CEFPI CONFERENCE 2008 Education Access & Provision Challenges and Opportunities for Education in Rural Schools. Workshop Agenda. Overview of challenges and issues related to education provision in rural schools.
Characteristics of places variously termed rural, regional,
country, remote and isolated include:
Generally, when there is a deficit experienced in any or all of these
characteristics, rural, remote and isolated communities record higher
than the national average for students 15 years and younger leaving
school (particularly for indigenous students) and lower participation
rates in higher education. However, the participation rate in VET in
rural and remote areas is higher than in urban centres. This may be
due to the early school leavers seeking post-school options to support
entry to the work force. Vocational education programs are also seen
as a pathway into local or regional employment or in support of an
existing family business.
There are 132 schools (141 sites) in the Region
In 2008 there were 25,623 students enrolled in government schools in this
There are 2230 (2040 EFT) teachers in the Region.
The population and family occupation changes for most rural localities has steadily impacted on our schools. The current drought will further reduce rural population levels and result in future declines in school numbers for the isolated localities. School bus loadings are declining in several parts of the Wimmera & Central Networks which may cause future rationalisation of some routes, and create longer travel times for some students.
The situation within the provincial centres of Horsham, Ararat, Stawell, Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh is that of steady to medium/high growth projections. The outlook for the community of Bannockburn is also very positive with an expected increase of 5000 – 8000 people over five - eight years due to its proximity to Melbourne and Geelong.
Country Regions -
NB: Grampians Region 2007
- Highest number of student deferments for tertiary study due to
family income factors.
- Lowest number of tertiary qualifications in parent population
West Wimmera: 65% kindergarten participation, compared to statewide average 95%
Student retention (2006)
NB: Ballarat area has well established independent
Student absence (2005 data)
VCE All Study mean (2006 data)
VET Participation.(2006 data)
VCAL participation (2006 data)
(split into 2 SEO areas) ISSUES: Youth Pathways
Total Schools 69 52.7% Youth Unemployment
Total Sites 78 55% Retention/Engagement
Total students 16,829.7 63.4% Market Share
Small Primary School
With the appointment of Leading Schools Fund facilitators in 2005 the region engaged with all schools to consider future provision and access concerns from primary to post compulsory levels. This has included extensive mapping of trends, pathway provisions and inclusion of ‘access’ as a priority in the regional business and strategic plans. Also a demographic study has been conducted for the Ballarat area and 12 Local Area Planning Committees (37 schools) implemented across the region.
A joint study with the Country Education Project has been initiated for the North Central Wimmera area to consider locally acceptable alternatives to the traditional provision models for the future needs of all students in the areas. Several other initiatives are planned or have commenced throughout the region including programs for disengaged students such as Link Up and the Youth Options Guarantee. Canadian Study Tour 2007, in order to explore virtual schooling options.
Establish a Network Skills Hub to enhance trade training options and future
pathways for students across the Wimmera Network of schools.
An Iconic Project supporting Wimmera colleges spread over a very large geographic area of 23,500 sq kms, includes Catholic Education/TAFE.
The proposal aims to increase apparent retention rates of young people in training and employment across the Wimmera Network especially in skill shortage areas.
This further aims to enhance the seamless service model by catering for a larger breadth of needs and students interests. The significant demographic and geographic issues present in the large rural area of the Wimmera relating to education provision and access could be further addressed through this
Once implemented this could also serve as a model for other Regions and provide access to colleges across and beyond the Grampians Region as was observed in Canada during our recent study tour.
By definition, the concept of the Network Development Plan needs to focus on the range of initiatives, programs (either system and/or “local”) that the Network will undertake to improve the outcomes of the young people for whom it is collectively responsible.
What would a Network need to know and to do in order to ensure that every single child can be the most powerful leader that he or she can be?
Network Development Plan
ANALYSIS OF STUDENT NEEDS
NETWORK IMPROVEMENT IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
NETWORK IMPROVEMENT EVALUATION PLAN
Definition of Education Access/Provision Plan
The aim of the plan is to prioritise the way(s) in which the educational
outcomes of young people can be enhanced through collective action of the
school, the Region and Central Office, and other partners as appropriate.
