Ngarralingayil Barker College for Indigenous primary school to students to open at Wollombi in 2020

UPDATE: 1.30pm Tuesday, December 10

The open day will be held at East Cessnock Bowling Club on Wednesday at 4pm, due to the bushfire danger at Wollombi.

OPPORTUNITY: Barker College and Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation have partnered to open Ngarralingayil Barker College at the former Wollombi Public School site from 2020.

OPPORTUNITY: Barker College and Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation have partnered to open Ngarralingayil Barker College at the former Wollombi Public School site from 2020.

A new school specifically for First Nations children will open at Wollombi next year.

Barker College and Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation have partnered to make the school, for students from kindergarten to year 6, a reality at the site of the former Wollombi Public School site.

The school will be coeducational and will cater for up to 40 students.

It will be a follow up to the highly successful Darkinjung Barker school at Yarramalong on the Central Coast, which opened in January 2016.

The proposed school, Ngarralingayil Barker, could cater to students from Cessnock and surrounds. 'Ngarralingayil' means 'a place where learning happens' in Wonnarua language.

The school, like the Yarramalong school, will focus on the development of strong foundational skills in literacy and numeracy within a culturally relevant curriculum where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and identity are celebrated.

Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation chair Susan Mulyk said a priority was to ensure that every child felt safe and enveloped within the culture of the school.

"The second priority is for students to achieve genuine academic and cognitive progress," she said.

The ambition is for every child to advance by one academic year for each chronological year lived - a target Australia has struggled to achieve for First Peoples.

Expressions of interest for 2020 enrolments are being invited for years K-6. There will be an open day on December 11 at 4pm at the Wollombi school site (or at East Cessnock Bowling Club, subject to bushfire conditions).

A bus to the open day will leave the former Clint's store car park near IGA Cessnock at 3.30pm. To book a seat call Susan on 0422 574 972.

Wollombi School Community Education Trust's out-of-school hours community activities will continue at the school site.

The trust formed in 2014 after Wollombi Public School closed, with the aim to keep the school site in long-term public ownership for community use and educational programs.