and bring them to school.

But there are some criticisms of some of the programs being used to teach children in the Cape.

One of the methods is direct instruction, where teachers follow strict plans and use repetition. It's normally used to teach remedial level students. Mr Abbott is a fan of the method for Indigenous students.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott: It is producing more enthusiastic, more disciplined classes, and over time it seems to be helping with teacher morale.

Dr Chris Sarra is an Indigenous education expert and he says it's insulting.

Dr Chris Sarra, Stronger Smarter Institute: I've never heard a serious educator describe it as something that enables the pursuit of excellence for Aboriginal children.

Getting through school is one challenge, building a future for these children is such a remote location is another.

Dr Chris Sarra, Stronger Smarter Institute: We have to make our classrooms and our schools meaningful and we have to kind of get kids ato understand and communities and parents to understand that school is a place where we would go where we can get some kind of worthwhile learning outcomes.

The Prime Minister will be in the community until Friday.

In Bamaga, Brooke Boney, NITV News.