REVEALED: Bold vision for new high school on Cap Coast
DISENGAGED students are leaving school with few prospects in their post-school life.
This is the reality which has driven Central Queensland Indigenous Development CEO Jason Field in his pursuit to open an Indigenous secondary school in Emu Park.
Mr Field and a team of educators have dedicated about eight years to research how to best engage students and their families in holistic education, culture and their communities.
They have now taken a dramatic step closer to realising this dream with the Livingstone Shire Council and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga supporting the bold vision for the Central Queensland Sports Education Academy.
Mr Field said the CQID would now seek financial backing to build the estimated $5 million school on an eight acre block near the airstrip.
If supported, the school is likely to welcome its first Year 7 and 8 cohorts in 2019, and grow with them to educate students through to Year 12.
Mr Field explained the team had scouted mainstream and Indigenous schools across the world to adapt methods to the first-of-its-kind independent school in Central Queensland.
Mr Field has witnessed students leave high school unable to read or write, ill-equipped to handle the next step, and said one of the school's key aims is to assist students in their transition from high school to further education or employment.
Mrs Lauga has worked closely with him on this project, and shares Mr Field's vision for a brighter future for the region's young people.
"Coming to the end of secondary schooling can be daunting for many, particularly students who may already be disengaged with education,” she said.
"So to keep young people engaged in education we need to broaden the pathways they can take to reach their end goal - whether it be completing year 12, undertaking a traineeship or apprenticeship or entering the workforce.”
The project requires funding support from both the State and Federal Governments, and Mr Field said they also welcomed philanthropic contributions from the community.
Though Mrs Lauga did not make a financial commitment when asked if the State Government would contribute to the project, she said she would continue to fight for the local kids and work closely to make the school a reality.
Mr Field explained the school was not exclusively for Indigenous students, and would provide an alternative education for students locally and across the region.
He said the main issue he had encountered was the school system did not deal with the underlying issues children might be facing, which had an impact on their later life.
To combat this, psychologists and support staff would assess students and their families before they enrol to best identify their needs.
"Even if they come out of primary school, (we want to know) what level of education are they actually at,” Mr Field said.
"We will be working in depth getting them up to the standard where they should be.”
Support will also extend beyond the classroom, with opportunities to connect students and families with additional services within CQID and across the region.
CQID coordinates and delivers services in child safety, community support, family support, alcohol and other drugs services, community and economic development projects.