Rural and remote education

The Rural and Distance Education unit is based in the Bathurst State office and supports schools in rural and remote areas and those providing distance education.

Rural and Remote Education

Explore the new Rural and Remote Education Strategy (2021-2024).

Scholarships and allowances

A range of allowances and scholarships are available for students in rural and remote locations who live away from the family home to attend school.

Living away from home allowance

The Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA) assists eligible NSW families whose children must board away from home to access secondary education. Pre-conditions for eligibility relate to income and distance from the nearest public secondary school or school of preferred religion. Applicants must also meet further criteria such as a medical condition or impassable roads. See LAFHA information for further details.

  • Check the closing date for the current year on the LAFHA application before completing it.
  • Applications must be received before 30 June each year.
  • If successful, applications received between 1 July and 30 September will only be paid for half a year.
  • Applications received after 30 September cannot be approved for that year.

Boarding scholarships for isolated students

Boarding Scholarships for Isolated Students (BSIS) assist eligible students from rural areas who are required to board to attend NSW public specialist high schools – including agricultural boarding schools – or those required to board at a school term hostel to access a NSW public secondary school. Scholarships are available for students in Years 7 to 12 who are disadvantaged by a low family income and geographical isolation. See BSIS information for further details.

  • Check the closing date for the current year on the BSIS application before completing.
  • Applicants must:
    • have been accepted either at a NSW public specialist school or agricultural boarding school
    • need to board at a school term hostel to access a NSW public secondary school.

Australian Government assistance

The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme (AIC) is an Australian Government program that targets students who cannot attend a public school because the family home is geographically isolated or the students have a disability or special needs. It is managed by the Department of Human Services – see the AIC guidelines for further information.

Check eligibility and make a claim for payment through Services Australia.

The NSW Department of Education is required, in specific cases, to support an AIC application. All requests for a statement of support are considered on a case-by-case basis. A statement may be provided if applying under '4.3 students with special needs':

  • student needs to be removed from local school environment
  • student would suffer serious educational disadvantage at local school.

To request a statement of support from the rural and distance education team:

Rural and Regional Research Project

The Gonski Institute for Education and the School of Education at the University of NSW (UNSW) have been engaged by the Department to undertake a research project into rural and regional education. The research is being led by the Head of the School of Education.

The key project outcome is to build a stronger evidence base to inform tailored support to schools and support context specific policy decision making and/or policy adjustments aimed at more effectively, efficiently and sustainably improving the outcomes for students in remote and rural public primary and secondary schools in NSW. The research project will be completed in 2022.

Please note these applications do not meet WCAG 2.0 requirements. If you require an accessible format please contact the Rural and Distance Education team.

Distance and Rural Technologies Team - Learning

The Distance and Rural Technologies team (DART Learning) assists students and schools with technologies to improve rural and distance education schooling.

Virtual excursions

DART Learning coordinates virtual excursions and educational experiences for schools. Videoconferences allow students to engage with experts across the globe. Excursions are designed to enrich and supplement the curriculum across all stages and key learning areas.

Visit DART Connections for further information about upcoming experiences and how to participate.

Rural and Remote Network Initiatives

The Rural and Remote Network Initiatives provide individual and communities of rural schools the opportunity to develop innovative curriculum programs for their students. Funding is allocated to schools on an annual basis through an Expression of Interest process. Applications are reviewed by a panel of rural education stakeholders to determine successful projects.

The Rural and Remote Network Initiatives are designed to assist schools:

  • develop authentic, innovative and engaging programs to improve the learning outcomes of all rural and remote students
  • develop school leadership capacity, collaborative practice and strong links between communities and schools
  • provide quality professional learning to rural teachers.

For more information on successful Rural and Remote Network Initiatives, NSW Department of Education employees can click here.

Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative

The Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative is a joint program coordinated by Rural and Distance Education and Pathways and Transitions to assist schools embed career education into their curriculum. The program provides financial support and curriculum assistance to communities of schools to assist them to:

  • develop innovative and creative career education processes that will strengthen the smooth transition from primary to secondary school
  • raise student expectations and pathways into further study and/or training
  • provide teachers with appropriate professional learning
  • provide quality school leadership
  • establish strong relationships with community.

For more information on the Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative, NSW Department of Education employees can access teacher newsletters for the program.

Submissions for the 2022 Rural and Remote K-12 Career Education Initiative will close on Friday 15 October 2021. Interested applicants must download the Expression of Interest form and attach their completed response to the online Google Form. Information on school requirements can be accessed to support applications for 2022.

Rural and Remote Marking Program

The Rural and Remote Marking Program (RRMP) provides rural HSC teachers with an opportunity to mark the HSC. Benefits of this professional learning opportunity include:

  • new knowledge and understanding of the marking process and HSC standards
  • seeing a full range of examination responses from the course candidature
  • a deeper knowledge of HSC questions; course outcomes and content detailed in the syllabus

Successful participants in the RRMP will:

  • participate in briefing and practice marking sessions with other teachers from across the state
  • work in small groups under a senior marker
  • complete onscreen marking – at home or a secure location.

HSC Simulated Marking Program

The HSC Simulated Marking Workshops provide professional learning to Stage 6 teachers on HSC marking procedures and processes. Using specialised materials and processes developed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), the program seeks to connect rural teachers with an increased understanding of high expectations for student learning and external marking protocols.

The program responds to Goal 6 and Goal 10 of the NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022, assisting students to be prepared for higher education and post-school pathways.

During the course of the one day workshop, participants will:

  • be introduced to the expectations of HSC marking and protocols used by senior markers
  • gain expert advice from senior markers on how to use online software to mark the HSC
  • have an opportunity to practice marking using the online software using student responses from previous years
  • collaborate with markers and other teachers around HSC marking moderation processes.
Information on the 2021 HSC Simulated Marking can be found online.

Applications must be made using the Google Form and close on Monday 10 May 2021 (5pm).

Targeted Curriculum Pathways Project: Stage 4 and 5

The Targeted Curriculum Pathways Project: Stage 4 and 5 is a pattern of study designed to support students who are highly disengaged from learning and are at risk of not meeting the requirements of the Record of School Achievement (RoSA). The Targeted Curriculum Pathways Project: Stage 4 and 5 will provide schools with a suite of high-quality, relevant and flexible teaching and learning materials. These will be mapped to syllabus outcomes in Stages 4 and 5 and are cross curricula in nature. The Targeted Curriculum Pathways Project: Stage 4 and 5 is to be contextualised and differentiated by schools to meet the needs of their students who have been identified as candidates.

Stage 4 Virtual Languages Curriculum Pilot

The Stage 4 Virtual Languages Curriculum Pilot seeks to harness the capabilities of a virtual platform to coordinate a Stage 4 Languages program between the NSW School of Languages and a selected number of schools with a secondary provision. Over a 12 month period, a Languages subject will be delivered to Year 7 and/or 8 students by a trained subject expert. Suitable schools will be negotiated by Rural and Distance Education with input from rural education stakeholders. More information on the school locations of the pilot will be made available in early 2022.

Further information

Contact the Rural and Distance Education unit for further information on programs and scholarships for rural teachers and students.

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