An academic, social and cultural enrichment program for Aboriginal students
Friday, 29th June 2018 – Premier Mark McGowan today officially launched the new Polly Farmer Learning Club in Paraburdoo, an academic, social and cultural enrichment program for Aboriginal students at Paraburdoo Primary School. The program is managed by The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, an educational not-for-profit, and supported by Rio Tinto and the WA Department of Education.
During a trip to Paraburdoo, Mr McGowan visited the school to join in the NAIDOC celebrations and officially launch the new Polly Farmer Learning Club. In front of an audience of students, parents, teachers, members of the community, MP Kevin Michel, and representatives from The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and Rio Tinto, Mr McGowan congratulated the Learning Club participants and their families for taking the very important step of choosing to focus on their education.
“Academic, social and cultural enrichment for students starting out on their educational journey through school is crucial, which is why the Polly Farmer Learning Club is such a fantastic opportunity for Aboriginal students here at Paraburdoo Primary School. This program will encourage and motivate these students to continually strive for excellence, set challenging goals and take the steps to achieve them. The WA Department of Education has proudly partnered with the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation for over two decades and remains committed to supporting the state-wide suite of after-school educational programs,” commented Mr McGowan.
As well as improving maths and literacy attainment, the aim of the Learning Club is to strengthen students’ leadership capacity, encourage creativity and innovation, and enable collaboration across the school and wider community. The Paraburdoo Learning Club is part of a state-wide network of after-school educational programs co-managed by The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and the Department of Education. Rio Tinto has been a proud supporter of many of these programs in the Pilbara for over two decades and has committed to funding for the Paraburdoo Learning club for the next 5 years.
Chris Salisbury, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto Iron Ore, commented: “Rio Tinto is committed to providing education support, funding, scholarships and employment pathways in the Pilbara and beyond. We’ve partnered with The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and the Department of Education since the very beginning more than 20 years ago and continue to be impressed by the fantastic results that have been achieved over this period. That’s why we recently committed funding for the Paraburdoo Learning Club for five years and we look forward to watching its successes in the years ahead.”
Mr McGowan and Mr Salisbury were joined at the official launch of the Learning Club by Cate Sims, CEO of The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, who spoke about the importance the Learning Club places on creating a nurturing and supportive environment in order to build students’ capacity as life-long learners and future leaders.
“The Learning Club is a fantastic opportunity for Aboriginal students who have an appetite for learning, as the personalised academic enrichment, mentoring, and leadership development all help strengthen students’ confidence and self-belief, enabling them to pursue their aspirations at school and beyond,” said Ms Sims.
The WA Department of Education and Rio Tinto are founding partners of the Foundation and have remained steadfast supporters since it was established in 1994, thereby helping to empower thousands of Aboriginal students around the country to pursue their aspirations at school and beyond.