Letter to the Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

Across School / 19 April 2017

Your cynical article ‘Private Schools push for separate Indigenous-only campuses’ is indicative of how difficult it is for independent schools to achieve a creative solution to assist Indigenous people.  
 
St Andrew’s Cathedral School does not cherry pick the best Aboriginal students, but enrols from our local Indigenous community. The Aboriginal students are not segregated, but share some classes in Primary and all classes in Secondary and combine in the playground, pastoral, co-curricular and sporting activities, with the rest of our students.  
 
As the proportion of Indigenous students in the high school is very small, they are meshed into the bulk of our enrolment when funding entitlements are calculated and therefore receive very minimal government financial support for their places.  However, parents can afford to pay little or none of the fees.  Unless the rest of our parents are to pay not only for their own children, but for Indigenous children, the School currently needs to expend much energy and time in raising scholarships from philanthropists, Trusts and Foundations. Is there no government responsibility here?  
 
The request to government is simply that high school Aboriginal children receive the same specialist Indigenous funding as do our Gawura (Indigenous Primary School) students.  Our commitment is to try to close the gap in our area in the scandal of poor Indigenous educational outcomes.  Representing this as some kind of money grab is unfair, untrue and unhelpful. 
 
Dr John Collier
Head, St Andrew’s Cathedral School
Head, St Andrew’s Cathedral Gawura School

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