Purnululu Independent Aboriginal Community School
Purnululu Aboriginal Community Independent School was established in 1991 to provide an educational service for the traditional owners of Purnululu National Park and adjacent lands. Purnululu Aboriginal Corporation is the governing body of the educational service. The total population of adult members represented by Purnululu Aboriginal Corporation is in excess of 400.
When Purnululu School first started there were two campuses, the main campus was situated in Wurreranginy (more commonly known as Frog Hollow) community and the second campus was set up at Kawarre, in the Purnululu National Park. Due to ongoing concerns about access to the Kawarre campus during the wet season, it was decided that students should attend only one campus in Wurreranginy community. Kawarre is now used for culture trips.
Frog Hollow Community is a small community approximately 230 km south of Kununurra. Being just 1km off the Great Northern Highway means it is easy for the community to access the services offered in the nearest community, Warmun, 35kms north.
There are about 50 people living in Frog Hollow Community. Purnululu School has several buildings spread out over an area central to the community.
Frog Hollow is a progressing community that has produced some very talented artists such as Beerbee Mungari, Beryline Mung and Marika Mung. Other professions within the community include builders, teachers, mine workers and landscapers.
Frog Hollow has 24 hour electricity generated on site and an excellent clean water supply.
Access to the community is along 1km of dirt road. It is accessible during both the wet and dry seasons. During the dry season - the winter months – the weather is cool; the temperature can range from 2-10 degrees overnight and between 20-28 degrees during the day. The weather becomes very hot in late September until it begins to rain. The temperature during this time ranges from 36-47 degrees. The wet season varies from year to year but typically lasts from December until March.
There are several swimming spots in Frog Hollow where there is water all year around. Kids in the community love to go swimming after school and during the holidays.
There is no store, roadhouse, swimming pool, clinic or airstrip in Frog Hollow. These services are all available at Warmun, 35kms away. Approx. 230kms north you will find the administrative centre of the region, Kununurra. In this town there are several supermarkets, restaurants, a butcher, a bakery, cafés, fuel outlets, post office and hotels. Kununurra also has the closest airport with regular flights to Broome, Perth and Darwin.
In 2012 Purnululu Aoriginal School has begun Friday Culture where children are taken out on bush trips to surrounding areas of significance and taught about the dreaming and other cultural importance's. On these trips children get to make damper, speak the traditional language of Kija and swim in some of the most pristine swimming spots in the world.
The school is governed by a School Board. It is made up of elected Community members and the Principal. Decisions concerning all operations in the school are decided by the School Board. The School currently employs five full time Aboriginal staff and four non-Aboriginal staff. These include Aboriginal Education Workers, cooks, cleaners and maintenance/gardeners.
Purnululu School provides targeted educational programs for all its students, with a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy.
In 2012 Purnululu School has embarked on implementing the new Australian Curriculum in the areas of Literacy, Mathematics, History and Science. Whole school planning is at the core of what Purnululu School is all about with Aboriginal Education Workers as well as teachers being involved in the planning and implementing of the school program.
Literacy programs are based around Accelerated Literacy methodology. All teachers need to maintain this approach. Professional development and regular consultancy visits to the school ensure that all teachers become proficient in this area.
In Semester 2 2012, Purnululu School has created a learning environment similar to a high school that enables one teacher to solely implement a literacy program and the other for numeracy. This is proving to be very successful and has allowed teachers to narrow targets for each class group for both areas.
Purnululu School encourages an educational relationship among students, staff and parents. Communication is open, friendly and invites involvement both in and out of the classroom.
Purnululu School is a well resourced and established school. The main building houses the school office, a resource room and two well equipped classrooms, complete with computers and interactive whiteboards. Central to the main building is a multipurpose area which opens up onto a wide deck overlooking the school oval. There is also a stand alone kindergarten/pre-primary classroom, a library/computer room, a kitchen – where the students are served recess and lunch daily, an art shed as well as the ablution block. All classrooms are air conditioned. Currently under construction at the school is a new playground as well as a ‘Rage Cage’ where students will be able to play basketball, soccer, cricket and a variety of other outdoor sports.
