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FEEDBACK from a Wimmera-based study into the impacts of working and learning from home during the coronavirus crisis will inform federal parliamentary inquiry submission discussing the issue. 

Wimmera Development Association is leading a study that investigates the impact of this period on families – and particularly mothers who are juggling home learning, home duties and work commitments during the crisis. 

Feedback from the study will inform a submission to the inquiry into the role of culture, family and community in delivering better education outcomes for students living in remote Australia and in complex environments. 

Wimmera Development Association executive director Chris Sounness said the House Education Committeerenewed calls for submissions last week as students and teachers started preparing to return to the classroom.

The Wimmera community contributing to this inquiry ensures that parliament gains understanding of the challenges we face in our region, along with the opportunities we have,” MrSounness said. 

Our region is keen to ensure we allow our students to achieve their best possible outcomes and we know we need to provide most appropriate support to the students, their families and the institutions to allow this to occur.” 

MrSounnesssaid people could text their first name and a contact phone number to 0491 628 338to register their interest for the studyThose involved in learning from home, or supervising learning from home are eligible. Participants will be contacted to arrange an interview, lasting about 20 minutes. 

The House Education Committee adopted the inquiry in November. Public hearing arrangements are suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions but submissions remain open until June 15

The committee’s work will highlight initiatives to meet the unique learning needs of students and to address barriers that they may face when accessing education. It will also now take into account the response and challenges of distancing learning in recent months. 

The committee also wants to hear about the experience of remote schools; career counselling of remote students; challenges faced by regional schooling providers and initiatives in place;how families of vulnerable children can access, enrol and remain in early learning, and the collaboration between early and primary education; the performance and monitoring of those in home schooling to maintain national minimum standards; andaccess and support to deliver the Australian curriculum including STEM in a flexible way.

Wimmera Development Association is the peak advocacy body behind many major, emerging projects in the region. It supports businesses, promotes economic development opportunities to investors and is a key link between industry and governments, lobbying for improved infrastructure and for regional priority issues.

MrSounness said peopleseeking assistance could phone Uniting’s Wimmera on 1800 195 114. Students canspeak to their teacher or school’s wellbeing officer for learning guidance; or contact eheadspace on 1800 650 890 for mental health support. In an emergency, contact 000.