Narromine High School set to open Clontarf Academy in 2019

LEADING: Narromine High School Principal Philip Rufus (middle) with Robert Burns and Christopher Smyth. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
LEADING: Narromine High School Principal Philip Rufus (middle) with Robert Burns and Christopher Smyth. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

A program designed to develop the life skills and education of Indigenous boys is set to open at Narromine High School in 2019. 

The Clontarf Foundation aims to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects for young Aboriginal men.

Coordinating the program at Narromine High School will be Robert Burns and Christopher Smyth, who High School Principal Philip Rufus said are both local community members and work as positive mentors within the school. 

“The positive role models mentor and counsel students on a range of behavioural and lifestyle issues while the school caters for their educational needs,” Mr Rufus said. 

“The program will develop supportive relationships, a welcoming environment, and a diverse range of activities, which will improve the students self-esteem and confidence.”

Mr Rufus said the academy focuses on education, leadership, employment, healthy lifestyles, life skills and football. He said that to remain in the program participants must continue to work at school and embrace the objectives of the foundation. 

“Clontarf provides an important school-engagement mechanism for many at-risk students who would otherwise not attend or have low school attendance,” Mr Rufus said. 

According to the Clontarf foundation with these mechanisms in place, year-to-year retention is not less than 90 percent and school attendance rates are greater than 80 percent.

In areas where Clontarf exists there has been evidence of reduced crime rates in the community. 

Mr Rufus said the Clontarf academy will compliment the schools Girl’s Academy, which has had a significant impact on the students. 

“Consultation with AECG, P&C and student body, formed the concept of exploring the Clontarf academy and what that would look like for Narromine High,” Mr Rufus said. 

“The Clontarf academy ticks a lot of boxes for our school and is backed up with actual data to support young males and improve school experiences,” he said.  

In 2019 Mr Rufus said he hopes both programs will evolve to come together and work within the community. 

“Both programs are similar to an extent and the mentors and leaders will work together when required to develop an outstanding resource and opportunities for our students at Narromine,” Mr Rufus said. 

“The goal for both programs is not just the success of students at school but the success of students after school and in our society.”

For more information about the program visit www.clontarf.org.au .