Indigenous leader Noel Pearson has criticised a review of his Cape York Aboriginal Academy in Aurukun, which was conducted while the school was closed.
A total of twenty-seven recommendations were put forward, which will all be adopted when the school reopens next week.
As a result the Education Department will increase its role at the academy so the national curriculum is delivered with the school’s “direct instruction” method.
Facing the media in Brisbane, Mr Pearson said the idea that the Government is taking back management of the school is not the answer.
"You would have to believe in fairytales if you think that that is a solution to Aurukun's educational needs," he said.
The “direct instruction” model, which originated in the United States in the 60s, is a prescripted lesson-by-lesson system which has been strongly criticised for affecting teacher-student relationships and leading to boredom.
But Mr Pearson says those undertaking the review never got the chance to see the system in action.
"Some accurate observations, some fair assessments, but also a whole lot of stuff that is patently incorrect, inaccurate," he said.
"This is the only assessment in the history of Queensland schools that's been done while the school is not open."
He also said the review didn't take into account:
- the high levels of disability that students in Aurukun suffer, sparked by severe disadvantage in the community.
- the problems relating to law and order in the community that lead to the violence that caused the school’s closure.
But Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk 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,” she 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.”
Some of the 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.
Education Minister Kate Jones said the review found the local community wanted a greater say in their 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.
Teachers will return to Aurukun next week to increased security, which includes more secure fencing, security lights and personal distress alarms.