Aurukun parents launch campaign to reopen Cape York Academy

Aurukun parents launch campaign to reopen Cape York Academy

A group of Aurukun parents has launched an advertising campaign pleading with the state and federal governments to continue with the Cape York Academy.

The State Government has floated the idea of taking control of the primary school with a review underway.

Teachers were evacuated last month and the school temporarily closed due to safety concerns after violence spilled onto the street.

The academy, led by Noel Pearson, uses a direct instruction syllabus in partnership with Education Queensland.

In the “hands off our school” newspaper and Youtube campaign, the Wik women’s group said they wanted to keep the current model, and government was not listening.

They said ‘sly grogging’ and out-of-control teenagers were the problem, not the school.

“You must listen to those of us who send our children to school and understand how much better our school is now compared to years ago,” they said.

“We cannot believe our school has become the scapegoat for the social problems in our community.

“The real issue lies within the home.”

The school, the only in the community, is due to reopen this term, with kids learning through distance education during its closure.

Its 25 teachers were evacuated on May 11 for a second time after the school principal’s car was stolen twice by a group of youths, one who was carrying an axe.

Mr Pearson manages the school and two others on the Cape using direct instruction teaching, developed in the US in the 1960s.

The direct instruction system focuses on the needs of children with learning difficulties, and breaks each learning task to its smallest component to help students master simpler skills before moving to more difficult skills.

A spokesperson for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had met with Phyllis Yunkaporta, who spoke first in the Youtube video, and other Wik women on her recent visit to Aurukun.

“The temporary closure of the school was necessary due to safety fears expressed by the school staff,” the spokesperson said.

“However other measures were put in place, and we look forward to finalising long-term plans for the education needs of the community in the very near future.”



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