New Campbelltown school has no uniforms or fees

Revolutionary: Principal Carolyn Blanden with a former Warakirri College student. Picture: Simon Bennett
Revolutionary: Principal Carolyn Blanden with a former Warakirri College student. Picture: Simon Bennett

No uniforms, no school fees, no large classes - Warakirri College is a different kind of school.

The independent school has just opened its new campus on Queen Street in Campbelltown and its teachers are helping kids that struggled at mainstream high schools to achieve an education.

Principal Carolyn Blanden said Campbelltown's Warakirri - which accepts students aged 15-22 who are disadvantaged or don't fit into traditional schools - catered for a cohort of 90 students.

"But given that many of our students experience anxiety, mental health issues or other barriers to attending school, we would never have all 90 at school on any one day," she said.

"We're more likely to have 60-70 students each day.

"We run smaller classes and there are no expectations on anyone.

"It's very important that the students don't feel like they're stupid for not knowing something."

Ms Blanden said Warakirri didn't rely on standardised testing to see its students graduate.

"Our students just need to demonstrate that they've met the outcomes required," she said.

"Not everybody responds to exams. Some kids might prefer to make a presentation or to sit down with the teacher and explain their understanding of the topic."

Students can achieve their school certificate and higher school certificate at Warakirri and can also qualify for university and other higher education.

Ms Blanden said the school was able to run with government support.

"One third of our funding comes from the state government and two third comes from the Commonwealth," she said.

"When you hear about the Commonwealth funding independent schools, this is what that really looks like.

"Without that support we wouldn't be able to help the kids that need it."

Warakirri College is located on level six of 138 Queen Street, Campbelltown. Students come from Macarthur and further afield in Sydney given the school's proximity to the train station. Warakirri has two other campuses: Fairfield and Blacktown.