Education is a gift that no one can take away
In 2016 Barker College entered into a new approach to Indigenous education with the establishment of the Darkinjung Barker School for K-6 Indigenous students at Yarramalong on the Central Coast. The NSW Central Coast, North Coast and Wollongong account for almost a third of the entire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
In 2020, Ngarralingayil Barker opened in Wollombi, catering to students from the Cessnock, Maitland and Kurri Kurri areas.
The establishment of these unique schools is a result of the support of the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation (KPAC), the local communities and parents, and of the Barker Council, staff, students, parents and alumni. There is high commitment by all.
A priority for both schools is the development of strong foundational skills in literacy and numeracy for Indigenous students from Kindergarten to Year 6. Our intent is to instil a confidence to learn and a desire to learn.
The experience of Barker’s Head of School, Mr Phillip Heath, in establishing Gawura at St Andrews Cathedral School highlights that Indigenous programs must be in and of the community. Each community is very different, faces different issues, and our program is structured to this particular community. However the Barker philosophy will still apply at Yarramalong and Wollombi – a commitment to all students being the best they can be.
Darkinjung, Ngarralingayil and Barker recognise the importance of upholding Aboriginal cultural identities as we strive to close the gap educationally. There is a shared vision of creating a two-way partnership where we can learn from one another in an educational model that is unique in Australia.