A new boarding facility specifically tailored to improve education outcomes of young Indigenous students in the North East Arnhem Land region was officially opened by NT Education Minister Eva Lawler.
Ms Lawler toured the $20 million ‘Dawurr’ boarding facility at Nhulunbuy High School, which will provide students and their parents with the choice of schooling closer to home.
“Children are at the heart of the NT Government’s decision making process, we know that investing in kids is not just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do,” Ms Lawler said.
“Ensuring that all Territorians have access to high-quality education is a key priority for the Territory Government and this facility provides another option for students in remote North East Arnhem communities.
“This is an exciting time for Nhulunbuy – Dawurr gives students and their parents a choice closer to home and also creates ongoing jobs through education and operational needs.”
The boarding facility has one, two and four student bedrooms, a commercial kitchen and dining room, tuition rooms, a multi-purpose art and music centre, amphitheatre as well as sporting facilities and open plan gardens.
“This facility enables boarding students to access a range of subjects and opportunities through the school, such as Maritime Studies and Tourism that would not be available in small remote locations,” Ms Lawler said.
Principal of Nhulunbuy High School, Sabina Smith said a steering committee was established to provide expert advice and guidance on the boarding facility.
“During the planning, we recognised that distance and being away from family was going to be a challenge for students and we have extensive support programs in place to help students transition smoothly into boarding life,” Ms Smith said.
“The consultation process facilitated by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, has allowed the community and stakeholders to guide all aspects of how the facility will operate, from policy and procedures to student health and wellbeing support.”
Ms Lawler also said the recent investment towards the Yirrkala Homelands would help the region.
“As part of Budget 17 the Government allocated $1 million to upgrade homeland learning centres, commencing with the Yirrkala homelands,” she said.
“We are investing in quality learning environments, because we want all children and young people to have access to a high quality education, no matter where in the Territory they live.”
Construction of the Nhulunbuy boarding facility was a joint initiative of the Australian and Northern Territory governments.