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Rural and Remote Education - WA


and Remote Education - WA

Meeting of students from Port

and South Hedland, 21 May 1999 - notes

Schools represented


  • St Cecilia's College

    (Primary and Secondary to Year 10)

  • Hedland Senior

    High School

  • Port Hedland Primary


  • South Hedland

    Primary School

  • South Hedland

    High School

Benefits of school

in Hedland (Secondary)

"We mainly go for

the social scene."

"The classroom is

a friendly environment because here knows each other and people seem to

work together better. This is a very multi-cultural place and there are

lots of people coming and going."

"We have a lot of

computers and we have access to the Internet. We are learning to program

computers in Years 9 and 10."

"We do some electives

like metalwork, woodwork and cooking and we like that. Our school (St

Cecilia's College) is small, there are only about 100 students at our

school so we know everyone. We feel listened to at our school."

Benefits of school

in Hedland (Primary)

"We like playing

sport and art and craft and drama."

"We look at physical

health and hygiene at school."

"We do Aboriginal

Studies and we learn about the rainbow serpent."

We have a classroom

meeting, an SRC and a School Captain's meeting."


"We are learning

Indonesian but we would prefer to learn the native Aboriginal language

in our area. We used to be able to study it in Year 4 but you can't do

it any more. We don't have any say over the languages that we do at school.

The teachers choose them."

Tertiary study

"I will have to leave

the Pilbara to go to university. I'll probably go back to my home town

in NSW."

School facilities

"We want to run bare-feet

on the oval but we can't do it because of the prickles. Some kids wear

3 pairs of socks so that they can run without hurting their feet. The

School Representative Committee has complained but nothing gets done about



"Because we are so

isolated, the one thing that we do like to do is play sport. It is a big

thing here in Hedland. We play football, cricket, soccer and baseball.

We have school carnivals. Our school is going to Karratha for a carnival."

"There are no whole

school activities for the High School. We tend to do things at the year

levels. There are not enough people to compete against. Out of school

sports is pretty good here. I play T-ball out of school and I've been

to Karratha and Paraburdoo."

Canteen food

A number of students

had complaints about the food available at the school canteen. With the

exception of South Hedland High School, the students felt that there was

not enough variation in the selection of canteen food.

Toilet facilities

Students had a number

of criticisms of the school toilets. Though the toilets are cleaned every

day, they are vandalised regularly, doors and other facilities are broken

and they are generally unhygienic. Many students do not use the toilets

as they say that there are 'other kids hanging out there' and they don't

feel safe. The students also complained that the toilets were full of


Need for shower


A number of students

recommended that showers be installed at the schools. Showers would allow

students to wash and cool down after sport and school breaks. It would

be one way to assuage the effects of the extreme heat in Hedland.

Geography curriculum

advantages South West students

Approximately 60

to 70% of the Year 12 Geography curriculum and assessment is based on

the South West region of Western Australia. Students in the North of Western

Australia have to travel South in order to be competitive with students

who actually live in the areas that they study. The Education Department

of Western Australia does not provide funds for isolated students to travel.

This puts a financial burden on families and means that time is spent

fund-raising by the school community. Given that the costs of air travel

are so high, students travel for 40 hours and more by bus.

Cultural experiences

Students at Hedland

do not have access to the vast array of resources available to students

in Perth. By way of example, the students claimed English and English

Literature students have no access to the theatre unlike children living

in Capital cities.

Inexperienced teachers

The senior students

claimed that the majority of their teachers are young and inexperienced;

many of them first year out of university. This has an effect on the subject

choice available to students. They are only able to study subjects matching

the expertise of the staff. Very few students choose the option of Distance

Education and they claim that it is not promoted at the school.

Senior secondary


Those students wanting

to complete Years 11 and 12 from St Cecilia's will travel to Perth to

complete their secondary education. Students at the meeting estimated

that 70% of Year 10 students would go to Perth. A number of St Cecilia

students relocate to Perth after primary school. Some students go to boarding

schools while other families relocate when their children reach secondary



updated 2 December 2001.