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Murputja School

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Above: Murputja School from hill

Murputja Education Centre was established in 1993 and services the Homeland communities of Nyapari, Kanpi, Umpukulu, and Angatja. The school is situated at Putu-ngapa (at the foot of the Mann Ranges), in between the four homeland communities it services.

Most students at Murputja are Anangu and speak either Pitjantjatjara or Yankunytjatjara as their first language. A few students are from other Aboriginal language groups and speak Aboriginal English. From time to time non-Aboriginal students are enrolled.

The school teaches kids from CPC (pre school) right up to year eleven. If kids want to got to year twelve they board at the Wiltja Aboriginal Program at Woodville High School in Adelaide or they can stay at Murputja and study year twelve through open access over the telephone and using the internet.

Students can study at Wiltja at anytime from year eight onwards, but most go for years ten through to twelve. One student also goes to Nyangatjatjara College at Yulara (at Uluru [Ayers Rock]) in the NT.

Languages taught here are both English and Pitjantjatjara. The Anangu Education Workers take classes in Pitjantjatjara language. The big class and the junior primary class both have lessons in reading and writing Pitjantjatjara.

History

The Murputja school was founded in 1993 as an amalgamation of the two previous schools at Kanpi and Nyapari, both of which started in 1987.

The school in Nyapari started up in the old clinic, which was an ATCO demountable which originally came from Pukatja (Ernabella). In Kanpi the first school was in a shed. Milpati Baker, currently an Anangu Education Worker at Murputja school was teaching there then. After that the schools in both communities moved into caravans, there were two caravans making up each school.

The first teacher at Kanpi was David Young from Amata and he used to travel in and out every day. The first Anangu Education Worker at Nyapari was Kanginy George.

The two communities decided they wanted to build a new school because there was no room for all of the kids in the caravans. At Kanpi there were so many kids, the little ones had to be taught outside. All the Anangu were having meetings to try and get a new school.

Anangu from the two communities decided together to build the new school in a new place, outside of both communities so that the children could learn without distractions. So that they could learn. Murputja school was built in between the two communities at Putu-ngapa ngura.

Kids travel on the bus to school everyday. They get picked up in Nyapari and Kanpi and travel to Murputja School which is in between the two communities, 9kms east of Kanpi and 6kms west of Nyapari.

They stay here all day and have lunch here. The parents pay three dollars every week and the kids have lunch on the lunch program. Every day, as part of a student management initiative, some of the senior students prepare lunch for the entire school. Some make cups of tea.

Curriculum

Curriculum areas are coordinated between Anangu schools and are based on standard South Australian curricula. Murputja Education Centre is part of an Anangu schools network. The schools have a strong history of curriculum/policy development and documentation, aided by regular meetings of curriculum working parties. Modification of standard curriculum documents to meet the needs of Anangu children is ongoing.

The schools work under joint management of DECS and the Pitjantjatjara Yankunyatjara Education Committee (PYEC). PYEC was granted policy control in 1987 and this was followed by operational control in 1990. PYEC consists of both Anangu coordinators and community representatives and they make decisions about the directions of schooling.

Leadership structure

The school board consisting of members of both communities (Kanpi and Nyapari) and representation from all family groups make the decisions at the local level in accordance with PYEC and DECS directions. Murputja has a strong history of parent involvement which encompasses all areas of school involvement from visiting and helping with local cultural activities to active membership of the governing council.

Student decision-making is encouraged through regular class meetings and assemblies. Students are encouraged to determine the shape of their units of work, particularly the choice of activities in the senior classes. Students have access and opportunity to have input on issues that are discussed at board level.

Buildings and grounds

Facilities include two blocks consisting of two classrooms, a CPC/kitchen, library/computing area, AnTEP (Anangu Teachers Education Program) training room, staffroom, store room and offices.

Funding and Attendance

The school is funded through the SA Government Dept of Education. The attendance rate last year was very good with an average attendance of about 70%. On some occasions there has been a 95% attendance rate at the school.

Staff

Current staffing levels employ three Anangu Education Workers(AEW), one AEW co-ordinator, two Teachers, one Principal and two School Services Officers.

Old School Kanpi

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