One of the country's elite private schools is holding onto remote learning in an effort to expand its reach to regional and rural areas.
Haileybury College, a high-performing independent school based in Melbourne, has scheduled the start date for its online campus for January 30, 2023 expecting about 300 students from Years 5 to 12 across its single subject, holiday program and full-time classes.
The state's first online school, named Haileybury Pangea, will be welcoming a diverse cohort of students including actors, athletes and regional and rural Victorians from areas like the south-west.
Haileybury Pangea head of campus Joanna Baker said she was excited for the virtual school to launch in the new year after being "overwhelmed" with inquiries in 2022.
"We had over 3400 inquiries from across Victoria which was incredible," she said.
"Now that we've got our students confirmed and we're starting to roll into the new year, we're really excited for them all to meet each other.
"It'll be lovely for the students to be able to connect."
Ms Baker said there had been a concerted effort to market to students and families in regional and rural communities given the greater success they found among students with more choice in their studies.
"The genesis behind Haileybury Pangea is that we know choice improves student outcomes," she said.
"I think families are looking for those VCE options for their children in regional Victoria.
"I've lived in regional areas myself and I know that those areas don't always get the choices that metropolitan areas do, especially when it comes to schooling."
While students are expected to follow traditional school rules like wearing a uniform and following a timetable, Ms Baker said the learning experience would be flexible and different to the online schooling many students had during the pandemic.
"This is something that has been in development at Haileybury since before the pandemic," she said.
"The pandemic certainly accelerated the development of the technology and some of the systems to be able to deliver something like this (but) it's not replicating the experience of remote learning for students.
"It's designed to make sure students stay motivated, that they're tracking their own learning, and develop some of those skills to be able to self-manage their learning."
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She said the online campus would have the same teaching staff as its face-to-face campuses who would facilitate a mix of live lessons and self-directed learning for students.
"That ensures quality across everything that we do (while) building that capacity for students to self manage," she said.
"For subjects like physical education, there'll be video demonstrations. Science practical experiments will be recorded by staff.
"Everything is designed to be completed in a safe environment at home."
Ms Baker said while the online campus programs had been meticulously planned out, she was anticipating the school would change and develop its teaching model during its early years.
"We (will) work closely with the families and communities we're reaching into," she said.
"Understanding all those needs and continuing to evolve and expand what we offer is the goal for us."
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