Australian Rural Education Award (AREA) 2010 Winner

Smart kids and Rural – Giving the Bush Back it’s Future

Gifted and talented programs are nothing new and in various forms they are dotted throughout the country. Whilst most states trumpet the value of their particular gifted and talented programs both at the primary and secondary level the stark reality is that the quality well funded programs are generally very “city centric” and target high school aged students. This in itself is a barrier to rural students .

Bunbury Education District like every other education district in WA does have a Primary Extension and Challenge (PEAC) Program in place and in 2008 we conducted a review of a program that we believed was achieving high outcomes. What the survey revealed was to the contrary and in fact it was evident that the program had stagnated, there was little connection back into student’s home schools, the courses on offer lacked academic rigour and that in the case of Year 7 students there were no direct linkages into high school. Armed with this information we canvassed widely to look at an alternative approach to PEAC that addressed these issues and as part of this approach we canvassed high schools to determine what their input should be into the program.

The response was both innovative and dynamic and sowed the seeds to develop a new initiative in Gifted and Talented education that not only has system wide implications but also has an inclusive approach that ideally suits regional locations.

Download the Bunbury AREA 2010 Winner.