Save the Children’s investment in a new school that’s changing the rules
It’s a new school with a new way of doing things. Ngutu College in Adelaide’s north-west is making learners out of children by integrating Aboriginal knowledges.
Save the Children Australia has invested in the college through its Impact Investment Fund – our fund that provides loans and equity investments to help startups and social enterprises grow.
Head of College, Andrew Plastow (Kamilaroi Nation), who founded the college, says the ethos is based upon a true notion of reconciliation. “Everything we do is trying to be an act of reconciliation, which we see as including two people, or two groups being willing to listen to each other’s different perspectives.”
The curriculum takes from Aboriginal ways of doing things, as well as embedding Aboriginal knowledge and learning into the formal Australian curriculum. Andrew calls it ‘just good practice’. “It's based on tens of thousands of years of experience. Things like providing leadership opportunities for older children to look after the younger ones, which is a very natural part of Aboriginal way. The value that is placed in simple things like feeling Country beneath you, by allowing the children to go barefoot.”
Children are also asked to look at Aboriginal culture through the curriculum, he adds. Earlier this year the children studied the book ‘Finding Our Heart’, a book about the Uluru Statement. “We are using that as a provocation to have the children look at who are they, what is their heart? What is the heart of this new college? And what is that going to look like?
"And then working towards the more complex view of looking at the Uluru Statement, why it's incredibly important to some, and completely feared by others. We make sure that the perspectives of Aboriginal people are included in that. But also that the perspectives of non-Aboriginal people, who might be worried by the Uluru Statement, are incorporated."