Distance education

Guidance on the distance education provision in NSW schools.

What is distance education?

The NSW Department of Education provides distance education to students living in NSW who are geographically isolated or unable to attend school on a regular basis due to special circumstances. In some instances, distance education is also available to students who are unable to access an appropriate curriculum at their local school.

There are 11 distance education schools in NSW, including a school for specific purpose and a specialist language high school. Two of these schools also offer distance education preschool. The full list of distance education schools can be found at distance education schools.

Is distance education the same as home schooling?

Distance education is not the same as home schooling. Distance education provides schooling for students who are unable to access a local government school. In distance education, the school and teacher are responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating student learning programs.

Home schooling involves a parent or carer choosing to educate their children at home. In home schooling, a parent or carer is responsible for developing teaching and learning programs for their children. More information about home schooling can be found on the NESA website.


Full-time enrolment

Full-time enrolment in distance education is available to students who are geographically isolated or whose special circumstances prevent them from attending a school or other appropriate provision. It may be available for students from preschool through to Year 12.

Categories for full-time enrolment include:

  • geographic isolation
  • students travelling within Australia
  • students temporarily resident or travelling overseas
  • students with a medical condition
  • pregnant students/young parents
  • vocationally talented students
  • students with additional learning and support needs
  • students in extraordinary circumstances
  • students affiliated with the national school for travelling show children.

Single course enrolment

Single course and curriculum access provisions enable students to meet the mandatory requirements of both the department and NESA in Stages 5 and 6. To be accepted, the principal of the distance education school must be satisfied the student’s needs cannot be met within their home (regular) school or setting, or by accessing other local resources.

Single course enrolment is managed directly between the home school and the distance education school, not by the parent/carer. Single subject applications are limited by a quota based on the size and capacity of the school to deliver a broad curriculum from its own resources.

Distance education schools

Information about the provision of distance education can be obtained from your child’s current local school.

Distance Education school details

School Contact Preschool Primary Secondary
Bourke Walgett School
of Distance Education
02 6872 2424
Camden Haven High
02 6556 8200

Dubbo School of
Distance Education
02 5804 7000 Yes Yes Yes
Finigan School of
Distance Education
02 6210 5200
Yes Yes
North East Public School
of Distance Education
02 6584 1118
NSW School of Languages 02 9381 4800

School of the Air –
Broken Hill and Hay
08 8087 3565 Yes* Yes
Sir Eric Woodward
Memorial School (Distance
Education Support Unit)
02 9988 0677
Yes Yes
Southern Cross School of
Distance Education
02 6681 0300
Yes Yes
Sydney Distance Education
High School
02 9383 0200

Sydney Distance Education
Primary School
02 9207 6300 Yes

*Distance education preschool operates from the Broken Hill campus.

Further information and enquiries

The Rural and Distance Education Office can be contacted via email at rde@det.nsw.edu.au.

The enrolment procedures can be found at Distance Education Enrolment Procedures (PDF 346 KB). Information for supervisors can be found in the Student Supervisor document (PDF 1242 KB).


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