The College of Education, Psychology and Social Work is making a difference in quality education in country Australia.
Emeritus Professor John Halsey is leading a federal government review of regional, rural, and remote education across the country – with the aim of supporting country students to be just be successful at school and to go on to further study, training, and employment.
The review is looking at what needs to be done to help young people in regional areas to finish high school and go on to further study, with research revealing that one-third of country teens never complete Year 12. The review is particularly interested to learn about innovations and fresh ideas that are or could make a real difference for young people and rural communities.
Professor Halsey, who helped establish a new Master of Education course which focuses on rural education leadership, says quality rural education is vital to Australia’s future.
“Vibrant, productive rural communities are integral to the long-term sustainability of Australia,” Professor Halsey says.
“It’s critical that people who live and work in remote Australia have access to high quality, relevant, and affordable education… at all stages of life.”
In April 2017, fifteen school principals and school leaders from around Australia formed the first cohort to complete the Masters of Education (Leadership and Management) which focuses on rural educational leadership.
Many actively aspired to improve remote and rural education, and have a genuine commitment to creating and building better futures for regional communities, Professor Halsey says.
“The role of the remote and rural principal is a complex one, especially as it calls for leaders who can deliver executive management for their school, be a community influencer across their town or region, and provide essential educational leadership for a learning environment to flourish.”
Rural education at Flinders is also supported by the Rural Educational Leadership Scholarship (RELS) program, an initiative made possible through the generous backing of the Origin Foundation and support from the Principals Australia Institute.
The Rural Educational Leadership program uses both an intensive online forum and an on-campus program to encourage an environment where geographically separated school leaders could come together to share thoughts and experiences and integrate theory and practice.
This has resulted in the building of a national network of rural school leaders and principals, “a rich and collaborative community which will continue to share the specific demands and rewards of a remote educational posting,” Professor Halsey says.
Professor Halsey is expected to deliver his final report and recommendations to the Government by the end of 2017.