In the spirit of building lasting relationships with Indigenous communities Barker College is excited to announce that a new campus for Indigenous students has opened in the Lower Hunter.
The opening of the school for K-6 students furthers Barker's vision to close the education gap between First Nations and non-Indigenous students.
Ngarralingayil Barker is a campus of Darkinjung Barker, located at Wollombi on the site of the former Wollombi Public School, 45 minutes north of Yarramalong. It caters to students from the Cessnock, Maitland and Kurri Kurri area.
'Ngarralingayil' means 'a place where learning happens' in the Wonnarua language. The establishment of this campus was the culmination of over a year of planning and discussions between the communities at Barker College, Wollombi and the Lower Hunter.
"We all share the vision of creating a two-way partnership where we can learn from one another using the educational model that has proven to be so successful at Darkinjung Barker," Mr Phillip Heath, Head of Barker College, said.
Barker College and the Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation (KPAC) from Cessnock have worked together to make this proposal a reality. KPAC is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers that has been in operation for over 25 years. The aim of KPAC is to provide services to support the needs of the local Aboriginal community and to help improve the lives of Aboriginal people.
The school grounds are operated by the Wollombi School Community Education Trust (WSCET). WSCET and Barker College have worked together to ensure an appropriate, safe and engaging learning environment for the Ngarralingayil Barker students. The WSCET mission is to preserve and maintain the Wollombi School site as a not-for-profit educational resource for the community, and to foster the development of onsite learning and study opportunities for children and adults.
"As was the case with Darkinjung Barker, our aim is to provide a framework for young people to experience the best that the future offers - more than that, to become people who shape the future under God's good care and strength." Mr Heath said.
The Kindergarten to Year 6 school is coeducational and can cater for up to 40 students.
A priority for the new campus is the development of strong foundational skills in literacy and numeracy, and the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and identity, which is essential to successful learning and will be the cornerstone of the educational programs.
As with Darkinjung Barker, funds for this project are sourced entirely from voluntary contributions and available government provision.