Education revolution: ACT schools to go remote for Term 2

Ian Bushnell 11 April 2020 42
A student with Yvette Berry

ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry says the ACT Government will provide devices for any child that needs one. Photo: Supplied.

It will be a brave new world for ACT public school students next term, with classes delivered online whether students are at home or not.

The ACT Government says the Territory’s 50,000 public school students and 7000 staff will move to remote learning in Term 2, beginning Tuesday, 28 April.

Education Minister Yvette Berry said only about 2.5 per cent of students were still attending school as the ACT adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic containment measures, and she expected that to continue next term.

For those children who are unable to be at home, a reduced number of school sites will stay open where students will undertake the same online lessons as their peers, supervised by Out of School Hours Care staff supported by teaching staff, and allied health and support staff. Public transport needs will be considered.

The ACT’s four specialist school settings will continue to be available for students enrolled in these schools. Muliyan, the Off Campus Flexible Learning Program, will also be available for those who need it.

The Education Directorate wants families to register their children through an online form if they are unable to have their children at home so it can confirm how many and which school sites will be required.

This will also consider students who are usually in a Learning Support Unit or who have other additional needs.

Additional supports will be in place for vulnerable students studying from home, including appointments with school psychologists.

Calling the remote program a learning opportunity for everyone, Ms Berry said lessons would be delivered flexibly so families did not have to stick to a rigid 9:00 am to 3:00 pm school day, but teachers would not be contactable after hours.

Ms Berry stressed that parents were not being asked to become teachers.

“Our expert teachers will continue to teach and are adapting to do this remotely,” she said.

“Teachers will set a number of tasks for the week for students to complete at home, and they will be checking in with students regularly over the phone, email or through video conferencing.”

Examples of tasks may include watching pre-recorded videos from teachers, listening to music, undertaking physical activity, doing a simple home-based science experiment, reading, online maths activities or making models out of cardboard boxes.

Ms Berry said all tasks would be age-appropriate and not too different from learning that would usually happen in school.

For the younger students who learn through play, teachers will provide packs with materials such as dice and cards for maths games.

She said that learning would still be delivered by individual schools so students and their families remained part of that community.

The government will provide devices and internet access for families who do not have them, and families are urged to contact their schools if they need support.

Ms Berry said the remote program would be reviewed at the end of Term 2 and adjusted as needed for Term 3.

“Term 2 will be an opportunity to learn what remote education looks like for all of us,” she said.

Ms Berry admitted there would be some subjects that could not be delivered online yet, such as woodwork, but teachers would be looking at how they could be in the future.

She said there was no expectation that any students should have to repeat the year.

Year 11 and 12 students will continue to work towards a senior secondary certificate and ATAR, if relevant, with assessment modified so that it remains fair for every student.

Ms Berry said Independent and Catholic schools were running a similar program of work.


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42 Responses to Education revolution: ACT schools to go remote for Term 2
helena helena 1:24 am 10 Apr 20

A petition has been set up online at change.org calling on Minister Berry for no full term remote schooling in ACT schools for Term 2 without regular review, evidence and consultation- search ‘Review of remote learning model for ACT schools in Term 2 – Evidence and Consultation’ on change.org to sign the petition and have your say.

Jake Winters Jake Winters 11:57 pm 09 Apr 20

Ana Martinez enjoy mother x

Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 6:19 pm 09 Apr 20

If only we had NBN, working from home and kids schooling from home might not be such a huge issue. Almost our entire suburb has NBN, except for a small pocket of houses, and I'm in that small pocket.

Acton Acton 11:30 am 09 Apr 20

Kids need routine and structure in their schooling and when that is removed their education will suffer. Home ‘schooling’ will never be a substitute for classroom stimulation and interaction. Homelife is full of distractions and parents cannot be expected to look over the shoulders of their kids or do the job teachers are qualified for. That is why societies have always removed kids from home and taught them in groups – called schools. Pre-recorded videos, online maths and making models out of card-board boxes may be the Education Minister’s idea of teaching, but the ACT government is only deluding itself if it thinks it is not deliberately disadvantaging and harming our children. Schools and effective real education must resume as a top priority.

