Hard times are leading schools to develop new plans to help rural families.

Story Dale Thompson

Calrossy Anglican School in Tamworth, NSW, is developing a distance education program that would allow students in years 7–9 to stay at home for their schooling, with a view to enrolling as boarders for their senior years.

Depending on viability, eCalrossy will start in 2021, initially for students in year 7, and will be available to students at any location in Australia with sufficient internet coverage. The students would have a timetable and be part of a class streamed online in real time, offering the benefits of direct teacher and peer interaction. 

Principal David Smith says the current economic climate, in the face of one of the worst droughts in living memory, means that many people living in remote and rural locations are struggling more than ever. That struggle includes accessing quality education. “We’ve only just put the model out and feedback is already positive,” he says. “Many parents and educators are saying it is a great idea for year 7 students who are not yet ready to board, or if it doesn’t suit the family for them to leave home yet. 

“Calrossy’s current academic staff will deliver the online lessons, with students receiving specialised tuition in each subject area, just as they would with face-to-face secondary teaching. The learning would then be supplemented by compulsory residential sessions at the school throughout the year.” These sessions would ensure the distance education students have access to academic, wellbeing, sporting, co-curricular and social opportunities that can’t be met online.

This story excerpt is from Issue #128

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2020