Dhupuma Barker

Since opening in April 2021, Dhupuma Barker has already demonstrated the success that can come from on-Country.

Partnership Model

The Yothu Yindi Foundation (YYF) and the Gumatj community of Gunyangara invited Barker College to re-establish on-country schooling for Yolnu children. Dhupuma Barker welcomed students from April 2021.

Dhupuma College in Gulkula operated from 1972 – 1979 as the first ‘Transitional College’ in the Northern Territory, with the aim of incorporating Yolŋu culture, teachings and knowledge into the broader Australian curriculum. Dhupuma College was unexpectedly shut in 1980. Many of today’s Yolŋu leaders attended Dhupuma College and wanted to see it revived.

What does Dhupuma Barker Offer?

Dhupuma Barker is the first stage in achieving an education pipeline for Yolŋu children in remote NE Arnhem Land. It is an independent, bilingual school for Kindergarten to Year 6 students. The School caters for around 40 students in Transition to Year 6. There is an attached Family as First Techers program, welcoming families with children 0-4 years. With our primary school students approaching high school age, and increasing interest from community to continue education on Country, an application was successfully submitted to expand to include Middle Years learning at Dhupuma Barker from 2024.

The School offers access to quality education – allowing children to have educational opportunities without having to leave the community. Blending the Australian Curriculum with traditional Yolŋu teachings and building students’ English language skills with a foundation in Yolŋu Matha, will empower young people to walk in two worlds with dignity and confidence.

Since opening in April 2021, Dhupuma Barker has already demonstrated the success that can come from on-Country, bilingual education with improved school engagement and attendance. The School is currently achieving attendance rates far exceeding those recorded in remote communities across Australia.

Enjoy this short video featuring the students of Dhupuma Barker.

Achievements

In 2023, six of our students from Dhupuma Barker competed as the first ever Australian Indigenous team, the first from NT and the first from Remote Australia in the World VEX IQ Championships in Dallas USA. The Dhupuma Barker Djirikitj Firebirds have surpassed all expectations and inspire their peers to embrace the learning opportunities provided at School.

School Development

In June 2023, the turning of the soil at the site of the new permanent Dhupuma Barker school, marked the start of an exciting new chapter for the community. In close consultation with community, the design of the School integrates culture and country into the functionality of the School. Featuring flexible classrooms, specialist learning areas, covered play spaces and areas designed for cultural ceremony, the design pays tribute to the beauty of Gunyangara and honours the Yolŋu people.

Enrolments

Dhupuma Barker welcomes students from the Gunyangara community and surrounds. Yolngu co-teachers will advise staff of new families moving to or visiting the township. All students are welcome to join classes, and when regular attendance is established, a student will be formally enrolled.

For all enrolment enquiries, please visit the School to meet the teacher.