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Partnership to build Dhupuma Barker beyond primary education

Barker College has established three Aboriginal schools in partnership with the local Aboriginal communities since 2016. The third school, a  bilingual school called Dhupuma Barker opened in 2021, offering classes from Transition to Year 6 in NE Arnhem Land.

Yadha Muru Foundation is excited to announce a partnership under the City-Country Partnerships Program between Dhupuma Barker in the Northern Territory and Barker College in Sydney.

Dhupuma Barker offers 41 Yolŋu children from Transition to Year 6 a bilingual education with a culturally relevant, specifically designed local curriculum. Barker College has worked closely with the local Yothu Yindi Foundation and Gumatj Corporation to develop the school and attain high levels of student engagement and attendance. Students have access to a high-quality primary education without having to leave their local community.

Responding to the request of the Gunyangara community Elders, this partnership builds on the success of the primary school and supports student learning and engagement through the middle and senior years.

Dhupuma Barker has quickly grown from 4 to 41 students in just two years, and attendance rates surpass those of other schools in remote NT. When local students reach Year 7, they currently have to travel 15km to Nhulunbuy High School, resulting in a decrease in attendance.

While Barker College works to build a permanent school structure, the new Middle Years program is planned to  be delivered in the community drop-in centre, located close to the original Dhupuma Barker campus.

“Yadha Muru Foundation is committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia and this Partnership will build a more permanent structure to support students within the community to continue education in high school years,” explains Yadha Muru Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sean Gordon.

“The partnership with the Gumatj people of Gunyangara is a genuine opportunity for two-way learning helping Yolngu children to flourish with their learning.

“The development of the Dhupuma Barker school showcases the power and importance of community-led initiatives and on-country learning,” he concluded.

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