A different Anzac Day made for unique memories at Dartmoor Primary School

Watching senior students separated by quiet autumn paddocks reading We Shall Keep the Faith by Moina Michael created a moving and unforgettable Anzac Day for the Dartmoor Primary School community.

The small rural school of just 26 students is in south-west Victoria, not far from the South Australian border.

Like all Victorian schools, the school moved to remote and flexible learning in March, including commemorating Anzac Day online.

The school choir sang We are Australian and a Grade 6 student recited The Ode of Remembrance.

'For a long moment during our service, it was as if all the people who went to wars from our district were among us, standing strong and silent, as they remembered too,' recalls Prep to Grade 3 teacher Veronica Geraghty.

Students also wrote letters to older people in their community enclosed in origami envelopes and families choreographed and filmed dance routines to a selected song helping the community stay connected while physically apart.

Grade 3 to 6 teacher Leanne Firth says remote and flexible learning was challenging for students, parents and teachers but there were many benefits.

'It has been a great bonding experience for the staff at Dartmoor Primary School and we have gained so much from the collaboration and team spirit that has got us through this trying time,' she says.

'We have discussed how we can apply these new skills and resources in our classrooms. We are all looking forward to integrating these valuable skills into our teaching practice.'

Online tools teachers intend to maintain on their return to the classroom include setting tasks and assignments for differing levels and abilities; linking to online resources and activities and setting up a library of recorded spelling assessments so students can listen and complete assessments individually.

Ms Firth says teachers have noted the development in students' independent learning skills and that online resources will continue to support this growing independence.

'Tasks can be assigned that enable students to progress with their learning at their individual pace and level,' she says.

The Department is working with students, teachers, principals and families to ensure lessons from the period of remote and flexible learning are being captured and shared.

Following an independent analysis of the experience at schools across the state, an education summit will be held in July to discuss lessons learned and investigate what improvements can be made to the education system as a result of the remote learning experience. 

Principals, teachers, parents and students can submit feedback through a community consultation survey.