Using agriculture as a lens and working with champions and clusters to provide educational equity for young Australians

Everyone benefits when we work together to get best outcomes for students in rural Australia. Western Sydney University hosted students from Wee Waa and Lake Cargelligo for a taste of uni experience 

This post will be part of a series sharing the partnerships Picture You in Agriculture is nurturing to support community champions and organisations who are working together to provide young people with world class learning opportunities through the lens of agriculture.

At Picture You in Agriculture our goal is to support government, not for profits and the private sector and the champions in those sectors doing great stuff to get more great stuff done

The research tells us if Australia invests it time, people, money and expertise in the right places some great stuff can be done.

We have uncovered extraordinary reseach!!!

Did you know for example

  • Australia could add more than $50B to its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by improving educational outcomes for students in regional, rural and remote areas of the country. Source 
  • Place based leadership will create stronger regions. For regions to capitalise on future economic opportunities and build resilience to climatic events identifying and developing local leaders and champions now is critical. Source 
  • Young agriculturalists and young consumers share many common concerns and hopes for the food system they are inheriting, and a strong desire to be involved in securing its future. Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future, yet too often their voices are not heard. Providing them with leadership skills, the opportunity to work together and supporting them to creatively problem solve and communicate their solutions will empower them to solve tomorrows problems today and have their voices heard.
  • The power of rural entrepreneurs, community champions and young people walking the talk as role models. For young people to navigate change and take advantage of agricultural and STEM career pathways in their region they have to see “what and who they can be”. Source 

In our post today we showcase the committment of Kris Beazley – Principal of the Centre of Agricutlural Excellence at Western Sydney University Richmond Campus to achieve educational equity for young people in Western Sydney and rural NSW.

Firstly some background.

In December 2008 the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians defined two goals:

  1. Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence, and
  2. All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.

By design the Australian Curriculum provides a foundation to deliver on Goal 2

Achieving Goal 1, is much more challenging and Australia is yet to overcome the enormous challenge of providing quality education to those outside urban centres . This is equally relevant to students in lower socio-economic areas.

Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) has the capacity and experience to support all agencies delivering equity to Australian schooling, whether those agencies be educational, government, non-profits, industry or community. But to do this we need partnerships with champions.

Kris Beazley, Principal of the Centre of Agricultural Excellence at Western Sydney University Richmond Campus, is one such champion. With a passion for project-based and place-based learning Kris recognised PYiA ticked all the Australian curriculum boxes and was eager to incorporate it into her teachings.

This collaboration between Kris and PYiA took flight in 2019 when, under Kris’s recommendation, the Colyton Learning Community, a collection of schools from lower socio-economic areas in western Sydney, participated in the Kreative Koalas program. PYiA believes clustering models such as this are one of the most important ways in which educational equity can be achieved by minimising time and effort required to roll out a program, while maximising expertise and resources.

As well as the Colyton Learning Community, a cluster of schools in the Hunter Valley/Port Stephens area also participated in Kreative Koalas, following on from the launch of the program in 2018 with schools from the Young/Goulburn region of NSW.

The cluster model has also been successfully used with The Archibull Prize in both urban and rural environments. In 2018 four schools from north-western NSW combined as Moree Small Schools to study the wool industry, while five schools under the banner of Little Bay Community of Schools in southern Sydney worked with mentors from neighbouring Matraville Sports High School. And what a successful partnership it proved to be. Read about it here

In 2019 the partnership between Kris Beazley and PYiA took another leap forward when students from Lake Cargelligo Central School and Wee Waa High School in western NSW, participating in The Archibull Prize, were given exclusive access to Western Sydney University where they discussed various pathways to tertiary education.

In 2020, in collaboration with Kris and Lorraine Chaffer from Geography Teachers Association of NSW/ACT a new vision for The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas will see the development of deep and lasting communities of practice between primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions, business and government.

PYiA believes fervently in both goals set by the Melbourne Declaration and is excited to have the capacity, and partnerships with champions, to deliver them and to support others to also achieve educational equity.

In the meantime we found that we were Friends in Need and Kris and the Western Syndey University Team were Friends in Deed. Mega Grateful for our friends

Shining the spotlight on Lake Cargelligo Central School a little school doing big things

Continuing our series of shaing stories about the schools we work with going above and beyond today we shine the spotlight on Lake Cargelligo Central School. 

The cost of freight is a serious limiting factor to how far and wide we can take The Archibull Prize. This year two school communities in rural NSW came together to fund their local schools participation in the program. One of these is Lake Cargelligo Central School which has a strong focus on agricultural education

With the cost of freight being a limiting factor the Lake Cargelligo community came together to fund the transport of Archie to their local school

Pigs and grains are the focus of two projects students from Years 9 and 10 at Lake Cargelligo Central School are undertaking this year to increase their emphasis on agricultural education. Pigs will be the feature of a paddock to plate project while the students will study the grain industry in The Archibull Prize.

One of the first thing the secondary students did was introduce Archie to the kinders

“Our school is located in regional/remote NSW and the majority of our students have some connection to agriculture through their family,” agriculture teacher Tara-Jane Ireland says. “We run an agriculture show team that focuses on all enterprises we can access (chooks, sheep and cattle) and we source animals from local breeders to build connections with the community.”

In the paddock to plate project students will raise, show and process two pigs (Peppa and George) and then combine with food technology students to create menus for the table. Read more about Peppa, George and the rest of the team here.

Like The Archibull Prize, the pig paddock to plate event is an example of project-based learning. “Project-based learning has become an integral part of our teaching practices at LCCS to enhance the engagement of our students,” Tara-Jane says. “In 7/8 all our classes complete learning through PBL and teachers are now expanding this to 9/10. This allows our students to develop essential life skills like leadership, communication and problem solving.”

Twenty students will participate in The Archibull Prize. They are looking forward to not only connecting with students from other Archibull schools, but with a local artist and their Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe, who they are hoping can assist them develop career goals and aspirations.

“Our aim is to focus on holistic approaches to agriculture while having fun,” Tara-Jane says, “and to help students lead healthy lifestyles by producing their food sustainably now and in the future.”

#ArchieAction #YouthinAg #YouthVoices19