Why have a school for Aboriginal students?
Worawa was established to provide an education for Aboriginal students with emphasis on academic achievement, Aboriginal culture and the development of practical skills important to everyday life and employment. Students are encouraged to develop academically, culturally and socially to their full potential. Worawa is a unique educational institution in that it provides mainstream education in a culturally supportive environment.
Why a boarding school?
As one former student put it “A big issue in the Aboriginal community regarding school is actually GETTING THERE …many parents may have been disadvantaged and lack an education themselves.”
Worawa provides a curriculum, student management and general learning environment that offers a real alternative to mainstream educational institutions. The residential component changes the “6-7 hour a day and then return home” approach of the conventional school to broader concept of care and development. It enables the implementation of an Education – Culture –Wellbeing Model. Students live and study in a supportive and nurturing environment that fosters positive cultural identity and individual potential.
What does Worawa Aboriginal College provide that is not available in mainstream schools?
Worawa provides a unique model as an alternative to mainstream approaches through an integrated Education, Well-Being and Culture programme. Worawa uses ‘Two Way’ Learning; that is a combination of both mainstream education and Aboriginal culture, knowledge, values and belief.
Each Worawa student has a Personalised Learning Plan which commences as the student enters the College and is a means to track and reinforce individual growth and development.
The Worawa curriculum design is based upon an integrated four-year program structure as opposed to discrete single year formats. This structure enables the following features:
- Suitability for Personalised Learning Plans that respond to the needs and strengths of individual students
- Coverage of all curriculum areas for a given student preventing the possibility of individual students ‘falling through the gaps’ in curriculum.
- Flexibility of timetabling in response to different possible enrolment patterns that exist in an individual student’s educational history or may occur for a variety of reasons during their time at Worawa.
Accommodation of “orbiting” students – students who enter part way through a term.
Does Worawa Aboriginal College meet mainstream education standards?
Worawa is a registered school under the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA). The Worawa curriculum is based on the Victorian Essential Learning Standards [VELS]: Discipline Learning, Interdisciplinary Learning and Physical, Personal and Social Learning. Worawa’s curriculum strongly emphasises foundation studies in literacy and numeracy while providing a breadth and depth of learning experiences across all key disciplines/learning area.
What success has Worawa had?
Worawa has had demonstrated success in assisting Aboriginal students to establish themselves in Australian society with a strong sense of Aboriginal identity, leading to a self-esteem conducive to bridging the two cultures. Worawa has been host to hundreds of Aboriginal students from across Australia, and has been witness to what students have had to over come to achieve their set goals. Communities would be inspired to send their children from all over Australia, by the confident students returning from Worawa to their communities for holidays. There have been some brilliant outcomes in relation to students moving on to higher education or playing a key role with in Government departments, Community organisations or being successful with any personal achievements. There have a number of graduates who have gone on to higher education while any student who comes in contact with Worawa are inspired to give education or training a go.
Is Worawa engaged in ‘self help’ programs?
The Worawa community is exhibiting considerable initiative in developing enterprises to support the funding of the College and the cultural development of its students and the broader community. Examples are the Worawa Professional Learning Institute and related activities.