Inquiry into the education of students in remote and complex environments

As part of its inquiry into the education of students in remote and complex environments, the House Education Committee wants to know more about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on home learning and teaching.

The inquiry was initially launched in December, and has received submissions from a wide range of stakeholders and experts. The Committee has outlined areas of interest, but in recent months suspended its program of hearings because of the pandemic.

‘As Australian students and teachers move to the next phase, we are again inviting views – we are sure that lessons being learned help improve our understanding of a student’s education journey in remote and complex environments’, said Mr Andrew Laming MP, Chair of the Committee.

‘The Committee has been examining how education meets the learning needs of students and how barriers in the education journey are overcome. The response of Australian schools to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for rapid adaptation to home and online learning, has clearly accelerated the importance of flexible and well-supported responses,’ Mr Laming said.

‘We want to expand our range of evidence into specific lessons and consequences of rapid and flexible home and online learning and teaching. The Committee hopes to learn more about how these new flexible approaches might continue to be applied in remote and complex environment long after schools return to ‘normal’ face-to-face teaching,’ Mr Laming said.

‘We also hope that some of the excellent stakeholders we’ve heard from so far might give us the benefit of their recent, COVID-19 experience so that we can take this inquiry forward.’

Beyond hearing more about adaptations and solutions to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee’s areas of interest include 

  • small remote schools; particularly in challenging areas like the tri-state area of central Australia;

  • career counselling of remote students and means of connecting them to further education or local employment;

  • challenges faced by regional schooling providers and initiatives in place;

  • how families of vulnerable young children can access, enrol and remain in early learning, and the collaboration between early and primary education; 

  • the performance and monitoring of those in home schooling to maintain national minimum standards; and

  • access and support to deliver the Australian Curriculum (including STEM) in a flexible way, to meet local learning needs and interests of remote students, including examples of innovative ways in which the curriculum is being delivered in remote schools.

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