Since its inception in 2011, the RFDS Education Program has reached over 15,000 students across Victoria, Tasmania and NSW. The program is multi-faceted in that it combines an incursion program supported by high level and relevant teaching resources into Primary schools. Our goal was to make this resource useful to the classroom teacher in implementing the curriculum into schools. In 2013, the University of Melbourne were commissioned to research the value of the program and to evaluate its delivery. In summary, they named it as one of the best programs of its type that they had seen.

The program brings the fuselage and cockpit of an RFDS plane into the schoolyard and is presented to the kids by Education Manager Tom Ryan. Tom uses stories from the past and the present to explain how Australians have endured the vast distances in this country, not only with issues of health but with communication and the role the RFDS has played in enabling communities to continue to survive in the outback.  The incursion is a tangible experience and the kids are encouraged to interact with all the equipment on the plane. Students engage in role-play and get a real sense of the space our RFDS staff needs to work in to carry out the important work they do every day.

The story of the flying doctors is an important story that needs to be told to not only our students but to their parents. Our story is told on the $20 note yet there are many Australians who don’t know this or think its something of the past. We’re looking for your help to change this and we want you to help us tell our story.

The RFDS has enlisted the services of the History Teachers Association in consultation with the Geography Teachers Association aimed at students in levels Foundation – 6. The resource is divided into 2 sections, History and Geography. From there the 2 sections are used in 3 sections. View, Explore and Make.

It includes a virtual tour of the RFDS base and through a plane, three documentaries for primary audiences and a range of new activities for teachers to use in conjunction with a visit from the RFDS simulator. Interviews with pilots, doctors, nurses and even staff and students from school of the air.
The project was managed by Tom Ryan (RFDS) and Dr Jo Clyne (HTAV)

Thank you to Sarah Little (RFDS Education Officer) for coordinating filming in Broken Hill
Thank you to the School of the Air, Broken Hill for allowing us to film staff and students.
Thank you to the RFDS team in Broken Hill for facilitating filming and photography at the base and the visitor centre