Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Time for School Longreach 11/07/2011

After another cold night we woke to a beautiful clear morning.  We had a leisurely start to the day – chef Peter made me breakfast while I wait sitting up in bed.  We have been free camping in Longreach and although there are toilet facilities available we have been able to use the shower and toilet in the caravan.

We made our way to the Longreach School of Distant Learning (School of the Air) for the 10.30 tour.  The tour commenced with a short video showing a teacher communicating with her class of six students.  This is done via computer and internet video link and is very interactive between the students and the teacher.  There are 25 teachers and administration staff at the school and each student teaches twelve students divided into two groups.  Each group has a link up with the teacher for 45 minutes each day.  The school has 175 students from 102 families.  The majority of these are children of outback station families, but includes one family who live on a boat near Malaysia, the family of a drover who is constantly on the move, and another family who are travelling Australia for twelve months.  The students each come into the school for up to a one week period each year, and their mother or home tutor must attend with them.  There are on site facilities to cater for up to fifty at one time.  This time is also used to upskill the mother or home tutor on new computer packages, changes in curriculum etc.  Students can travel up to eight hours or more to come into the school for these visits.  They also come into the school for the swimming sports and athletic day and the older students have an annual school camp. 

The tour guide showed us around the school and we saw displays of work completed by the students.  We also saw a number of the soundproof studios where the teachers connect with the student groups.  There was an impressive display of windmills made by the year five students.  The school has a computer room with 25 computers set up for use when the students are at school.   The library was also impressive and obviously provides a great resource to families.  The school work is sent out each term and library books issued regularly.  This school is clearly providing great assistance to the rural families with classes from prep to year ten catered for.

After our visit to the school we went to the Stockman Hall of Fame which is an outback museum.  As it was Monday we were advised that the outback concert was not on today so we decided not to go into the museum.  We will leave that for another visit.

We then wandered along the shopping strip and did some grocery shopping before heading back to camp for a relaxing hour or so.  It was good to chat to Cam (who lives in Moscow) – he was walking to work and I was sitting in the sun in the outback of Australia!  We are camping near a waterhole and Peter and I went for a walk to see the paddle steamer on the river.  A really peaceful place to spend a few days.  We are amazed at how many people are enjoying camping in this lovely spot.

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