This can include:
Grampians Region Education Access Initiatives 2007/2008 Initiatives/Challenges For Development
Proposed Virtual Classroom Projects
Warracknabeal Community School
Horsham Education Provision Model
Ballarat Collective Schools Model, including virtual schooling, TEC, Maths/Science Centre, Wendouree West Community School
Pilot Virtual Classroom
Bacchus Marsh Community / Local Government Partnership
The important conclusion is that we can enhance student access to breadth and depth in curriculum through blended approaches to virtual learning experiences. In addition we also need to redefine teaching and learning pedagogy in the twenty-first century including alignment with “how students learn” and more effective utilisation of the “hidden capital” in the teaching learning process, the students themselves. There is a need to redefine the role of the teacher and the learner with the development of learning partnerships. As stated by Ignacio Estrade – “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”.
In this context, there is an obvious linkage between virtual learning and self-directed learning, with the need to develop new approaches to schooling, networking and partnerships.
Video Conferencing (Research): Alberta
Key Learnings in terms of effective schools/program model
University of Alberta – NAIT
Training Anywhere, Anytime:
Two (2) ‘NAIT in MOTION’ mobile education units are equipped as trade shops to bring the technology to the learner in remote communities rather than bringing the learner to the technology. The NAIT in MOTION tractor-trailer units are outfitted to deliver trades-related training in millwright, pipefitting, steam fitting, gas fitting, welding, machining, electrical and plumbing. The trailers were funded by business/industry – joint partnership.
Question: Implications for facilities/infrastructure?
SCHOOL: Bishop Carroll High School
PROVINCE: Calgary, Alberta
Bishop Carroll High School is a model for self-directed learning. Bishop Carroll is a unique school that places the student, at the centre of learning. Along with the Teacher Advisor and parent, the student chooses the program and courses that best suit their interest, abilities and future plans. Students proceed through courses at their own rate. This allows more flexibility and freedom, but it also demands greater responsibility on the part of the learner. The Bishop Carroll learning model is based on the following principles.
No master time table exists. There are no bells and no regular classes.
The Teacher Advisor (TA) is the coach, motivator, mentor, and main supporter at Bishop Carroll.
Resource Centre and study area at Bishop Carroll High School
Issue: What are the implications for facilities requirements with student centred curriculum rich in ICT.
Recently built Notre Dame High School featuring a Learning Common
Blended Learning Environment
Remote and Isolated Schools
“Virtual schooling…the great equaliser for rural students.”
“Virtual schooling – many students choose to learn this way”
Rural and remote areas need differential models
Models which recognise;
Models/designs with flexibilities for:
(ie primary, secondary, special, tertiary, ACE).
Education In The Twenty First Century Initiatives/Challenges For Development
Blended approaches to Education Delivery within and across schools, including diverse range of virtual schooling options.
Blended approaches to Teaching & Learning with enhanced emphasis on the role of the student in the teaching-learning process
Individual student – right of access to excellence in education, no matter what……
School Organisation & Partnerships
Innovative approaches to schools working together in clusters, networks, partnerships, other agencies
Student wellbeing, including social needs and need for early childhood programs. (Link of wellbeing to curriculum, teaching-learning processes)
Leadership / Capacity Building Programs, including enhanced skills in 21st century pedagogy and education delivery models.
Family / Community
Role of parents, family, community in education process. (importance of early childhood programs.
The rapidly expanding ICT infrastructure available to
rural, regional and remote locations is providing a
powerful means of multiplying the impact of distance
education techniques, and is transforming ways and
means of providing access for all students and families
to high quality education. Continuing action on
improving access and cost issues is essential. “Virtual
schooling – the great equaliser for rural students!”
NATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR RURAL AND REMOTE EDUCATION ICT in the 21
By age 18, each young person residing in rural or remote Australia will receive the education required
to develop their full potential in the social, economic, political and cultural life of the nation
Training & Development
Diverse and reliable supply
with national goals
for lifelong learning
Access to VET
Support for current
ICT training and
Broadening of best
practice networks in
Support of industry,
Identification and use
of local expertise and
Support for local
RURAL AND REMOTE CONTEXTS AND CONSIDERATIONS
Population Size, Diversity and Density Community Opportunities Social Capital Building
Distance Flexibility Leadership Cooperative Action: - Local – Regional – Whole of Government Sustainability
Efforts should be directed towards:
The diversity of rural and remote locations needing quality education services requires a multimodal approach to delivery. Distance and population size and range of choice mean that not all curriculum will be available through face to face methods.
