Three students from Forbes have been chosen to be a part of a pioneering virtual high school in NSW - Aurora College, which will open in 2015.
Maddison Collits and Tyler Barnes from Forbes High School and current year six student at Forbes Public School, Tom Boyd, who will be attending Forbes High School next year, are enrolled in Aurora College for next year.
Aurora College is a brand new virtual secondary school for rural and remote students across NSW.
Students will be enrolled in both the selective class and also in their local secondary school, meaning they can access a challenging academic program without leaving home and their friends to do so.
More than 150 students are expected to be enrolled in the school in its first year and have to sit a selective school exam to gain a place.
The selective strand will cover English, mathematics and science, using computer technology and personal contact to deliver the curriculum.
Aurora College will replace the former accelerated program, Excel, which was restricted to the western region.
Forbes High School principal Charles Dwyer said the program will provide high performing students in regional areas with the same opportunities as their metropolitan peers.
“It’s creating opportunities for students in rural and remote areas that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” he said.
“It will compliment their work here at the high school and they’ll still be doing their elective subjects but will have access to the selective stream subjects.
“It’s an extended curriculum and gives more opportunities for students to achieve at a higher level.”
Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said Aurora College is the first school of its kind in Australia and is part of the NSW government’s Rural and Remote Education Blueprint for Action with $8 million allocated for the establishment of the program.
“This is a great opportunity for young people to study courses matched to their abilities and interests with a group of high performing peers, or to study subjects not available in their own schools,” Mr Grant said.
“Year 11 students will also be able to study extension subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, physics and economics that may not be available at their schools.”
Year nine student Maddison Collits transferred to Aurora College from the Excel program, which she was involved with since year eight.
“It’s a really good opportunity for people in our region and rural and remote schools because we can get the same level of teaching as kids in metropolitan areas,” she said.
Maddison said the workload won’t be bigger than a normal one, but will be more challenging.
“It’s accelerated learning,” she said.
“I’m excited for the change.”
Fellow year nine student Tyler Barnes had to sit a test to be accepted into Aurora College and said he decided to enrol because he thought it’d be a good thing to do.