Frequently Asked Questions
Our school reaches students who live in an area of more than 1.3 million square kilometres, covering the southern half of NT and overlapping the borders of Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
We also have internationally based students from all over the world.
The most distant students in Australia are over 1000 kilometres from Alice Springs.
Although, we usually have students studying internationally as well.
We have approximately 100 distance education students enrolled with us, and around 20 teaching and administrative staff.
Once per term, the students are encouraged to come together from across the Outback for In-school weeks. These are opportunities to go on excursions and camping trips, enjoy athletics and swimming carnivals, and even put together an end-of-year performance!
Furthermore, Primary teachers will usually make a special trip to visit each student’s home once each year -which adds up to a lot of driving!
The school is funded by the Northern Territory Government Department of Education. However, generous donations from members of the public enable us to further enrich the educational experiences of our isolated students.
The age of our students ranges from 4 years old (Preschool) up to 14 years old (Year 9), at which point most students continue on to either NTSDE (the Northern Territory School of Distance Education), or private boarding schools.
Classes tend to be small. They range from 8 to approximately 20 students per class.
Younger students generally have 30-minute lessons while the older students have up to an hour. Usually, there are ten lessons per week in primary school but some students can have more, depending on electives.
All up, students spend five to six hours a day, five days a week, completing their schoolwork at home. Time apart from lessons is spent working through the learning material provided to the student.
Like the time spent in lessons, this also varies depending on the age of the student. At the higher year levels, teachers are very careful not to have students doing work that requires more than 50% of their day on computers. The youngest students spend far less time, with classes taking up only a handful of hours per week.
Students are supervised at home by home tutors. Home tutors may be a parent or guardian, or might be someone employed by the parents -often called a ‘Govie’ (pronounced guv-ee, which is short for governess).
Students learn through a variety of mediums, and all learning materials are prepared by our teachers, in line with the current Australian Curriculum.
Learning happens in daily Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) lessons, through a combination of Distance Education Units of Learning mailed out to students, resources on class websites, and through one-on-one or small group online Private Lesson Times (PLTs).
There is a teacher assigned to each year level, who prepares and assesses the student work, conducts the IDLs, and communicates by phone, email, or online as needed.
All of our lessons are conducted online, with most students utilising low-earth-orbit satellite internet technology to access all online resources, including their online lessons via high-definition video-conferencing.
The Northern Territory Department of Education supplies funding for learning materials and equipment. Historically, this has included transceivers (two-way radios), TV sets, video recorders and cassette recorders for students.
Today’s equipment offers a far more interactive experience for both students and teachers alike, however, such technology can be extremely expensive. While we are most grateful for the Government funding we receive, we are also extremely fortunate that some of these costs are also off-set by generous contributions from the public.