Graduates invest in rural education

Fifteen school principals and school leaders from around Australia were among thousands of graduates completing their time at Flinders University at this month’s graduation ceremonies.

The group was the first cohort to complete the Masters of Education (Leadership and Management) which focuses on Rural Educational Leadership.

The Rural Educational Leadership Scholarship (RELS) program commenced in 2014, with the generous backing of the Origin Foundation and support from the Principals Australia Institute.

The Origin Foundation is the philanthropic foundation of Origin Energy with an objective to support education, training and development programs that have the power to transform lives and improve communities.

The first crop of graduates include principals and educational leaders from SA, NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

The successful applicants were awarded scholarships so they can build educational leadership capacity in Australian rural schools and regional centres.

Many actively aspired to improve remote and rural education, with a demonstrated commitment to creating and building a better future for regional communities, says course founder Emeritus Professor John Halsey.

“The role of the remote and rural principal is a complex one, especially as it calls for leaders who can deliver executive management for their school, be a community influencer across their town or region, and provide essential educational leadership for a learning environment to flourish,” Professor Halsey says.

“There is also a depth of contemporary business skills – management, budgets, leading teams, team culture and site planning – which needs to be maintained and updated whilst fostering a student-centred facility.”

The Rural Educational Leadership program uses both an intensive online forum and an on-campus program to encourage an environment where geographically separated school leaders could come together to share thoughts and experiences and integrate theory and practice.

The RELS program has generated a national network of rural school leaders and principals, “a rich and collaborative community which will continue to share the specific demands and rewards of a remote educational posting,” Professor Halsey says.

The School of Education at Flinders University is exploring opportunities to expand the scholarship program and widen the breadth of options to other educational leaders across Australia.


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