Carnarvon, located on the coast in the Gascoyne Region of Western Australia's northwest is noted for its moderate subtropical climate. The town (pop approx. 5500) supports an extensive pastoral and horticultural industry and prawn and snapper fishery. Students on remote pastoral stations in the region are widely scattered in a 500km radius of the town and beyond the reach of normal education services. The school was established in 1968 to provide education services to students through the Royal Flying Doctor Service radio network and the state Correspondence School. The high frequency radio network was phased out in 2004 and IT based lessons and online programs are now delivered via satellite and supplemented with set work curriculum materials.
Carnarvon School of the Air (CSOTA) is one of 5 schools of the Air based in Western Australia. In the home school room students are assisted by a home tutor, usually the children's mother or a hired tutor. Students 'meet' their fellow students daily on-air in their 'virtual classroom' where teachers conduct lessons with the capacity for each student to see each other.
Teachers visit their students and home tutors to provide face to face learning support required to meet the educational needs of each individual. Students also meet at a number of locations throughout the year to engage in educational programs.
The school conducts training for home tutors and new parents at its annual Home Tutors Seminar. Parents, teachers, home tutors and students meet for a week of professional development and class lessons. Teachers and visiting speakers keep Home tutors up to date with the latest developments in curriculum resources and teaching practice. The school provides professional teaching support, educational programs and information and resources.
The school has a comprehensive and well-resourced curriculum encompassing a blend of online and written materials. Work is submitted electronically to teachers as it is completed. This allows for student feedback to be more immediate. Teachers plan, review and consolidate student materials incorporating attendance at school events where school work is completed face to face. Individual Learning Plans are established for students to cater for individual learning needs.
Time, distance and weather conditions are major factors affecting the delivery of educational services. Technology increasingly helps overcome the tyranny of distance. Satellite technologies are used to enable more rapid and timely communication between home-tutor, teacher and student. Over time this has enhanced the educational outcomes for our students.
The curriculum offerings at Carnarvon SOTA continue to expand with the school utilising a Language program delivered through SIDE, numerous online learning platforms, music tuition, an extension program for Talented and Gifted students and a support teacher to provide for students with learning difficulties.
Home tutors are a key part of students' engagement with the learning program. To this end, home tutors are invited to participate in seminars and school based events. Regular email and telephone contact as well as teacher visits to families, further support the role of the home tutor.
The school is supported by a School Council, which consists of parent community and staff representatives, including the Principal. This group plays a key role in providing school community input into school planning and decisions. The P&C Association also provides strong support to the school and its students.
To find out more, call 9941 1015 or visit carnarvonsota.wa.edu.au.