A curriculum partnership between ACER and Wesley College to provide Aboriginal students in the Kimberley region of Western Australia with a senior years program has celebrated its first cohort of secondary school graduates.
The Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School, located about 400 kilometres from Broome on the Leopold Downs Cattle Station via Fitzroy Crossing, was the first full-time study opportunity for Years 10, 11 and 12 in the Fitzroy Valley when it was established in 2010.
In the lead up to the school’s opening, ACER worked with Wesley College in Melbourne to develop a new senior years curriculum to be delivered on location at the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School during terms two and three – the dry season – and in Melbourne for the remainder of the year.
Known as the Senior Years Learning Framework, the curriculum provides a broad learning experience integrating personal development and academic skills with an extended practical workplace component as a requirement for satisfactory completion. The industry learning focus at the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School is on the Australian cattle industry, agri-business, eco-tourism, mining management and the arts.
The Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School offers a framework for cross-cultural learning and the development of intercultural competence among students and adults with different backgrounds. The school provides a relevant and authentic educational experience for the Aboriginal students and their families, and exemplifies how communities across Australia can collaborate.
Executive Director of the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School, Ned McCord, notes that the Yiramalay program is dedicated to ‘Two Way Learning’, where students and staff as well as family members and the wider community learn from each other. Mr McCord said the school is a partnership that is respectful of the people, culture, language and land, no matter where the location – Kimberley, Melbourne or on country.
The Senior Years Learning Framework allows students interested in moving directly to work or further vocational education to do so by completing a training package in either a specific vocational area or a more generic package while still at secondary school. Those students considering going on to university complete their final years of school with an accredited course within the vocational and personal framework specified by the Framework.
Depending on the level of study, students who graduate from the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School receive an accredited qualification in either Certificate II in Work Preparation, VCE, VET, WACE or an IB Diploma. A graduation ceremony was held earlier this year for first five students from Fitzroy Crossing to complete Year 12 through the program.
Another recent achievement for the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School is its registration in Western Australia last year as independent school number 1489. This registration provides the school access to federal and state funding plus Abstudy.
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The Senior Years Learning Framework is available for implementation at other schools and institutions. For further information visit <www.acer.edu.au/tests/sylf