Jigalong Remote Community School (5224)

School Overview

Jigalong is an Aboriginal community which is located 170 kilometres east of Newman on the edge of The Great Sandy Desert. On the western side of the Rabbit Proof Fence, this is the community in the Pilbara which gained international recognition with the 2002 February release of the film which was given the same name.

The school and its community buildings are nestled in the heart of the community with its day to day operations permeating the broader routines of the Martu People who have maintained strong traditional ties with both their culture and land. Tracing back as far as 20,000 years, the Martu people self-manage the Jigalong community, with the Jigalong School Council providing a community voice which inform both the decisions and operations of this unique remote Indigenous school.

Jigalong Remote Community School, is a level three school with an enrolment of 94 students (75 primary aged students, 21 secondary students). Due to the transient nature of the Martu people, moving between Jigalong, Nulligine, Newman, Punmu, Parngurr and Kunawarritjii, the school population varies from day to day. This unique trait means the school requires teachers of the Jigalong Remote Community School to be both fluent and flexible in their teaching approach. Many who have worked here in the past state the benefits of teaching within such a dynamic and varied educational context. As a result, differentiated practice coupled with explicit instruction, guide the multiaged grouped classes, with many students offered opportunities to progress with wherever they are identified to be academically.

Academic programmes employed focus on improving literacy and numeracy. Programmes like 'Words Their Way' and Diana Rigg's 'Promoting Literacy Development' show incremental methodology for strategically progressing students in their understanding of language and communication. 'Talk for Write' scaffolds help student understanding of different text forms and how to construct and/or respond to them. Numeracy programmes based around problem solving and practicing numeracy for life also assist students to progress in their mathematical understanding.

Life skills, are also a foregrounded distinctive of the school community. This is embedded in both the pre-entry practices in grooming and hygiene; teamwork and sporting initiatives. Swimming lessons and water-based activities further facilitate opportunities for skill acquisition whilst being a deliberate part of the attendance strategy utilised by the classroom teacher. The two week woodwork workshops offered to senior school students contextualises learnt theory whilst offering students the opportunity to employ and demonstrate skills to achieve a TAFE Certificate 2.

Initiatives like the breakfast and lunch programmes form a larger part of the school's role within the community. They also are a part of the school's attendance strategy. Before school sports activities foster student awareness of the broader school community which exists beyond their classroom. Implicitly students learn to engage with one and other whilst seeing the benefit of exercise and fitness through sport like cricket and football. Physical exercise also helps with mental focus as the day begins.

All facets of the school work together to develop the student body to respect themselves and others. The programmes implemented ensure that student strive and focus to achieve their potential.