Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott, at Woolgoolga High School, with Woolgoolga High principal Guy Wright.
Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott, at Woolgoolga High School, with Woolgoolga High principal Guy Wright. Trevor Veale

Praise for Gumbaynggir language classes

SECRETARY of the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott, had nothing but praise for what he described as our 'innovative' Mid-North Coast schools.

The former managing director of ABC visited the Coffs Coast on Thursday to take a first-hand look at Woolgoolga High School and Toormina High School.

Mr Scott said he was particularly impressed with the Gumbaynggir language classes offered at the schools.

"What I find really important is to go out to schools that are trying out innovative ideas and to really tap into those ideas to see if good practice in one school can be scaled across to other schools in NSW,” Mr Scott said.

"There are very interesting activities taking place here particularly with Aboriginal languages and the engagement I have seen here is absolutely amazing. I've never seen a class quite so engaged in learning a traditional language.

"In this part of the world English has only been spoken little more than 200 years, and the language they've been learning has been spoken for tens of thousands years.

"It's a really important initiative for the State Government to promote traditional languages in school.”

Mr Scott was given a tour around Woolgoolga High School and was involved in a roundtable discussion with students and staff.

"The students I spoke to talked about their commitment to each other's work. Learning isn't a solitary activity, and when these students leave school and go into the workplace they will be working in teams.

"Amazingly, they've already mastered those skills here.”

Mr Scott also noted he was particularly interested in peer support programs being run on Mid-North Coast schools, where senior students undertake training in order to mentor and support junior students.



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