The BHP Pilbara Education Partnership is working towards improving education outcomes in public schools in Newman, Port Hedland and surrounding areas within the Shire of East Pilbara.

The biggest of its kind in regional WA, the community-based partnership between BHP and the Department of Education aims to ensure students are well prepared for their education.

Established in 2005, the $6.6 million investment will see the partnership through until 2023.

Supporting schools in Hedland, Newman, Onslow Primary School, Jigalong Remote Community School, Marble Bar Primary School, Nullagine Primary School and Yandeyarra Remote Community School, the funding will support two new research-led programs for students across the Pilbara, the Early Years program and the Pathways program.

The Early Years program takes a community-based approach to prepare children for their first years at school by providing family services and early intervention to address any areas of concern.

Support services will also be provided for children from birth to eight years old to help them meet key developmental milestones. The Pathways program will provide students with support to identify and successfully complete their desired educational pathway through secondary school, into training or further study.

Students from Years 7 to 12 will benefit from external training and work placements through new partnerships established between schools and local training providers such as TAFE, as well as industry and local community.

Amanda Lawrence — BHP Pilbara education partnership co-ordinator at the Department of Education — said she is thrilled to be involved in the partnership for another three years.

“It means that we are able to continue the important work we are doing, equipping students with skills, experience and expertise so they can easily move from primary to secondary school and from secondary school into training, further study or employment,” Ms Lawrence said.

“I’ve already watched many students thrive from the opportunities this partnership has provided, and I am excited to continue this fantastic work with Pilbara schools, the local community and BHP.”

BHP Western Australia iron ore, asset president, Brandon Craig said BHP believes young people living in the Pilbara should have access to the highest quality of education and support services.

Since the partnership’s inception, 97 per cent of students at Newman Senior High School attained an ATAR of at least 55 or completed a Certificate II or higher qualification in 2015 compared to the eight per cent reported in 2011.

By Darby Ingram