Educating Australia’s isolated children

Educating Australia’s isolated children Conference Paper

14th National Rural Health Conference: A World of Rural Health

  • Author(s): Sinclair-Newton, J
  • Secondary Author(s): Coleman, Leanne
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: National Rural Health Alliance

Abstract: In our big beautiful country where the population is spread over vast and in places very remote areas, traditional educational services are not able to be provided to all students. Since 1971 the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of Australia, ICPA (Aust), has represented families living in rural and remote regions of Australia. Our goal is to achieve equity of educational opportunity for all geographically isolated children and thus ensure they have access to a continuing and appropriate education determined by their aspirations and abilities rather than the location of their home. Due consideration must be given to factors which affect the delivery of and access to education by these children, factors which do not necessarily need to be considered within the context of metropolitan education. Children may be educated in small rural schools, by distance education, attend boarding schools or school term hostels and sometimes have access to early childhood services. Tertiary students whose family home is in rural and remote Australia frequently must live away from home to access further education. The financial cost to families educating children in these locations continues to rise and can be attributed to many leaving these areas. ICPA continues to provide government with evidence of the inequalities through thorough research and direct input from grassroots members. For many of our member families the only access to education for their children is to study by distance education. A fascination to some, a chore to others, distance education schooling has long been the only option for education in rural and remote Australia. At the latest Federal Conference held in Perth, WA, ICPA launched the Distance Education Resource video showcasing the modern technology filled isolated classroom and this has received an overwhelming response from media and the public. ICPA welcomes any opportunity to highlight the challenges geographically isolated children face and the latest developments as we continue to strive towards achieving the following: accessing affordable early childhood learning and care equity of access and assistance for students with specific learning needs recognition of the financial impact on families who must provide a distance education tutor access to reliable and affordable communication services urgent financial assistance to overcome the unsustainable costs associated with accessing boarding school education for students who must live away from home in the secondary years affordable pathways to accessing tertiary studies.

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Sinclair-Newton, J, 2017, Educating Australia’s isolated children, Conference Paper, viewed 01 December 2021,

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