Nicole Thomson Nicole Thomson 8:31 am 09 Apr 20

Unfortunately my grade 1 child, unsurprisingly, is not so great at self directed learning.... so al those materials and games ..... need to be organised, scheduled and usually participated in and supervised in an intensive way ...... while the parent is working? This model might work for older children but it is not going to work for families of younger children who cannot reasonably be expected to self-manage their own workload. Oh, and I’m sure those young kids whose lives have been turned upside down won’t mind at all attending a different t school with different kids and educators, where their families still need them to attend.......

Jessica Kate Jessica Kate 6:20 am 09 Apr 20

Oh heeeyyy Anni Ingram🤩

    Jessica Kate Jessica Kate 10:03 am 09 Apr 20

    Anni Ingram 😂 hope you’re all good love xx

Melissa Flanigan Melissa Flanigan 11:27 pm 08 Apr 20

Most things to do with the workplace now are designed to be intuitive - so this challenge for kids will greatly benefit them but I am one of those Mum’s where one child is thriving and the other requires me to be next to him all day ... good luck everyone - it’s not bad it’s different. kids in the bush have been doing this forever !!!

    Thilani Mulrine Thilani Mulrine 11:40 pm 08 Apr 20

    I was actually saying the other day that one of the most impressive nine year olds I’ve ever met was learning from school of air and appeared to be thriving :)

JJ Lindsay JJ Lindsay 11:05 pm 08 Apr 20

It's not an education revolution. Its a band aid solution to a problem. There's no consultation, no co-design, no focus groups, no testing. I applaud the people who have done what they can in the circumstances but it's hardly the way of the (long term) future.

    Jodie McGuire Jodie McGuire 11:10 pm 08 Apr 20

    JJ Lindsay There hasn’t exactly been much time for much of that? If anything it may uncover deficits and strengths in the current model of Education in our Country.

    I actually prefer a period of “unschooling” to something substandard that causes stress, anxiety and damages family bonds. But hey, I could get called a Hippy for that!

    JJ Lindsay JJ Lindsay 11:12 pm 08 Apr 20

    Jodie McGuire I don't disagree. Its just misleading to call this something more as if it has been by design rather than default.

    Jodie McGuire Jodie McGuire 11:18 pm 08 Apr 20

    JJ Lindsay I Agree. To be honest, what I’m see is many wonderfully dedicated and competent teachers trying to keep doing it the same way, only remote....it doesn’t work that way! Many staff are on a “productivity peak” to try and upload and set many tasks and in doing so, for high schoolers in particular, generate a ridiculous amount of email notifications in their students school email inboxes. Add to this, the concept that some schools are still thinking of going ahead with an identical 5-6 period day! Just not feasible, healthy nor sustainable.

    We need to Unthink what we’ve been taught to believe about the best way to teach and learn.

    Melissa Flanigan Melissa Flanigan 11:34 pm 08 Apr 20

    Ladies so what you are saying is kids in the bush that have been learning remotely are less equipped than your children ? I actually don’t need to know the answer to the question but maybe think about this - maybe the children need to learn to be more adaptive and agile in their learning. Btw I have 2 kids one is thriving and one is struggling ... but what great life skills this offers. a little self led learning and self motivation never disadvantaged anyone. Stay positive - stay engaged with your school and you always have the option to home school but it takes a massive investment from you. Good Luck

    Thilani Mulrine Thilani Mulrine 11:38 pm 08 Apr 20

    There’s hardly any time for co-design however in these last three weeks, there’s definitely been testing and trialling as the teachers started to transition to online training and it has been great to see them adapting to what works and what doesn’t and to what the kids need.

    JJ Lindsay JJ Lindsay 11:42 pm 08 Apr 20

    Melissa Flanigan I would say kids in the bush have far better well thought learning plans and set ups than families and teachers who have had to quickly adopt and scale this now. My gripe is less with the concept of remote learning and more with the journalism that gratuitously flatters this approach as the brave new world.

    Melissa Flanigan Melissa Flanigan 11:53 pm 08 Apr 20

    JJ Lindsay ... it’s gonna be ok. it’s not gonna be the same - it’s gonna be different and there is lots to learn from different.... kids miss a term of school to travel Europe or compete in a sport competitively ... they survive - I sincerely hope it works ok for you and your family. There are heaps of teacher offering support services on facebook and if all else fails the Australian Curriculum is available online. there is 1 bonus - No NAPLAN!