Purnululu School is registered for kindergarten to year 10.
In 2012 the school has approximately 19 students grouped into
- Early Childhood (Kindergarten/Pre-Primary),
- Junior Primary (years 1-3)
- Upper Primary/Secondary (years 4-7).
Employed at the school in 2012
- 1 Teaching (Numeracy) Principal
- 1 Fulltime qualified teacher (Literacy / Reading Recovery)
- 7 Aboriginal Education Workers
- 5 Aboriginal Education Workers.
Purnululu Aboriginal School aims to give the highest possible educational outcomes for our children. Our children are happy, enthusiastic, talented, and hard working and aiming for a bright future. It is the schools aim to ensure that this happens. Purnululu School has been highly successful in the students it has sent away to boarding school. It is a credit to current and previous staff that have worked at the school and a community that is warm, open and caring for its children.
Employment at Purnululu requires staff to be self-reliant and hard working. Each position can include the training of Aboriginal Education Workers and a certain number of administrative duties as the workload associated with operating an independent school is considerable.
It is the responsibility of teachers to maintain their own classrooms. All staff accommodation is fully furnished and equipped with telephones, air conditioning, furniture, cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils, television and DVD, microwave etc. Teachers are expected to supply their own bed linen, blankets and towels and to maintain their houses and surrounds.
Teachers at Purnululu School have access to a range of resource material for both teacher reference and use in the classroom. A laptop is provided for each staff member to assist with lesson preparation and record keeping.
Teachers are expected to be involved in extra curricula activities. These may vary according to personal interests/expertise.
A compulsory part of working in Purnululu School is the attendance at scheduled professional development activities at various locations throughout the Kimberley. These may be at Broome, Fitzroy Crossing or other community schools.
All teachers must hold, or be eligible to hold, Teacher Registration from the Western Australian College of Teaching (09) 92211300 www.wacot.wa.edu.au.
My experiences at Purnululu have been incredibly positive. Frog Hollow is a small and close-knit community which has been incredibly welcoming to me. The school is well-run and provides an engaging learning environment with up-to-date and appropriate resources.
The school is the hub of the community and provides a supportive environment for both teachers and community members. The school caters for a diverse range of learning styles, ensuring that all students are given the opportunity to succeed. The students at Frog Hollow are very caring, affectionate and friendly making them a joy to work with.
Despite the remoteness, living standards in Frog Hollow are very comfortable. All of the teachers’ houses are fully equipped with the necessary furniture and appliances.
Frog Hollow is a lovely community with stunning surroundings, making it a wonderful living and teaching environment. This experience has given me the opportunity to grow and develop both professionally and personally. I highly recommend this for anyone who is motivated, resilient, outgoing and looking for a challenging yet highly rewarding experience. Cara Turner
After completing my fourth year practicum at Purnululu Independent Aboriginal School, I can now confidently recommend this school as a desirable place to teach.
Purnululu School is the heart of the safe and welcoming community of Frog Hollow.
There is an array of successful strategies, routines and policies in place at the school, which ensures teachers and students can accomplish as much as possible in a consistently safe and well structured environment. For example, throughout my practicum, the students would begin each school day by washing their hands, their faces, brushing their teeth and blowing their noses. The students were also provided with a healthy breakfast, recess and lunch.
Purnululu School is an aesthetically appealing school, with modern buildings, furniture and artwork, making it a very pleasant learning/teaching environment.
The school is extremely well equipped and resourced, with a large number of computers (connected to the internet), three Interactive Whiteboards, a well stocked library, photocopiers, and an impressive, organised resource room with an endless number of activities, games, learning aides, and materials. These resources assist in making learning for the students exciting, engaging, relevant and hands on.
I have been made to feel very welcome in my six weeks at Frog Hollow. The teaching staff have been extremely supportive in my time at Purnululu School, continuously offering advice, feedback and moderation. During my short stay, I was made to feel like a valued and respected visitor in Frog Hollow.