Support for Rural Learning

The Country Education Partnership is committed to supporting rural and remote education communities in developing and providing quality education experiences for their young people to realise their career pathways and aspirations.

Rural Partnerships and Clusters

Since its inception, CEP has supported rural communities to enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for young people with the development of clusters. Centred on a place-based, whole-of-community approach, these partnerships and clusters have impacted positively on the learning provided within these communities.

This approach enhances a rural community’s ability to provide learning opportunities, creative workforce utilisation, education leadership, and improved management and governance.

    This clustering approach has delivered many positive outcomes. Some useful examples include:

    • The use of shared specialists such as the Mobile Arts and Mobile Library initiatives;
    • The shared delivery of post compulsory education programs;
    • The provision of ‘hard to staff’ curriculum areas such as languages, sciences, and music through the engagement of shared specialists working across the cluster of education settings
    • The development of a whole-of community approach to early (0-8 years) learning;
    • The provision of a cluster-wide approach to professional development and growth;
    • And the exploration of shared leadership and governance approaches between partner schools.
    NLc Video 2016
    Linking Learning: Warracknabeal
    Support and Resources

    CEP is in the process of developing resources and case studies to improve rural and remote learning by focusing on the development and implementation of effective collaborative approaches. These resources are available through the Rural Learning Hub.

    Innovative Initiatives

    Energy Breakthrough
    An authentic and ‘hands on’ STEM initiative.

    The Country Education Partnership initiated this exciting concept in 1991, to deliver a hands-on learning program to cater for the challenges that many rural and remote communities face in providing STEM centred learning.

    School groups work throughout the year to design, build and test pushcarts, pedal-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and crafty machines within detailed specifications. This requires a team effort and an across-the-curriculum approach with a clear focusing on providing STEM learning.

    These groups then take their vehicles and machines to Maryborough, in Central Victoria, for a momentous Breakthrough Celebration, in which they each demonstrate and trial their creations.

    Energy Breakthrough inspires young Australians to embrace learning, be creative and innovative, to celebrate human endeavour and achievement, to respect and care for the environment and our communities, and to drive change through the power of collaboration.

    Energy Breakthrough – Powered by Imagination

    Energy Breakthrough website

    A specific blended learning initiative

    The CEP, iSee and a range of external partners are collaborating to create an online extension program in the area of Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM). Affectionately known as ‘eKids’ this blended learning approach provides a range of enhancement and enrichment activities and programs for young people in partnership with rural and remote education communities.

    Developed in 2007, eKids has provided learning in areas such as:

    • eKids: providing enhancement learning for talented students from rural and remote communities;
    • eKids Science: engaging upper primary school students in science-based learning
    • eKids Biology: supporting VCE students in the learning of Biology
    • Further information on the eKids Framework can be gained by reading the eKids Framework.

    eKids Framework

    As students have reflected:

    ‘Online learning allows collaboration and discussion with a wider range of students and teachers.’ 

    ‘Face-to-face learning is good for writing notes and answering questions, especially because I am in a small class. However, the online class provides greater variation in thinking because there are more people involved, which is particularly helpful for subject revision.’

    Fairfax Performing Arts

    The Fairfax Youth Initiative is a creative project for schools and students in our Murray Mallee region. Throughout the program artists deliver workshops in schools, students develop their own works, and all schools and students from across the region come together for a week in Swan Hill during September.

    The Fairfax Youth Initiative involves young people from towns like Birchip, Manangatang, Bendigo, Swan Hill, Mildura, Tooleybuc, Robinvale, Ouyen and Sea Lake. It is recognised as being pivotal in keeping young people in school and connected with their wider communities.

    The program begins with four days of in-school workshops where artists work with groups of students, facilitating new skill development and creative outcomes for students. Followed by a weeklong truly phenomenal theatrical experience for students and staff. A final performance event at the Swan Hill Town Hall closes the project, by showcasing the works students have created.

    2018 Fairfax Youth Initiative

    Engaging the Swan Hill Rural City Council, the Fairfax family and many performing artists, this initiative:

    • Encourages young people to be creative, imaginative, inventive, adventurous, collaborative and skilful in the creation of original devised or scripted short theatre performances.
    • Develops theatre skills and the appreciation of the creative arts amongst young people.
    • Involves young people in the festival spirit, encouraging the mutual appreciation and positive regard of each other’s work.

    In Full Voice, with Big Love from Swan Hill

    MARC and MACC Programs
    Over thirty years ago, the CEP, in partnership with many rural communities across Victoria, developed the mobile library and mobile arts program. Facilitating collaboration between these communities, the CEP aided in the provision of a ‘mobile van’ especially capable of mobilising resources and educators across a cluster setting.

    The MARC and MACC program today operates on a partnership model where:

    • The Department of Education and Training provides the salary for the educators employed in each mobile van
    • A cluster of rural education communities work together to provide the required resources inclusive of the mobile van and the curriculum resources contained within them.

    Read Victoria’s article about the Art Van

    Post Compulsory Education Provision

    Guided by a partnership approach, many rural education communities are now working collaboratively to provide post-compulsory learning in both the academic and vocational curriculum areas. Support from government initiatives has allowed these partnerships to utilise a range of technologies in the delivery of programs. This began with the telematic technologies of the early 1990s and continues with the personalised and interactive technologies, such as webex and isee, used today.

    Such partnership approaches have resulted in a significant increase in the curriculum choices available to young people within rural and remote communities. Whilst simultaneously building strong connections between schools, their training providers, local businesses and local industries.

    Prep to Year 12 Education Settings

    The Country Education Partnership consistently works with a diverse range of rural P-12 education settings across Victoria. This work supports principals, education leaders and staff by providing opportunities for professional development and school-community growth.

    P-12 education settings provide a cohesive and cumulative approach to teaching, learning and assessment, by providing:

    • Better preparation for learning in the early years
    • Consistency, leading to strengthened learning in the middle years of schooling
    • Stability, building Year 10 as a transition to the senior phase of learning
    • Consolidation for senior students to achieve their very best at VCE level

    In 2006, CEP co-ordinated a body of research that examined the influence of P-12 learning structures on curriculum and student-learning outcomes, as well as the development of organisational and school-community partnerships. The report was released in February 2007, since the release of this publication CEP has worked in collaboration with schools to achieve broad goals for educational excellence and equity.

    See P-12-Education-Report

    CEP has since delivered the following:

    • A Victorian P-12 Education Network.
      The development of education leaders within P-12 education settings.
    • Forums and workshops specifically targeting a breadth of topics and focus-areas unique to P-12 education settings.

    In 2018, and after a period of hiatus, the CEP re-established the Victorian P-12 Education Network in conjunction with a number of education leaders working in P-12 schools.

    The Network provides education leaders and teaching staff  access to forums, workshops and professional development opportunities.

    Further information on activities and professional development opportunities specific to P-12 Education Settings can be found through our Rural Learning Hub.