University of Queensland, BHP partner to improve rural schools

The University of Queensland (UQ), in partnership with BHP BMA and the Department of Education and Training (DET), is providing on site professional learning to ten primary schools in Bowen Basin.

The four-year project includes a resource book for teachers with strategies to motivate students in years 4 to 7 to read and to develop their reading comprehension.

Associate professor Christa van Kraayenoord said professional development for teachers in remote and rural schools is often challenging.

“The project helped build teacher capacity and skills, which improved learning outcomes for students and in turn built student confidence,” she said.

“Many of our young teachers start their careers in remote and rural schools, so the project was particularly beneficial to them.

“When we compared the NAPLAN and Tests of Reading Comprehension (TORCH) results against five local non-participating schools, the reading comprehension of students involved in the project.”

She went on to say that it was the first time a coal mining company had partnered on this type of project, raising the project’s profile in mining communities, adding that the DET’s Central Queensland Region liaised with principals and schools.

“This is a great example of how partnering with industry and the Education Department can be really effective in creating change within schools and communities,” she said.

DET Central Queensland Region member Grant Webb said the project helped foster relationships between schools, and helped provide teachers in mining communities with high quality professional learning.