Direct method moving out of Aurukun
A troubled school in the Queensland community of Aurukun will not be saved by ‘direct instruction’.
The Aurukun school was forced to close several times earlier this year following concerns of violence amongst students.
The school was running under the ‘direct instruction’ method employed by the non-profit Good to Great Schools Australia (GGSA) at its Cape York Aboriginal Academy schools in Aurukun, Coen and Hope Vale.
But Indigenous leader Noel Pearson – the founder of GGSA and central proponent of ‘direct instruction’ in Australia – has now written to the Queensland Government to advise that GGSA will cease “all negotiations in relation to Aurukun and any further provision of support to the school” from next year.
“We felt we had no choice,” Mr Pearson said in a statement to the media.
“We have tried for many, many months [and years prior to the Aurukun takeover] to offer EQ [Education Queensland] a choice of different partnership models that would dovetail EQ school operations with our innovative education model and accelerated learning.
“We could not accept the unworkable conditions imposed by EQ restricting Direct Instruction teaching methods.
“Our repeated attempts to find a solution have failed to find favour with the new Director-General of EQ Jim Watterston.
“Good to Great Schools Australia is in the business of putting children and families first, not playing bureaucratic games.”
Federal Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch said he was never a fan of Mr Pearson’s curriculum.
“I suspect there'll be dancing in the streets,” he said.
“I think this now provides an opportunity to get a mainstream curriculum back into the community and to restore some of the help to fix some of the problems we've seen in recent times.
“It's one thing to talk about concepts and buying programs from overseas, but in my view it was destined to fail.
“It was self-assessed, and of course if you're assessing your own performance you're going say it's great.
“But when you get others coming in there and having a look at it there's a whole different perspective.”
Education Minister Kate Jones said it brought to end long-running negotiations with GGSA about how it would run the school.
“The indication today is that Good to Great would no longer like to continue those negotiations to provide services into the Aurukun school,” she said.
Ms Jones said she did not know what GGSA was planning for its two remaining schools.
“This is a decision for Good to Great, obviously they see their future in Coen and Hope Vale, not in Aurukun at this stage, I understand that,” she said.
“Obviously there are mixed views in the Aurukun community but my responsibility as the Minister for Education is to ensure that we are providing the resources to deliver the best possible education we can.”
An auditor-general's report on the issue is due next month.