Rural and remote education
The Rural and Distance Education unit is based in the Bathurst State office and supports schools in rural and remote areas and those providing distance education.
Rural and Remote Education
Explore the new Rural and Remote Education Strategy (2021-2024).
Rural and Regional Research Project
The Gonski Institute for Education and the School of Education at the University of NSW (UNSW) have been engaged by the Department to undertake a research project into rural and regional education. The research is being led by the Director of the Gonski Institute and Head of the School of Education.
The key project outcome is to build a stronger evidence base to inform tailored support to schools and support context specific policy decision making and/or policy adjustments aimed at more effectively, efficiently and sustainably improving the outcomes for students in remote and rural public primary and secondary schools in NSW.
The research focuses on 16 schools in three clusters across Rural and Regional NSW. They are:
Cluster 1: (Riverina) Ariah Park Central School, Ardlethan Central School, Barellan Central School, Hillston Central School, Oaklands Central School, Lockhart Central School
Cluster 2: (Wee Waa/ Narrabri) Wee Waa High School, Wee Waa Primary School, Narrabri High School, Narrabri Primary School, Narrabri West Primary School
Cluster 3: (Gunnedah) Gunnedah High School, Gunnedah Public School, Gunnedah South Public School, Curlewis Public School, Mullaley Public School, Boggabri Public School
The objective of this project is to conduct robust high-quality research in partnership with the Department to better understand what can be done to assist identified schools in remote and rural settings to lift educational outcomes through tailored and differentiated support.
The research project will consider key elements through deep engagement with school leaders in the specified clusters of schools. The research team will:
act as a critical friend and through this process understand, capture and analyse contextual factors impacting rural and remote school improvement;
undertake quality research to review the impact of current Department policy and program implementation on rural and remote schools with a view to making recommendations to support school improvement;
develop and establish a creditable research/evidence base that can inform policy development, program implementation, decision making and related strategic approaches that will address the disadvantage and relatively poor performance of rural and regional schools;
engage in a deep dive into understanding the unique rural and remote school contexts to explore the impacts of tailored and differentiated support and how the Department’s policies could impact on schools’ capacity for improvement with a critical lens on how to optimise systems resources (DELs, specialist staff etc.) and tools.
The Rural and Regional Education Research Project is a twelve-month research project due to report back in December 2021.
Scholarships and allowances
A range of allowances and scholarships are available for students in rural and remote locations who live away from the family home to attend school.
Living away from home allowance
The Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA) assists eligible NSW families whose children must board away from home to access secondary education. Pre-conditions for eligibility relate to income and distance from the nearest public secondary school or school of preferred religion. Applicants must also meet a further criterion such as a medical condition or impassable roads. See LAFHA information for further details.
- Check the closing date for the current year on the LAFHA application before completing.
- Applications must be received before 30 June each year.
- Applications received between 1 July and 30 September, if successful, will only be paid for half a year.
- Applications received after 30 September cannot be approved for that year.
Boarding scholarships for isolated students
Boarding Scholarships for Isolated Students (BSIS) assist eligible students from rural areas who are required to board to attend NSW public specialist high schools – including agricultural boarding schools – or those required to board at a school term hostel to access a NSW public secondary school. Scholarships are available for students in Years 7 to 12 who are disadvantaged by a low family income and geographical isolation. See BSIS information for further details.
- Check the closing date for the current year on the BSIS application before completing.
- Applicants must:
- have been accepted either at a NSW public specialist school or agricultural boarding school
- need to board at a school term hostel to access a NSW public secondary school.
Australian Government assistance
The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme (AIC) is an Australian Government program that targets students who cannot attend a public school because the family home is geographically isolated or the students have a disability or special needs. It is managed by the Department of Human Services – see the AIC guidelines for further information.
Check eligibility and make a claim for payment through Services Australia.
The NSW Department of Education is required, in specific cases, to support an AIC application. All requests for a statement of support are considered on a case-by-case basis. A statement may be provided if applying under '4.3 students with special needs':
- 188.8.131.52 student needs to be removed from local school environment
- 184.108.40.206 student would suffer serious educational disadvantage at local school.
To request a statement of support from the rural and distance education team:
- read the AIC guidelines to ensure eligibility
- read and complete the appropriate application to request a statement of support, including a detailed explanation of your eligibility
Distance and Rural Technologies Team - Learning
The Distance and Rural Technologies team (DART Learning) assists students and schools with technologies to improve rural and distance education schooling.
DART Learning coordinates virtual excursions and educational experiences for schools. Videoconferences allow students to engage with experts across the globe. Excursions are designed to enrich and supplement the curriculum across all stages and key learning areas.
Visit DART Connections for further information about upcoming experiences and how to participate.
Rural and Remote Network Initiatives
The Rural and Remote Network Initiatives provide individual and communities of rural schools the opportunity to develop innovative curriculum programs for their students. Funding is allocated to schools on an annual basis through an Expression of Interest process. Applications are reviewed by a panel of rural education stakeholders to determine successful projects.
The Rural and Remote Network Initiatives are designed to assist schools:
- develop authentic, innovative and engaging programs to improve the learning outcomes of all rural and remote students
- develop school leadership capacity, collaborative practice and strong links between communities and schools
- provide quality professional learning to rural teachers.
For more information on successful Rural and Remote Network Initiatives, NSW Department of Education employees can click here.
2021 Expressions of Interest
Schools were invited to submit an Expression of Interest for the 2021 Rural and Remote Network Initiatives program that closed on Friday 27 November 2020 (5pm).
Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative
The Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative is a joint program coordinated by Rural and Distance Education and Pathways and Transitions to assist schools embed career education into their curriculum. The program provides financial support and curriculum assistance to communities of schools to assist them to:
- develop innovative and creative career education processes that will strengthen the smooth transition from primary to secondary school
- raise student expectations and pathways into further study and/or training
- provide teachers with appropriate professional learning
- provide quality school leadership
- establish strong relationships with community.
For more information on the Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative, NSW Department of Education employees can access teacher newsletters for the program.
Submissions for the 2022 Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative will close on Friday 15 October 2021. Interested applicants must download the Expression of Interest form and attach their completed response to the online Google Form. Information on school requirements can be accessed to support applications for 2022.
Rural and Remote Marking Program
The Rural and Remote Marking Program (RRMP) provides rural HSC teachers with an opportunity to mark the HSC. Benefits of this professional learning opportunity include:
- new knowledge and understanding of the marking process and HSC standards
- seeing a full range of examination responses from the course candidature
- a deeper knowledge of HSC questions; course outcomes and content detailed in the syllabus
Successful participants in the RRMP will:
HSC Simulated Marking Program
The HSC Simulated Marking Workshops provide professional learning to Stage 6 teachers on HSC marking procedures and processes. Using specialised materials and processes developed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), the program seeks to connect rural teachers with an increased understanding of high expectations for student learning and external marking protocols.
The program responds to Goal 6 and Goal 10 of the NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022, assisting students to be prepared for higher education and post-school pathways.
During the course of the one day workshop, participants will:
- be introduced to the expectations of HSC marking and protocols used by senior markers
- gain expert advice from senior markers on how to use online software to mark the HSC
- have an opportunity to practice marking using the online software using student responses from previous years
- collaborate with markers and other teachers around HSC marking moderation processes.
Targeted Curriculum Pathways Project: Stage 4 and 5
Stage 4 Virtual Languages Curriculum Pilot
Contact the Rural and Distance Education unit for further information on programs and scholarships for rural teachers and students.