At the beginning of 2021 school year, St Luke’s Catholic College celebrated the opening of Arrunga, a high support learning setting onsite in Marsden Park. Arrunga welcomes students with a diagnosis of moderate intellectual disability as a primary disability and low adaptive functioning.
“This completes us,” Principal Greg Miller reflected as the community of St Luke’s Catholic College celebrated the opening of Arrunga, an onsite high support learning setting welcoming students with a diagnosis of moderate intellectual disability as a primary disability and low adaptive functioning.
To begin with, Arrunga will serve a small number of students from Kindergarten to Year 6. This important service will grow over time to meet the needs of secondary students also. Founded in 2017, St Luke’s Catholic College serves the growing community of Marsden Park in Sydney’s thriving North West Growth Area.
“It’s really hard to find a school like this, especially in this area, or even outside the area,” says Angela Vrbesic, mother of Arrunga student Luka.
For the Vrbesic family, the opportunity for Luka to be part of the same learning community as his brother who is already a student at St Luke’s means a lot.
“He likes to copy his brother and that’s a big part of how he learns so it’s so nice having them here together,” Angela said.
Angela also loves the focus on developing life skills, and supporting students to maximise their potential.
“I know he’s going to be looked after and cared for and that he’ll get everything he needs here at Arrunga.”
Andrew and Christina Cha were so proud to see their son Rohan prepare for his first day at Arrunga.
“The fact that he put on his uniform and got his school bag ready this morning was a really big moment for us, we can see that he’s ready. It’s such a great start,” they said.
“He was a bit nervous. It was maybe a little bit daunting but seeing so many teachers there to welcome him just made him feel really good.”
Leading Teacher Catherine Goodwill was really excited to welcome students to Arrunga for the first time.
“This morning there were a lot of happy faces. It’s going to take a little time for the children to get into a routine, to meet and get to know new friends,” Catherine acknowledged.
“These are beautiful children and it’s our job to make sure they’re looked after, that they’re catered for and that they’re learning and provided with a good education. Their safety and their happiness is paramount. The parents have been absolutely amazing.”
Arrunga is a Darug word meaning ‘in harmony’. A purpose-built learning environment which promotes a personalised approach to the needs and adjustments required by students will be completed later in 2021. To begin with, several modular classrooms provide outstanding temporary facilities for the first Arrunga students.
Similar Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta settings, Wiyanga located at St Patrick’s Marist College at Dundas and Kirinari at Xavier Catholic College in Llandilo, enrol students from Years 7 to 12. Learn more about Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta high support learning centres.