A central feature of the Connected Communities' strategy is for schools to form effective partnerships with government and non-government agencies to benefit the learning needs of students.
Bourke Public School has developed collaborative and sustainable partnerships with Bourke Community Health, Bourke Medicare Local and the Bourke Aboriginal Medical Service.
The Executive Principal of Bourke Public School, Kylie Pennell, last year identified a high need for health services to address students' basic needs. She also found that first aid was taking up a lot of time of the school administrative support staff, which took them away from assisting with the school's teaching and learning.
The subsequent Health Connections Plan has resulted in a daily morning clinic run by the Bourke Aboriginal Health Service and Bourke Community Health. A nurse attends to students' medical needs, such as cuts or changing dressings, and contacts parents and carers if follow-up medical treatment is required.
"The partnerships are all about early intervention for a number of medical issues and it means school staff can concentrate on teaching and learning and the health professionals can make the medical decisions," Miss Pennell said.
The school has a number of complementary health programs in place to ensure that students' medical needs are attended to. Staff receive professional development to better understand how a student's health needs might affect their learning.
Bourke Aboriginal Medical Service conducts hearing screening tests on all Kindergarten students at the beginning of the year and each term for identified students in Years 1 to 6. The screening identifies student needs and additional learning support that might be required. The school also has hearing loops in classrooms that enhance the teacher's voice to be evenly spread throughout the learning area.
A dentist visits once a term and speech pathology and occupational therapy services are available every three months.