A Space For Sharing

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Recently @ The Coalface attended the opening of Kirkton Public School’s newly built Yarning Circle. This lovely outdoor learning space was made possible thanks to the Glencore Schools P&C Grants program, and the tireless efforts of the Kirkton Public School P&C Committee.

Kirkton Public School is a tiny school with only 35 students enrolled. Due to its small size and rural location, it misses out on a lot of the resources that larger schools receive.

Suellyn Connolly, President of the P&C Committee, explained how the Glencore Schools P&C Grants program allowed them to accomplish projects that would otherwise not be possible.

“Our mission is to ensure we offer our small student cohort the best possible learning environment and as many additional opportunities as we can,” said Suellyn.

“We spend a lot of time fundraising and take every available opportunity to apply for any grants on offer. This is third time we have applied for a grant through Glencore and been successful.

“The first was for a garden, kitchen and cooking program. The second was for a playground upgrade and new play equipment. Now, thanks to the recent funding round, we have been able to build this beautiful Yarning Circle which can be enjoyed by students for many years to come.”

Kirkton Public School Principal, Rachel Firth, said that they were very thankful for Glencore’s support that allowed them to fund projects that enhanced student’s school experience.

“This Yarning Circle is a perfect example of improving a student’s learning experience. It will provide a respectful place where students can sit and learn and are able to speak and share in an inclusive environment where every voice is heard.

“Glencore contributed $14,000 to this project which we are very grateful for, but I must also highlight our P&C Committee which went above and beyond to raise the additional funds needed for the project,” she said.

“It’s a very small committee of only a few parents spearheaded by Suellyn, so it’s really incredible that they raised an additional $7,000 through their fundraising efforts.”

So, on a beautiful sunny Tuesday in September, students gathered at the Yarning Circle for its highly anticipated opening. Mayor of Singleton Sue Moore and Member for Hunter Dan Repacholi MP took the time from their busy schedules to join other esteemed guests including representatives of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, gathering at the small school in the beautiful Lower Belford area.

Uncle Warren Taggart said a Welcome to Country and held a special smoking ceremony before guests were charmed with a performance by St Catherine’s Catholic College Singleton Indigenous dance troupe, Puwampi Unti Kunarr, which translates as “Guardian Spirits of the Valley Dance Family”.

Tracey Snedden, Glencore Coal Communications and Community Relations Coordinator, said it was a beautiful celebration to mark the completion of a fantastic project.

“The sole purpose of the Glencore Schools P&C Grants program is to support the long term needs of schools within our operational footprint and give back to those communities.

“It’s an honour to be able to support a project that really will make a difference to a small, but wonderful school.”

Kirkton Public School students love their new yarning circle.
“It’s really good for talking. And telling secrets.”Olive.
“If you need some alone time, you can go there.”Paige.
“It’s nice to just sit there, it’s beautiful.”Audrey.

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