Cutting edge technology helps students live at home
A virtual learning model is supporting the expansion of schools in Tumut and Temora.
McAuley Catholic Central School, Tumut and St Anne’s Central School, Temora, will move into Stage 6 (Year 11) next year and Year 12 in 2024.
McAuley principal Eamonn Moore said the local community had long held hope the school would be able to support a Catholic education for the entirety of its student’s education.
“At the moment, we have around 17 students remaining with us who are excited to be the leaders of our school and experience many firsts as we grow into the future,” he said.
“They will become our first graduating Year 12 class. The class of XXIV.”
Mr Moore said groundbreaking progress had made the expansion possible, with virtual learning providing flexibility in timetabling and lesson delivery.
“We aim to embrace 21st-century pedagogy and best practice by providing a curriculum that is flexible, dynamic and offers curriculum choice not available in many other schools,” he explained.
“We have teamed with St Anne’s to complete this project. Our virtual learning subjects offered are Biology, and Business Studies with the availability of Extension English taught virtually from St Anne’s Temora campus for next year, with the hope of expanding these offerings into the future.”
St Anne’s Principal Grant Haigh said it was a very exciting time for the school community and the town.
“Our students will have the opportunity to study a combination of in-classroom and virtual learning subjects that are tailored to suit their needs,” he said.
“There is a teacher shortage in the country and this model allows our students to be taught subjects of interest by qualified teachers from our other system schools. In addition, students who enrol in a virtual course receive lessons via Microsoft Teams from qualified teachers who have received extensive training in virtual teaching.”
Mr Moore said students would meet with their online class and teachers at least once a week, with close supervision and support from the school.
“Imagine a group of students all engaged at the one time in a variety of subjects – some online, some working with a mentor and some working on their own workpieces,” he said.
“This method calls for good organisational skills and sound study knowledge but allows enormous flexibility and personal academic support.”
Until now, he explained, families who wanted to continue with Catholic education had to send their children to boarding school.
“The huge benefit is that we can have young people remain at home with their families,” he said.
“They will contribute to the local economy by shopping, working and socialising in their own town.”