Aurukun Mayor Dereck Walpo said Aurukun’s children deserved a school with an Australian curriculum rather than the United States-developed direct instruction method used by the Good to Greater Schools program.
“Direct instruction has been a problem in Aurukun because it put kids who were 11 and 12 years of age back a few years with much younger kids and they were embarrassed by this and dropped out,” he said.
“Those who went on to boarding school faced a whole new ball game after not having a mainstream education and that made them uncomfortable, with some pulling out."
“I hope we will now see our children being taken on excursions back to country to celebrate their own culture instead of learning about Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July."
It comes just after Good to Great Schools co-chairman, Noel Pearson pulled support for the town’s troubled school.
The State Government announced a new executive principal for the campus, formerly run as part of Mr Pearson’s Cape York Academy.
Mr Pearson wrote to the Queensland Government advising that the non-profit association he founded, Good to Great Schools Australia [GGSA], will cease "all negotiations in relation to Aurukun and any further provision of support to the school" from the start of the next school year.
It also comes months after a State Government led review in to the school, which resulted in recommendations effectively limiting the amount of control Mr Pearson’s organisation had in the day to day running of classes.
Cr Walpo said Aurukun ended up with 90 disengaged youth instead of youths who could have continued with their education and found jobs.
“Schools do need to focus on kids who are failing in numeracy and literacy, but those who are thriving should be allowed to get on with their work," he said.
“I hope we will now see our children being taken on excursions back to country to celebrate their own culture instead of learning about Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.
“I would also like to see a Parents and Citizens Association active in the school again so the community becomes a part of the school.”
Cr Walpo welcomed the appointment of Mike Ennis as the school’s principal for 2017, saying he stood out from the other candidates.
“He has a broad vision for our children and he will make a lot of positive changes in Aurukun,” he said.
“We are looking forward to him building a strong relationship with our people and I believe 2017 will be an exciting time for Aurukun as we move forward in a positive way for the benefit of the children in our community.”