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Title: Virtual Provision for Gifted Secondary School Students: Keeping the Best and Brightest in the Bush
Contributor(s): Bannister, Barbara Louise  (author)orcid ; Cornish, Linley  (supervisor)orcid ; Gregory, Sue  (supervisor)orcid ; Bannister-Tyrrell, Michelle  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2019-06-07
Copyright Date: 2019-02-13
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This evaluative research, using a mixed methods case study approach with triangulated design, investigated the perceived value of a virtual academically selective secondary school provision for Years 7–10 (age 12–16 years) that operated in Western NSW Region from 2010 until 2014. Students replaced regular curriculum study in the areas of English, mathematics and science at their local stategovernment- funded bricks-and-mortar school, with study that was conducted online with a cohort of academically gifted students from across similar schools in Western NSW Region.
Perceived value by students and staff in the virtual provision as well as perceived value by parents and local state-government-funded secondary school Principals was positive, with students reporting a strong sense of belonging to the gifted cohort as well as their local school cohort, an improved skill-set to meet 21stcentury learning requirements and the capacity to harness their full potential through development of enabling skills such as organisation and study skills. Academic achievement of the virtual provision cohort in national or state-wide standardised tests matched those of metropolitan selective secondary school counterparts in literacy, numeracy and science understanding.
All stakeholders agreed that the virtual provision did not suit all gifted learners, only those who were autonomous learners or were motivated to learn in a lightly supervised environment and who held a positive academic self-concept and as such were comfortable not being first in their class all the time. Some students found the challenge of many academically-able peers overwhelming as they had been the outstanding pupil all their school life.
Unexpected benefits reported by parents of the students in the cohort included their choice to stay in employment in the regional, rural or remote areas, or to delay or abandon their plans to send their child to a metropolitan boarding school as their gifted childʼs learning needs were being met by the virtual provision. This decision added to the social fabric of the rural communities and their local school. Teachers in the virtual provision reported being re-invigorated in their career by having a virtual staffroom of like-minded peers who embraced challenge, were curriculum specialists in their area and endorsed technology-enhanced learning.
This research contributes to the growing field of knowledge about the suitability of virtual school provisions for gifted secondary school students in rural, regional and remote settings. Keeping the best and brightest students and teachers in the , along with their families, is essential to ensuring dynamic and vibrant rural, regional and remote communities.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research (FoR): 130106 Secondary Education
130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130306 Educational Technology and Computing
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 930103 Learner Development
930101 Learner and Learning Achievement
930102 Learner and Learning Processes
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Description: The dataset for this thesis is located at:
Appears in Collections:School of Education
Thesis Doctoral

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