Boarding schools, small schools, financial services and distance education were some of the topics tabled for discussion at the recent Isolated Children’s Parents Association 43rd Annual State Conference held at Toowoomba Grammar School and hosted by the Westmar-Ingleside Branch.

Officially opened by Queensland Minister for Education John Paul Langbroek 190 delegates from all over Queensland attended the event which was themed “Reaching for the Stars”.

The conference provides a once a year opportunity to hear first-hand the issues affecting education in rural and remote areas.

Guest speakers included Wendy Hickson, Karen Long, Therese Eddy and Karen Noble. Official addresses were also given by president of the ICPA Qld Andrew Pegler and federal president Judy Newton.

Key issues of the updated agenda included matters involving greater support for principals, staff and students at small schools, the need for improved educational outcomes for special needs children and problems resulting from the increasing gap that exists in telecommunications services in rural and remote schools.

ICPA Qld president Andrew Pegler said rural and remote education faced issues that weren’t even considered in urban locations.

“This conference is a chance to generate awareness and understanding of the big impact seemingly simple problems have on quality education for bush students,” he said. “For example some schools still do not have access to reliable phone and power which affects lesson delivery.

“ICPA invites all people to listen, to understand, so good informed change can happen for rural and remote students.”

The Isolated Children’s and Parents’ Association

The Isolated Children’s and Parents’ Association (ICPA) is a key voluntary, non-profit,  apolitical lobby parent body that represents the educational needs of children living and learning in areas outside of metropolitan zones in Australia. There are 48 branches across the state.