Main SIDE Site
The Correspondence School was established on 2 September 1918 in Western Australia to provide education for rural students living too far away to attend local schools. Over the next 20 years the Correspondence School was to experience great change and had many locations in Perth.
Clarence Eakins was appointed as the first Headmaster. He had experience teaching in the outback and understood the conditions in which isolated children lived.
Following the successful tour for boys (a school camp for boys) in Perth in 1926, a second tour for 60 girls from rural areas took place over two weeks in 1928.
In 1933 the Correspondence School moved twice. At first the school moved into premises of its own, in the State Savings Bank quarters in the old Perth Town Hall building in Hay Street, Perth.
Enrolments in the Correspondence School (also known as Correspondence Classes) rapidly increased during this period as ‘outback’ children were enrolled in courses.
WWII affected the Correspondence School in many ways. The School expanded, providing more services to rural students; children with disabilities and post-primary students in country schools accessed special subjects for the first time. In 1951 Clarence Eakins retired after 31 years as Headmaster and was presented with a typewriter in appreciation of his work.
This image from a Social Studies text shows the work of teachers and support staff in developing Correspondence School materials.
Our Rural Magazine ceased publication due to paper shortages caused by the disruption of shipping during WW2.
In 1946 the first itinerant teacher was appointed to visit correspondence students in the coastal area between Carnarvon and Roebourne.
The Correspondence School became the Western Australian Correspondence School (WACS) and a new Headmaster, Owen Williams, was appointed following the retirement of Clarence Eakins.
Distance education during this period developed more services to distance and isolated students. Schools of the Air were established as part of the WA Correspondence School using the Royal Flying Doctor Service's High-Frequency radio.
Following a successful trial in Carnarvon, the first Western Australian School of the Air (SOTA) was established at Meekatharra.
After retiring from the Education Department, Clarence Eakins continued to be involved in education and co-authored a highly successful text book with AE Williams.
Throughout the years distance education teachers have collated and published student writing, finding ways to share student work with other teachers and students, and the wider community.
Each year the WA Correspondence School produced a school magazine with images of the children, where they lived, and samples of their work.
There were many physical moves for the school during this period. A series of amalgamations of the various distance education services resulted in one K-12 service with a consistent approach to distance education across Western Australia.
Richard Cairnes was appointed Principal of the Distance Education Centre (DEC) and the school was officially opened on the Hale School site by the Minister for Education, Mr R Pearce.
The Educational Television Service was initiated in conjunction with the Golden West network. GWN provided television coverage to rural areas, and the educational broadcasts reached distance education students across the state. Examples of televised programs from this period included the highly acclaimed DEC Live Science program.
The 75th anniversary of distance education in Western Australia was celebrated.
The Schools of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE) was established through the amalgamation of the Distance Education Centre (Leederville) and the 5 Schools of the Air: Port Hedland, Kimberley, Carnarvon, Kalgoorlie, and Meekatharra.
Information technologies had a huge impact on distance education in this period, decreasing the reliance on written materials and postal service as digital technologies provided for face-to-face contact for students and teachers, and 24 x 7 access to course resources.
The use of computer-based technologies increased. They were used to develop and publish materials, and also to improve teaching and learning creating more immediate ways to educate students.
SIDE continued to provide a range of resources to support student learning including regular television programs delivered weekly by the Languages teachers.
A new learning management system, Moodle, was implemented. This software was developed by Martin Dougiamas, a former Kalgoorlie School of the Air student.
The increasing availability of information technologies in student homes and schools meant that greater interactivity could occur between students and their teachers, and with their classmates.
SIDE has made the transition from a correspondence education school to an online, flexible-learning institution, combining 100 years of experience with current pedagogical and technical know-how.
These photos were taken on our Centenary Open Day by staff. Please visit again soon as there are more to come.
Teaching and learning practice in distance education has evolved over the last century, depending upon the ingenuity of teachers and the technologies available to them.
Headmasters and Principals throughout the century.
This photo gallery shows the progress of the Centenary garden.