Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt says indigenous leader Noel Pearson doesn’t need to take offence at a report calling for his Aurukun school to be overhauled. Mr Pearson has launched a scathing attack on the review of his Cape York Aboriginal Academy in the troubled north Queensland indigenous community, describing it as a “hotchpotch” of different observations, including “a whole lot of stuff that is patently incorrect”.
He said the government was believing a “fairytale” if it thought it could run the school better than he could under his US-based direct instruction curriculum.
But Mr Pitt, also the state’s minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships, insisted Mr Pearson shouldn’t feel personally insulted by the review.
“I’m disappointed this report is being seen to be a direct criticism of either Mr Pearson or his organisation,” he said.
“This isn’t about any kind of a blame game, this is about making sure that we can build on what we’ve learnt since the school has been operated under (Mr Pearson’s model).”
The government will adopt all 27 recommendations from the review, including giving the education department the lead at the school to work in partnership with Mr Pearson’s academy.
An independent financial audit will also take place, while Year 7 and 8 will be offered, as well as distance education, when the school resumes next week to ensure students aren’t forced to go to private school to further their education.
The review was sparked by ongoing violence from a group of young, armed offenders in the community which saw the school’s principal Scott Fatnowna carjacked twice in as many weeks.
Teachers, who had left to escape the unrest, will return to Aurukun next week, when they will be issued with personal distress alarms as part of a raft of new safety measures.
Mr Fatnowna will also return, while interim principal Matt O’Hanlon will stay on in a mentoring role for the rest of the year.