Case study: Ngutu College
The Save the Children Impact Investment Fund’s first investment is Ngutu College located in Woodville North, South Australia.
Ngutu College is redesigning the concept of schooling and is providing an equitable, culturally informed, and child-centred education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disabilities and children from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Andrew Plastow, an innovative educator and Aboriginal community leader, founded the college. His aim at the school is to create an experiential environment, which seamlessly integrates Aboriginal knowledge and the arts into a program that is compliant with the formal Australian curriculum.
Ngutu College was founded on the view that quality primary and secondary education forms the foundation for a positive lifetime of education, employment and health outcomes. This approach aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 on quality education and SDG 10 on reduced inequalities.
Through its learning programs, Ngutu College also aims to acknowledge and engage the individuality of all children and young people. This aligns with research which suggests that high levels of school engagement are important for improved learning outcomes and that students who have emotional and cognitive engagement with school — which includes a sense of belonging, perseverance, motivation, and self-esteem — can make the most of available opportunities, irrespective of their ‘level of aptitude’.1
Indigenous Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates have improved across all the states and territories over the past decade. The largest increase has been in South Australia, which moved from 42.7% in 2006 to 64.3% in 2016.2
The college opened its doors to students in January 2021 and has enrolled 104 students. Of the 104 students at Ngutu College, 34% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders and 48% of students have disabilities. 70% of students come from families in Australia’s two lowest socio-economic quartiles.
1 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)(2017). Starting Strong 2017: Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care, Starting Strong OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/978926427116-en
2 Closing the Gap (2018) available at here.