A strategy that focuses on flexible curriculum delivery using a variety of vehicles and structures is required. Examples include:
range or curriculum than would otherwise be available on one site.
of excellence and specialisation.
content and make it available online, with appropriate marking and
face to face teaching; flexibility of/across year levels, flexible
allocation of time; and home tutoring.
Efforts should be directed towards:
Critical factors for many successful educational initiatives include close consultation with communities and the development of partnerships with them. By building effective community relationships and partnerships, projects can be tailored to meet local needs and conditions, as well as meeting wider requirements. A focus on building partnerships at both local and agency levels can result in heightened community involvement and facilitate sustainability. Partnerships are particularly important when planning for and delivering vocational education and training for indigenous communities.
Efforts should be directed towards:
Where to from here for rural education?
The review of the literature identified some of the endemic problems facing rural and regional education. These reports have presented a fairly consistent picture of rural education: lower schooling outcomes, problematic teacher retention and a lack of access to professional development and resources.
Actions for consideration might include the
development of programs that:
NB: Implications for facilities provision more than just innovative approaches to
Importantly, the ideas are not about working from a deficit model of teaching and learning in rural and regional Australia. Rather, the ideas and illustrative actions are offered as positive steps towards harnessing the strengths of rural and regional communities in meeting the challenges facing their schools, and ensuring equity of access for their students.
We need to provide many different types of
David Hargreaves (2003) argues for creating a climate that will encourage radical structural reform, to reshape the school system around diversity and choice. My view of the future, says in 10 years, is that schools, as we know them, will be broken into parts and dispersed throughout the community. These may or may not be called schools, but they will be places of learning. Unlike now, they will not be embedded in one place, fenced off from the community, with expensive, outdated infrastructure that may hold back the learning of the young.
It is possible that we might not even need schools?
How might we begin the process of providing infrastructure in different ways?
How do we go about changing schools?
Unfortunately today the word ‘school’
conjures up very specific images, including
There are other ways in which we might
think about schools – for example:
The idea of a school as a network is attracting a lot of interest from different parts of our community.
The network school would provide access to knowledge, teachers and support. It would not need to be constrained to a school year of 42 weeks, nor to a school day of 8.30 am to 3.30 pm, nor to five days a week. It might be virtual, a development of the school of the air concept, now with easy video and electronic access, and could create an effective community of students and adults through this means.
Or the network might be a mixture of home tutors, dispersed ‘school’ rooms in the community and on-line activities.
A network might be supported by physical means of transportation or broad bandwidth wireless communication. It would be flexible and could be built to meet personal needs.
A feature of this style of education delivery, not unnoticed by government, is that it is less capital dependent, as it could use existing infrastructure.
If we edge too warily into the new Millennium, clinging to the past, then we may fail to communicate effectively with our young people.
In ‘Schooling for the Knowledge Era” David Warner observed that;
the community needs to be convinced that the great majority of young people can be trusted and that schools do not have to be focused on control and management.
Teachers need to be learners too. In a study of school leaders, reported by Brent and Barbara Davies, the following statement was made.
“Staff are very good ‘knowers’ but not very good ‘learners.’ We have to change that over the longer term to build a learning community. (Davies & Davies 2005)
We need to incorporate the technology and the play environments of students into main stream pedagogy, curriculum and assessment.
To paraphrase from John Schaar:
“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present…it is not some place we are going…but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made.”
The task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen.
It is to think what no one has yet thought of, about that which everyone has seen.
Education programs linked to
Environment & Sustainability
Themes & Issues.
Community Based Partnerships & Participation Programs
Joined Up Services
Resource Pooling & Sharing
Flexible Facilties Design, Based on co-location of services, Blended Delivery
Community Development Plan
…and this, of course is what it is all about, kids who enjoy and are challenged by their schools and are provided with the skills and knowledge will succeed in the 21st century environment”
“We are all responsible for all of the students in the school – failure is not an option (Crosby Heights, Ontario)