Four Clontarf Foundation football academies are now being piloted within six South Australian government schools, with a focus on improving the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of Aboriginal students.
The Marshall Liberal Government has invested $2.8 million into the program over the next three years.
The first 185 students have begun participating in the academies, which are now up and running at Ocean View College, Port Augusta Secondary School, Port Lincoln High School and an academy at Whyalla that is working with secondary schools in the area.
Clontarf has had success across Australia for more than 19 years by harnessing students’ passion for Australian Rules Football to attract Aboriginal boys to school, where trained staff can mentor and counsel them across a range of lifestyle issues, alongside teaching staff who cater for their educational needs.
Many former Clontarf students now excel in life and alumni include current and former AFL footballers.
Premier Steven Marshall, who visited Ocean View College today, said it was great to see the academies up and running.
“We are pleased to be partnering with the Clontarf Foundation to support Aboriginal students through a focus on education, leadership, employment, healthy lifestyles and of course football,” said Premier Marshall.
“We must do more to actively engage Aboriginal boys in education and support them to become successful men.
“Clontarf has a proven history of delivering outstanding success by not only supporting individuals through their schooling, but beyond that into the workforce.”
Education Minister John Gardner said the partnership with Clontarf complements the Government’s Aboriginal Education Strategy and supports the existing work of the Education Department.
“This is an exciting partnership that will help us to harness the power of football to better engage Aboriginal children and young people in their studies,” said Minister Gardner.
“We know that self-esteem is one of the keys to better education outcomes and Clontarf’s focus on supporting individuals through their schooling and beyond will really put young people in a good position to prepare for their futures.
“The pilot academies complement the ongoing work of the South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy, which runs a wide variety of sporting and cultural learning programs from 21 school-based academies and five specialist academies to help male and female students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island backgrounds to pursue their SACE.”
Mark Riley, Zone and Partnerships Manager for the Clontarf Foundation, said the organisation was excited to be commencing operations in South Australia.
“The Clontarf Foundation partners with schools and communities to attract Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys to come to school, stay at school and then transition into employment or further study,” said Mr Riley.
“We have been working full time with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys for 20 years and we are very grateful to the Marshall Liberal Government for supporting us and partnering with us to roll out this program in South Australia.”