Back from sorry camp to no school

Debbie Guest; 16/7/09; (2 Items)

The family of Aboriginal elder Ward, who died in the back of a prison van last year, are outraged that the only school in their community has been closed despite the recent return of students from a sorry camp. Ward’s family say the former teacher at the school in Patjarr, 240km north of Warburton in the Gibson Desert, has not been sent back, despite their requests over the past fortnight. About seven students, including one of Ward’s sons, have returned to the community after the children followed their parents to Warburton and surrounding communities earlier this year in the wake of the death of Ward, whose first name cannot be used for cultural reasons, and another prominent community member. The community believes more students will return to Patjarr if the teacher returns from Warburton.


Union slams NT teacher staffing
Justine Ferrari, 16/9/09
About one in five students in the Northern Territory is not assigned a teacher as a result of government policy to staff schools based on attendance rates rather than the number of students enrolled at a school. The figure is higher in very remote schools, where attendance rates are much lower, with up to one in three students left without a teacher. Whereas other school systems allocate teachers based on the number of students enrolled at the school, the Territory government is alone in the nation in using student attendance figures. The policy runs counter to federal and territory efforts to encourage students, particularly in indigenous communities, to attend school regularly, with parents’ welfare payments withheld if their children regularly skip school.