One Arm Point Remote Community School (5583)

School Overview

One Arm Point Remote Community School (OAPRCS) is a K-12 school in Ardyaloon (One Arm Point), an Aboriginal community 210km north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia.

OAPRCS has woven into the tapestry of the wider community to function at full potential within the remote context. The school vision is to facilitate a welcoming, safe & stimulating inclusive environment where the local Bardi Jawi culture is embraced, celebrated & embedded into school curriculum. Students are supported & encouraged to reach their academic potential & staff are committed to helping students become strong, proud & resilient members of society.

We employ a vast array of strategies to improve outcomes & have found an overarching focus on community engagement which feeds all other school priorities - attendance, early childhood & ultimately, all student outcomes. Our focus on community engagement, which includes the capacity building of our local Aboriginal staff, has created a strong relationship between school & community & the high level of trust has resulted in what we believe are great outcomes for our school.

OAPRCS currently has 105 students (& up to 20 children in our Ankoorrbin/Baby Turtles - 0-3 Program) with 100% Aboriginal enrolment. Student numbers fluctuate - 76 in April 2015 & 135 in July 2016; 120 at the end of 2021 & 74 in July 2022. Fluctuating numbers impacts school funding, staffing, & the ability to facilitate programs, so the school needs to be & is extremely flexible with the ability to adapt to any situation at any given time.
Community needs (hunting, caring for family & Culture) can make it difficult to prioritise education - older boys go out hunting to provide food; teenage boys go through LORE & often struggle to re-engage; death in the community impacts attendance significantly; & funerals in other communities can take students & staff out for long periods of time. We lose students to boarding schools with broader opportunities when it is vital to maintain a critical mass to ensure the success of our programs & initiatives.

The turnover of non-local staff has meant the school is forever capacity building teachers to work effectively in our context. Lack of consistency is the crux of most issues within the school's control & it underscores the need to capacity build local Aboriginal educators to instil sustainability in school processes, initiatives & programs. OAPRCS has an Aboriginal Art teacher, an Aboriginal Curriculum Coordinator, an Aboriginal Music teacher & Behaviour Management Specialist, an Aboriginal 0-3 Program Coordinator, an Aboriginal Education Coordinator, an Aboriginal Cultural Liaison Officer and an Aboriginal on-Country Learning Coordinator. The school has also supported 5 local support staff in getting their Bachelor of Primary Education degrees (2 now qualified & 3 qualifying within the next 12 months). We are an 'if I can see it I can be it' school and we prioritise the employment of local Aboriginal people in positions of leadership so our students are inspired to greatness by the people they know, trust and love.

The OAPRCS plan to capacity build staff from the local community to ultimately run their own school is built on a foundation empathy, patience, understanding & trust, & ensures we are building a strong & sustainable future for our students, school & community.

Staff turnover & cultural obligations can make a complex context even more dynamic, but is generally managed with a consistent vision, structures & routine. A clear vision & direction, 'Improvement. Always in all ways!' has given the school the base to build entrenched relationships & upgrade a once poorly resourced school, leading to better outcomes for our students.

The OAPRCS school culture integrates local Aboriginal ways of being, doing and knowing to enable high student achievement and participation, inclusive cultures and a meaningful impact for all students.

Our staff is varied in experience, age and background, but united in providing better outcomes for our students and a sustainable future for our remote community school. We have the respect and trust of Community - which all staff at the school are extremely proud of, as they continuously work to consolidate and strengthen the relationship.

OAPRCS is literally a community school as we understand it takes the contribution of our whole community for the school to run at its full potential, and it is an incredible thing to be a part of.