FINDING out why rural students are falling behind their metropolitan counterparts and supporting them to get up to speed will be the key focus of a new panel which will travel throughout Victoria in the coming weeks.
The establishment of the Expert Advisory Panel for rural and regional students has been ordered by Education Minister James Merlino and is in response to NAPLAN results which shows regional and rural students are on average 20 points behind city peers.
Mr Merlino said the challenge facing rural and regional schools was a national issue which needed address.
He said the Victorian government was determined to take a lead role in finding solutions to this issue.
Over the coming weeks, the panel which will be chaired by the chief executive of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority Dr David Howes will visit Ballarat, Bendigo, Horsham, Mildura, Morwell, Wangaratta and Warrnambool across July and August.
It will also consist of principals and regional education experts and will be tasked to make findings and recommendations that will inform the State Government's future decisions on initiatives for regional and rural students.
"We are already doing a lot to boost results in regional and rural Victoria, but we now need to look at what more we can do and that is why this panel is so important," Mr Merlino said
Dr Howes said regional and rural students faced unique challenged.
"This is about listening to local communities to understand what challenges are preventing regional and rural students from meeting their aspirations," he said.
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