During COVID times, Calrossy Anglican School developed a learn-from-home online program that will be offered permanently for years 7–9. 

Story Kirsty McKenzie  Photo Ken Brass   

If there’s a silver lining to the dark COVID cloud, it’s the increased online flexibility for many people. At Calrossy Anglican School in the NSW New England city of Tamworth, that’s meant the development of a permanent learning-from-home program. eCalrossy, as the model is called, was launched for year 7 at the beginning of 2021, year 8 at the beginning of this year and there are plans to roll the program out for year 9 next year. There are currently 23 online students across years 7 and 8.

“We were discussing e-learning before the pandemic,” Calrossy’s deputy principal and head of eCalrossy Mark Doran explains. “Distance education has been available for a long time, but it’s still very paper-based and it seemed obvious that we could better utilise new technologies to make remote learning more immediate.”

As a parent of four children, Mark also admits that he was thinking selfishly about how to mitigate the inevitable costs of giving them an independent education. eCalrossy means boarding costs for remote students can be deferred until year 10. It appeals to families of students who might not be ready for boarding, or are required to help on-farm, have health issues needing treatment or therapy on a regular basis, or sporting or creative talents that demand extra time. 

The eCalrossy timetable runs from 8.40am to 1pm and the students Zoom into classes conducted by specialist subject teachers in dedicated studios at the school. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #143

Outback Magazine: June/July 2022