Arkana College is a registered and certified independent, non-government, primary school which was first established in 1960, and currently run completely by a Muslim board of directors. Our aim is to make Arkana College an advanced educational institute for Muslim Children. Our current directors include:
Br Mohammed Helal (Chairman)
Dr Mohamad Assem (Vice Chairman)
Br Hossam El Rayes (Secretary)
Br Ali Elgohary
Br Adel Salman
Dr Fariha Dib
Dr Ziad Basyouny
Sr Tasnim Saeid
History 1986 – 1992
Arkana College is a small independent primary school offering a unique educational experience. Its distinctiveness is due, in part, to its open enrolment policy. While the College is founded on a strong Islamic philosophy, it warmly welcomes children from other cultures and religions. The diverse range of experiences afforded by this policy leads the children to a better understanding and a greater tolerance of others.
The College’s location in Stoney Creek Road, Kingsgrove is central to and easily accessible by families from its catchment area. The Islamic Egyptian Society of New South Wales Inc purchased the school premises (land and buildings) in 1986. The Society had, as part of its charter, an involvement in programs for welfare, for the aged, for women’s issues and for the youth of the Egyptian Islamic Community. It also ran Saturday Programs for Islamic Studies and Arabic language and published its own monthly magazine.
Arkana College Limited is a non for profit organisation limited by guarantee. The College is fully independent from any other organisation and a distinct entity from the Society in philosophy, in operation and in structure.
Because of the needs of the Arkana College to grow and the wishes of the founders of the school from the Islamic Egyptian Community, Arkana College purchased the premises and land from the society with an interest free loan by way of mortgage which was fully repaid in 2014.
This arrangement would enable the College to immediate equity in its premises and would provide by way of a manageable mortgage, a sizable contribution towards a capital project for building improvements and modernisation.
History 1993 – 1999
The school authorities then put forward a two-stage purchase and refurbishment plan.
Stage 1 would see the refurbishment of the existing premises.
Stage 2 adds a much needed first floor extension.
The overall project, once completed would provide an adequate standard of facilities for teaching and learning at the school.
The school continued to grow, so the school authorities were busy raising funds for the proposed capital development. At the same time the school authority was actively seeking to have our funding support from the Commonwealth Government increased. In 1994 the school management went before the governing body with a case to support the schools increased funding level, to one that was more in line with this school’s needs. This review was unsuccessful.
- In 1995 the school applied for and received Commonwealth funding to allow for the development of stage 1 and stage 2 to go ahead. The amount of government funding was $330,000.
- In February 1996, the school’s authority made the decision to purchase an adjoining property in which the school was given first offer for the sum of $250,000. The purchase of this property allowed for the relocation of some of the students whilst the refurbishment and re-building took place.
- In November 1997, the school community saw the commencement of the building project and this also marked the school’s new ownership.
- Then in June 1998, the official opening of the newly refurbished buildings and new 1st storey building was held. The total amount of the project was in excess of $700,000, and the school contribution was in excess of 370,000.
- In 1999, the governing body once again put forward a submission for increased funding level. This was a long process, however in December 1999; the School was informed by the Minister of Education – Dr Kemp (at the time), of the school’s success at being placed in a higher funding category. This increased funding level has allowed the school to consolidate its capital and look to the future.
History 2000 – Present
This school has continued to prosper, as many Muslim parents seek places for their children in an Islamic environment. To keep up with the demand, the school’s governing body (in 1999), purchased a portable classroom to enable the school to continue to cater for community needs. In February 2000, a new purpose built portable building was leased and set up on the grounds of the school.
By 2008 the school had purchased two additional properties adjoining the original site and now had well resourced classrooms for K-6, a larger library, computer room, staff room and admin block. In March 2008 after 21 years loyal service (18 years as Principal) Mrs Madenia Abdurahman retired as school Principal and was replaced by Mr Osman Karolia.
Under the leadership of Mr Osman Karolia, the school introduced regular zone sport and in-school sporting programs, interfaith activities with Jewish and Catholic schools and the introduction of interactive whiteboards in all classrooms. With the assistance of the Government’s BER program, the school was able to build four very spacious classrooms and a multi-purpose hall. The addition meant that all portables were removed and the playground area was expanded.
In 2011, Mr Sam Halbouni was appointed the new Principal. The school, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government’s BGA project, erected a new administration wing, library, support rooms and computer laboratory. The addition meant that the administrative staff were in well equiped offices and the teachers in a new staffroom. The students have also benefited greatly from the support rooms, the spacious library and Information Technology lab. Ipads followed and were incorporated into the teaching programs and laptops are used during Technology sessions. Furthermore, the playground was expanded with further softfill to ensure students had a greater, yet safer area to move and mingle in. A basketball court was also constructed and the children become the Harlem Globetrotters and began happily dribbling, passing and laying up, on that court.
In 2013, the entire staff of Arkana College were trained in Spalding to equip them with further skills and practices most crucial to the development of reading. Our teaching programs then reflected the essential instructional components of effective reading programs. Mathletics, an online mathematical program had also been incorporated into teaching and learning programs to consolidate learning in Mathematics.
On conclusion of 2013, the school’s strategic plan was reviewed and several priorities had been pinpointed to ensure further success at Arkana College. In 2014, the Arkana staff participated in a review and began participating in a four year school improvement plan. The focus area for 2014 and 2015 was reading and comprehension. We revamped the curriculum to include data gathered from diagnostic, formative and summative assessments, we introduced PreLit, MiniLit, MultiLit and MacqLit to assist the students experiencing difficulties attainment reading fluency, we introduced an extension program for the more capable students, an additional guided reading program and a new comprehension based program that focused on six varying strategies. Our focus shifted in 2016 to writing and we saw the curriculum adjusted further with the ‘Seven Steps to Writing’ introduced K-6. Inshallah, the school and its students will continue to make leaps and bounds academically and our children will continue to benefit from our innovative practices and commitment to quality education.
In 2016, the school announced that Scope IT Education was coming to the school. Considering students are spending increasing amounts of time on electronic devices, they are missing the underlying principles of how they work. Our focus shifted to digital technology and through learning computational thinking, design and reasoning, we wanted to show the students how to be creators of technology!
In 2016, and again in 2017, we purchased adjoining properties and inshallah, we will continue to acquire property until the school’s premises increase in size. Our aim is to increase in size and number and continually serve our community well into the future. We have moved our Year 6 students into the lower level of one of those homes, increasing their sense of independence and responsibility. We have also created an additional class on K/1 so that our class sizes on Kindergarten and Year 1 do not exceed 20 students.
Recently, we have rewritten our school’s strategic plan for 2018-2020, alongside our parents, staff and Board of directors, with a more defined vision, mission and values, which will be illustrated throughout the school. We have also set five strategic priorities covering
1. Academic Excellence;
2. Islamic Principles;
3. Best In-Class Educators;
4. Community Engagement and
5. Future Growth.
Each priority has a vast number of goals that set for achievement by the students, staff and board of Arkana College inshallah.