Meekatharra School of The Air
Our School offers a unique programme that is a partnership between the school's professional teaching staff, yourself and your children. Your commitment to your children's education is essential for their success and we will endeavour to provide all the support possible to achieve an excellent education.
Meekatharra School of the Air is unique in that all teaching staff not only provide the base support but also conduct home visits to provide on-site support to students. We aim to develop close relationships between teachers, Home Tutors and students and we see this as a feature of our school.
Meekatharra School of the Air will work with parents to provide quality education and help foster an environment that is positive, enabling children to achieve their full academic, physical, social and emotional potential - both on and off the air.
Schools of the Air
A School of the Air exists to help primary aged children who are not near enough to a school or bus route to get an education. In Western Australia, Schools of the Air have been open for over fifty years.
Our students' background vary from those who have always done all their school by CENTRA or WebEx and/or correspondence, to those who have come from a regular school system. Home Tutors are usually Mum or an employed Home Tutor.
Most live within a radius of 500km's, with the closest family about 90km's from Geraldton We broadcast approximately 1000km’s to the north and 900km’s to the east. Our families range from pastoralists or kangaroo shooters on sheep or cattle stations, to those working in the tourism industry or living at caravan parks, settlements or roadhouses.
The written courses are the foundation of the children’s education. The material is organised by the school into sets and are sent out to the children.
Full-time teachers conduct daily WexEx lessons and mark the children’s written work. Teachers visit the children at home to work with the children in both academic and non-academic areas. The teacher also gives ongoing assistance to the Home Tutor through home visits, phone calls and emails.
Meetings of teachers and Home Tutors are held regularly to explain activities and help with general problems ('on-air', telephone, seminars, camps). Because of the importance of the school tasks, every effort is made to develop a close and cooperative relationship between the Home Tutor and teacher.
Sets are mailed between the school, the child and the Home Tutor.
How It All Works
Meekatharra SOTA caters to students from Kindy to Year 6.
- Teachers write set work covering English, Maths, Science, Health, HASS, Technologies and Art.
- Languages are taught from SIDE in Perth.
- Muster is held each Friday at 8.30am.
- Assemblies are held once a term with each class presenting.
- P&C and School Council meetings are also held regularly and run in WebEx.
- As opportunities arise, we host guest speakers on air.
- You will receive a WebEx Timetable which tells your child when he/she commences lessons on the computer using WebEx. A weekly planner from your teacher tells you what subjects will be covered each day in the term and what items are required for each lesson. Your teacher will also advise if there are any changes to a programme – this is usually announced on air also. As a new Home Tutor, it is advisable to be with your child when he/she is on air. Most Home Tutors remain with the younger ones for all air lessons. On-air punctuality is most important as time is limited. Thorough organisation for the air lessons is also essential and all necessary materials need to be readily available during the WebEx session.
- Set Work is the work that your child completes at home with you. It is set out in daily activities. Air lessons complement and reinforce the sets. Your teacher will sometimes alter the programme to suit special circumstances or local events.
- It is essential that work is mailed or brought to the school as soon as possible after completion of the 3/4 week set so that marking and feedback from teachers can be relevant and timely. As each child is different and their abilities vary, staff will assess each child and provide a programme best suited to that child’s needs. It may be standard set work, it may be modified set work or it may be a completely individual programme, either for extension or remediation. The information printed here about set work is the standard procedure for a capable student working at their year level.
- Marked Set work is returned by teachers, together with a Set Work Report, which tells the teacher how the child managed for the particular set. There is always plenty of notice for these collections and often, they coincide with camps. However, circumstances can delay the returns and your tolerance is sought here. Usually a prompt mail ensures an equally prompt return and keeps the students morale high. If you are coming to town, please call in advance to arrange a meeting with your teacher, collect your mail or to exchange library books at the school library. This also provides an opportunity for you, your child and teacher to get to know each other. Sometimes, children may arrange to stay for their air lesson.
- Mail is sent out each day from the school.
- Set Work is sent out or can be collected during camp or when you are in Geraldton.
Assemblies are at the end of each term, on a Friday morning in the ‘Muster Room’ on WebEx. Assemblies are an enjoyable occasion providing an opportunity for the school community to join together as one. They provide opportunities for students to be given recognition for work well done or for extra initiative and effort. Each year level teacher awards merit certificates to student/s in their class. All year levels take a turn at running the assembly.
The school song and national anthem is sung at each assembly. The hosting class will present a report or an item.
The Principal makes announcements concerning the school community. Teachers who have anything they would like to bring to the attention of the assembly also have an opportunity.
The end of the school year is celebrated with a final Graduation ceremony. This takes place at the school in Term 4. Special awards are given to students for acedemic or most improved at this ceremony. The Year 6 students graduate from primary school into secondary school.
Friday Morning Muster
Each Friday morning, a mini-assembly called Muster takes place in the Muster Room on WebEx. We begin at 8.30am and usually go for 30 to 40 minutes.
Friday Morning Muster allows the opportunity for messages to be given to the community, students to be recognised, a P&C update, a sports update, values, plus any other announcements.
The computer programme, WebEx, is the life blood of Meekatharra School of the Air. It is what makes us unique as a school and unites our school community. Without it, the school day is much less exciting, and the air lessons are an integral part of the learning process.
Kindy begins with four 30 minute lessons a week. Foundation to Year 6 have a 30 – 60 minute lesson each day. Lessons from Monday to Thursday may include the following subjects:
Lessons on a Friday consist of:
- The Arts
It is important that the students are prepared for air lessons. This saves valuable time for the class.
WebEx is the computer and internet based delivery system of lesson from the School of the Air Teachers to their students. Eligible student sites are provided with the necessary equipment needed by the students to communicate with their teachers and the school in Geraldton. This is used by the students in regular school lessons as well as drama/music and LOTE (Language Other Than English). Parents also use WebEx resources with P&C and School Council Meetings, Muster (whole school assemblies) and information sessions.
Students have a 30 – 60 minute lessons with their class teacher each day Monday to Thursday. The lessons are the time when students share news, do work with their teacher and discuss any problems. We call these ‘On-Air’ lessons, a carryover from the old days of HF radio. Students in Year 3 – 6 have LOTE lessons with their LOTE teachers (broadcasting from SIDE, Perth) and Friday morning is for Muster and specialist teacher lessons.
Home visits are arranged in advance taking into consideration:-
- a desire to visit new families
- travelling time
- other home visits
- which teachers are travelling
Weather (gravel road closures) may determine whether a home visit will go ahead as planned.
Families are asked to provide meals and accommodation. If sheets or towels are required, teachers can bring their own.
A clear set of instructions or a ‘mud map’ is required before visits.
Teachers will bring any mail you have in despatch and other school items as required.
If there are any considerations or queries, please speak to your teacher beforehand.
What Happens Now?
- To enrol, complete an Application to Enrol form. The MCS will be in contact with you to answer general questions about school organisation. Educational questions and organisation will be handled by the class teacher or principal.
If you are in town, you can pick up your set work and the class teacher can go through these items with you. Set work will be mailed to you if you are unable to collect it.
- The class teacher will take you through the use of computers and practice on-air procedures as appropriate. Informal computer training is available on visits or by phone.
- We like to make early visits to your home. Often, new Home Tutors like the individual attention. Your class teacher will make arrangements with you when it is convenient for everyone. A one day visit is desirable at this early stage. You are asked to provide teachers with accommodation and meals on visits. Your family then becomes part of the regular visitation programme.
Further information is available in our Parent Information Handbook, on the Parent Portal.