A Brisbane school has started teaching a local Aboriginal language, in a bid to engage Indigenous students and close the gap in education.
David Liddle

9 Aug 2013 - 7:09 PM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2015 - 8:40 PM

Waterford West State School in Logan, which recently won the Education category of the Premier's Reconciliation Awards, has started teaching its students Yugambeh, a local Aboriginal language.

The school, which has 640 students of whom 80 are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, is hoping that including the language in its curriculum will help close the gap in education and encourage Aboriginal students and their families.

School teacher Gary Crosby said other schools in the area have started to take notice of the school's initiative.

"It's just like a snowball effect. A lot of the elders were a bit worried when we first started because they were a bit worried about it not taking off. But now, other schools are jumping on board wanting to know more about the Yugambeh culture which is really outstanding and it's great because it brings everyone together because we all live in Yugambeh country".

Mr Crosby also said it was often the students, not the teachers, who were leading the way with the Yugambeh language.

"The kids love it. It's good because they can say their words and their little meanings and they can make up their own little sentences.They can talk it up out of class and some of the other teachers don't understand what they're saying and they feel a little privileged in actually knowing something their own teachers don't know.