Djidbidjidbi Residential College

Djidbidjidbi Residential College (DjRC) is an innovative educational facility that works with the school, Bininj children and their families to increase school attendance and dramatically improve educational engagement and outcomes. The College provides a safe and supportive environment for school attendance, after-hours study, part time employment and wellbeing. Students reside at DjRC from Sunday evening to Friday each week and return to their families for weekends. The College is staffed by a mix of Bininj and Balanda (non-Aboriginal) staff and includes a state-of-the-art homework centre, recreation rooms, bedrooms and a commercial kitchen and dining room. The College can currently accommodate up to 21 students. Most students at DjRC are in Grade 5 to Year 12 (11-18 years old). 

The name Djidbidjidbi refers to a sacred and important site on Mirarr country; Mt Brockman or King Brown dreaming. The College logo depicts Djidbidjidbi (King Brown snake) and was painted by Mirarr Traditional Owner Na-bungardi.

DjidbiDjidbi Residential College information PDF

Secondary level students at DjRC are supported at school through the Culture First class. College staff actively support the students in the classroom during the day and the classroom teacher guides after school learning at the college. The close relationship between DjRC and the school and the shared understanding around supporting the children to grow in a complex cultural environment is pivotal to the success of the children attending the college. The Culture First program provides a curriculum through which the children can achieve benchmarks and produce assessments in line with state school requirements whilst being culturally validating. The children’s lived and learned experience of their land, families and culture is the fertile ground from which literacy and numeracy skills are developed without privileging one discourse over another.

Culture First class undertakes field work with Australian National University researchers

As well as supporting students’ studies at the Jabiru Area School, the College organises extracurricular activities such as regular health checks, homework sessions, on-country learning which integrates with the curriculum, family nights and sporting activities.

The impact of this pragmatic bi-cultural model of education is already being demonstrated through dramatic increases in school attendance and unprecedented student outcomes. Prior to 2012 the average attendance rate for Aboriginal students at Jabiru Area School was 36%. In the years since the College opened the school attendance of Aboriginal students staying at DjRC has continued to increase and is now at an average of 82%.

The Mirarr have always had a long term vision for Djidbidjidbi and know that the opportunities this facility provides should be available to the broader Aboriginal population of the Kakadu region. Now after almost four years of operation the evidence is clear: the Djidbidjidbi Residential College is not only functional but achieving significant and unprecedented results for the students it supports.