A new academy aiming to improve the accessibility of educational programs for Indigenous kids has been launched in Perth's northern suburbs.
Craig Quartermaine

7 Feb 2014 - 5:51 PM  UPDATED 8 Feb 2014 - 3:24 PM

Academies are similar to the independent public schools being pushed by the federal government.

The WA Indigenous Affairs and Education Minister Peter Collier assisted in the launch of a new Clontarf Foundation Academy in Perth, north of Derbal Yerrigan.

The state government says it hopes the program will make education more accessible for Indigenous students in the area.

"I used to catch two buses and two trains to get from Nollamarra all the way to Maddington just to get to school," said Clontarf student Derek Nannup. "The only reason I done it was because of the [not-for-profit group] Clontarf Foundation."

Students say the new Girrawheen academy has arrived at the most important time of their secondary education.

"I’m in year 11, so I've got two more years to go, just finishing year 12 here hopefully. I’ll be the first one too [in my family] so hopefully I can get it done,” said Clontarf student Dylan Wallum.

"I've been to three already, high schools, and I didn't like any of them but with Clontarf it makes me want to stay more and been the best of my schooling," said Mr Nannup.

The two Clontarf students helped Minister Collier open the new academy.

"We're dealing with Girrawheen Senior High School which has got a very high Aboriginal population, very low attendance from those students," said Mr Collier. "So Clontarf means it actually engages the students. It’s much more attractive for Aboriginal students to come to school and then once they're here they actually stay."

Thirty-eight Clontarf students between year eight and 12 will join the Girrawheen High School population.

The next hub set to receive a Clontarf academy will be the eastern suburbs in the city of Swan at the Swan View Senior High School.