Aboriginal art installation

Our Journey

Founded on innovative and inspirational leadership, our College opened in February 2021. We are carefully developing its learning environments, staffing, resources, support network and services. Every child and young person enrolled has access to high quality and diverse learning opportunities.

New Design for Schooling

Like most ideas, the inception of Ngutu College was born from a melting pot of experiences, learning, circumstances and an identified need. Many well-regarded educators and philanthropists had been following the educational leadership of our Head of College, Andrew Plastow, in his work in the public system. As some education systems drove a ‘world class’ agenda, which increasingly saw schools narrow the focus of conversations about children and learning, Andrew kept the focus on community and the needs of learners. Ultimately, however, a shift away from that environment was required to truly realise the mission that is now embodied at Ngutu College.

To make this shift, there were a few things that were required for Ngutu College to become a reality: a Board, a site, finance and registration as a school. In 2019 Andrew was introduced to Catherine Baldwin, now Chair of the Board, Catherine brought significant experience in start-up organisations and strong community development to build an organisation from the ground up. Many conversations were had regarding the proposed site, with the search centred on the Mikawomma between Tandanya (location of Adelaide) and Yertabulti (Port Adelaide). Our current site was suggested as an option and is already drastically transformed, inside and out, from that first visit. Aerial photos show the development from bitumen and dirt before opening, the transportable buildings that were our home in 2021 and the oasis that now exists.

A Rich and Deeper Model for Learning

The registration of Ngutu College to offer schooling Reception to Year 7 in 2021 was a milestone in the early days of our College. A team of educators had worked behind the scenes in 2020 to develop the first ever documents that laid out what the learning experience at Ngutu would embody. This was backed by extensive experience working in learner-centred models of education, to bring together philosophy and pedagogy that aligned with the stated vision and values. Some of these educators would become the first employees of Ngutu College, working with Andrew to redesign learning to be genuinely equitable, culturally informed and authentically child centred.

Leading up to opening, the above elements swirled around one another, each one relying heavily on the other for progress to be made and a dream realised. It always felt that we needed more time, at the same time hope and belief from our small community drove the work required to get underway. The College’s opening day was on the 1st of February, 2021. We were Welcomed to Country by Uncle Michael O’Brien, with the 90 children who were the first ever learners at Ngutu College and their families.

Continuing our Growth

Since opening, Ngutu College has grown from offering primary schooling to also include an OSHC service, Kindergarten, transportation options and senior schooling. Time is providing us with a key ingredient to build a richness and depth to these things, and ever stronger ties to community. The story of Ngutu’s journey will be a fascinating one to follow or be a part of as our community continues to rethink and rework approaches to education, consider what Ngutu is and does, and what it means to be a learner in this special place.


To redesign schooling to be genuinely equitable, culturally informed and authentically child-centred. To achieve this we collaborate with our families, Kaurna Elders, community leaders, philanthropists and academics.


Ngutu College is a model for the seamless integration of Aboriginal knowledges and formal curriculum in experiential learning environments.

Ngutu College is a socially-just, non-denominational, independent redesign of schooling. It will provide a holistic, child-centred and experiential educational environment. Our learning approach acknowledges and engages the individuality of all children.

A diversity of opportunities for K-12 children and young people will create options and strengthened pathways for achieving academic, vocational and community outcomes.


Enabling all of our children, young people, families and staff to have a voice; to express this in multiple languages; to have this voice informed, of the heart, head, hands and soul; to have this voice contribute thoughtfully, creatively and critically to decisions, actions and ideas that affect them; to have this voice enabled to access the resources and relationships they need to follow their own successful pathways.

Enabling our children and young people to dream, to aspire, to build on strengths and successes; to plan a life journey and have the strength of identity, skills and dispositions to successfully live it and adapt it as they go.

Enabling our children and young people to walk two worlds; to understand their place in Dreaming and in a western society for our Aboriginal children and young people and for others to understand their place in their own cultural heritages and in our multicultural society.

Enabling our children and young people to actively contribute to socially, environmentally and economically sustainable systems through development of their knowledge, cultural understandings, beliefs and skills.

Enabling children and young people to actively engage in play, in The Arts and in inquiry to develop their brains holistically; to imagine, to hypothesise, to problem solve, to intuit and think laterally as well as analytically.