NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant and Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli today named the State’s first virtual high school for rural and remote students, which will offer classes from the beginning of 2015.
Mr Grant said the new school, Aurora College, would offer selective classes to cater for gifted and talented students and give high school students across the State the opportunity to study subjects not available in their own schools.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for students and shows the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s commitment to improve services right across the State,” Mr Grant said.
“Aurora College’s first cohort will be 55 Year 7 students, who had to sit the selective school exam to gain a place in the school.
“Year 11 students will now be able to use videoconferencing technology to study extension subjects such as mathematics, science and economics that may not be available at their schools. Over 200 students are expected to be enrolled in the College in 2015.
“Aurora College will also build on the great work already underway in regional areas through the xsel program, and many of the xsel students will continue their studies through the College.
“Offers have been made to 50 teachers spread across NSW to teach in the school, with the Department of Education and Communities receiving over 130 high quality applications.
“Aurora College has been named after the Aurora Australis — a stunning display of bright light only seen in the southern hemisphere.”
Mr Piccoli said $8 million had been allocated for the establishment of the school as part of the NSW Government’s Rural and Remote Blueprint for Action, announced in November 2013.
“The school is the first of its kind in Australia and it will grow over time with a new selective intake added every year,” Mr Piccoli said.
“Providing high performing students in regional areas with the same opportunities as their metropolitan peers will go a long way towards closing the gap in educational achievement between city and country students.
“We are delivering on our commitment to provide greater opportunities for students from rural and remote NSW.”
The establishment of Aurora College will complement other actions in the Rural and Remote Education Blueprint, which include:
- $30 million over four years to provide new incentives to attract and retain quality teachers and school leaders in rural and remote schools;
- $15 million over four years to support student wellbeing by establishing 15 specialist centres to offer coordinated inter-agency health and wellbeing services; and
- $4 million over four years to strengthen early childhood education in rural and remote communities.
“Overall there are 38 separate wide-ranging actions in the Rural and Remote Blueprint for Action and each one is on track,” Mr Piccoli said.
“The progress in the first 12 months of the Blueprint is encouraging. Each improvement has the potential to further the educational outcomes and life opportunities for young people growing up in rural and remote NSW.”