    Grant Suzanne Riches Grant Suzanne Riches 7:43 am 09 Apr 20

    Melissa Flanigan well said Mel. It is going to be different and there will be many teachers with steep learning curves too! We will get through and need to trust our children will be responsible and show resilience with their learning. In years to come we certainly will have stories to share!

Josh Cockerill Josh Cockerill 8:33 pm 08 Apr 20

Oh goody, can’t wait. Let’s hope for some good resources and support rather than a list of expensive, subscription-only apps and a heavy reliance on screen time.

Lizzie Papadakis Lizzie Papadakis 8:15 pm 08 Apr 20

A whole term!!

    Josefin Bradarić Josefin Bradarić 8:44 pm 11 Apr 20

    Lizzie Papadakis we can do it 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼

Sair Rah Sair Rah 8:06 pm 08 Apr 20

Steve Hegs good times ahead...

Belinda Cox Belinda Cox 7:33 pm 08 Apr 20

Yep my kids are really struggling to get any questions answered when they have a problem. 2020 is a write off for us and thinking repeating the year will be necessary 😖

    Leisa Doggett Leisa Doggett 8:50 pm 08 Apr 20

    Belinda Cox it’s such a worry- I’ve got one in Year 12 and one in first year uni!

    Leisa Doggett Leisa Doggett 8:52 pm 08 Apr 20

    If you need any maths tutoring by Skype, let me know. Matt is doing extension 2 maths (your double specialist maths). Miki can help with bio or exercise sci once her semester finishes and she has more time available.

Fiona Johnston Fiona Johnston 7:20 pm 08 Apr 20

Not looking forward to this in any way Ben Johnston

Garvin Francis Garvin Francis 7:17 pm 08 Apr 20

Linda Francis might be worth reading some if the cimnents

Sue Mckellar Sue Mckellar 6:57 pm 08 Apr 20

Does this apply to Uni students too?

    Amy Victoria Amy Victoria 7:00 pm 08 Apr 20

    Sue Mckellar no, ACT Govt not in charge of unis, they will make their own decisions

    Sue Mckellar Sue Mckellar 7:01 pm 08 Apr 20

    Amy Victoria ok, my son is at Uni.

    Jodie McGuire Jodie McGuire 11:07 pm 08 Apr 20

    Sue Mckellar ANU went remote weeks ago..I withdrew as now work from home and have kids to supervise.

    Sue Mckellar Sue Mckellar 11:44 pm 08 Apr 20

    Yes, my son has been studying at home.

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 6:37 pm 08 Apr 20

Its complete rubbish compared to IRL teaching. I say that as a mother whose child has had to become an admin expert in the last 3weeks and as a Uni student who sat through the worlds most annoying tutorial tonight in a 'virtual room'. Let's hope it doesn't become the new normal.

    Jo Hann Jo Hann 6:43 pm 08 Apr 20

    University lectures and tutorials have never reflected best practice teaching.

    Susie Armistead Susie Armistead 7:15 pm 08 Apr 20

    Kriso Hadskini trust me, us teachers don't want this to be the new normal!

    Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 7:17 pm 08 Apr 20

    Susie Armistead I am a teacher too, so same!

    Susie Armistead Susie Armistead 7:20 pm 08 Apr 20

    Kriso Hadskini sorry, didn't realise.. I too am slightly concerned they will think this type of teaching works and will make us do more stuff online. I think they will loose a lot of teachers if they do that.

    Mark Heinrich Mark Heinrich 7:31 pm 08 Apr 20

    That would be lose, rather than loose. Just sayin’ ...

    Bekah Glaz Bekah Glaz 7:55 pm 08 Apr 20

    I love online learning and teaching - and it would be excellent if after all this is over, they keep SOME of this flexibility.

    Jesse Mahoney Jesse Mahoney 7:58 pm 08 Apr 20

    It's better than getting corona and passing it to vulnerable people ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Carli Prestwich Carli Prestwich 6:28 pm 08 Apr 20

Alejandra Brown answer to your question

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