Roebourne District High School (4189)

School Overview

Settled in 1866, Roebourne is WA's oldest surviving town north of Geraldton. In fact it is the oldest settlement between Geraldton and Darwin and has an estimated population of 1,200 people. Roebourne is located near the Pilbara coast, approximately 1500 km north of Perth and 40 kilometres east of Karratha. Most of the staff live in Karratha and commute each day out to Roebourne.

The weather in the area is sub-tropical. There is the wet season (summer) characterised by hot days and occasional heavy rainfall, whereas the dry season (winter) is much cooler with little to no rainfall. The average maximum temperature for the year is 34.3 degrees centigrade, with dry season temperatures consistently over 35 degrees centigrade and the average minimum 20.7 degrees centigrade. Rainfall averages approximately 290mm a year.

Education in the town has a long and rich history, with the first formal schooling starting in 1874. In 1892 a masonry building, in Hampton St, replaced the former timber framed building of 1884. The school moved onto the present site in 1961.

The school caters to students from Kindergarten to Year 12, with approximately 99% of its cohort being Aboriginal. Although there are a number of language groups in Roebourne, the students generally come from three main language groups - the Ngarluma people who are the traditional owners of the land, the Yindjibarndi people and the Banyjima people. The students speak a range of languages as well as Aboriginal English. Teachers are expected to adopt and to use ESL strategies for most of the students throughout the school.

While the major emphasis continues to be Literacy and Numeracy for all students, secondary students focus on employment preparation. Students have opportunities to participate in Vocational Education and Training programs which work closely with local organisations, businesses and the mining industry.

Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers (AIEO's) have significant roles in the school and are seen as cultural ambassadors. They provide essential links to the community and provide teachers with cultural expertise and knowledge. An understanding, appreciation and respect for Aboriginal culture is paramount to the success of any teaching programme within the school.

The school is supported by the community and through Aboriginal Corporations and agencies, as well as by mining and other companies, Government Departments and non government organisations. The community has a strong arts base and this has influenced the school community in developing a strategic plan, with a movement to Arts based programs so as to engage a wider range of students.