STUDENTS across the region will soon be able to receive support they need no matter where they are, with the launch of a new learning facility.
The New England Centre of Learning, based at Hillvue Public School, will deliver literacy support lessons directly to students in their own classrooms via the internet.
Students referred to the centre by their schools will be assessed by a specialist teacher and receive several personalised lessons each week from a trained volunteer, using webcams and headsets.
The project was driven by Dungowan principal and project co-ordinator Merydyth Raue, who, as a principal of a small school herself, recognised a need for better support in schools where resources were harder to access.
The Royal Far West School in Manly was already using a similar approach to educate children remotely, and Ms Raue thought such a framework could be introduced in the northern region to deliver educational support.
With neither teachers nor students having to travel to deliver or receive the support, Ms Raue said the new centre “gets people off the roads and into the classrooms”.
“It’s a really efficient use of human resources,” Ms Raue said.
The centre will initially deliver literacy support to students in smaller primary schools from next year, but has the potential to deliver support in more areas, including mentoring and speech pathology, to a wider range of students.
But it is not only school students who will benefit – teachers and teacher aides will also be able to “sit in” on lessons, improving their skills to help such students.
It is also expected the centre could be used to deliver professional development to teachers.
“It’s just a dream come true for me,” Ms Raue said.
The Education Department’s New England region and its schools will continue to fund the centre.
The centre is searching for volunteers, particularly retired teachers, to deliver the lessons.
Anyone interested should call the Education Department’s Tamworth office on 6755 5000.