The New South Wales (Australia) school education response to the Covid-19 pandemic was based on the premise that children would learn from home or school through online learning. This study of the experiences of a group of rural New South Wales primary school principals challenges this premise. Rural schools in the State are mostly small, relatively isolated, and linked closely to small socioeconomically-poor communities. They are marginal to the education establishment, and thus offer opportunities to test assumptions of mainstream sector-wide approaches. This paper reports interviews with six rural principals regarding their approaches to learning for their students during the pandemic.
We identify five key issues: initial concerns; the importance of communication; access and attitudes to technology; parents’ attitudes to home learning; and change on return to school. Presumptions of successful off-site learning and technology implementation are challenged by the experience of these rural schools. This study raises two questions about post-Covid-19 school education: How can preexisting social disadvantage be better dealt within the education system? What might a future education model post COVID-19 look like?

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Paredes, J., Chaseling, M. & Boyd, W. 2021, 'Online learning in a time of COVID disruption? The experiences of principals from New South Wales rural and disadvantaged primary schools', Education in the North, 27(2), pp. 175-195. https://doi.org/10.26203/9bzg-2w21

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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