Each weekday during school term


$2 per adult

Children free


Queensland's first School of the Air commenced operation in January 1960 at Cloncurry, the first base at which the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) was established.  Its first teacher was Miss Bid O'Sullivan.  In 1964 the RFDS installation and School of the Air moved to Mount Isa.


We have approximately 220 children from 150 families in Prep to Year 10, living in an area which extends from the Northern Territory border in the West to Richmond in the East, Burketown in the North, Birdsville in the South, and Winton in the South-East.

Children participating in Distance Education receive printed curriculum papers supplemented by a daily phone lesson to participate in a class and to access teacher help.

All teachers have had several years classroom experience and are employed by Education Queensland.

The School is financed by Education Queensland, with no expense incurred by our families.  Each family is issued with a phone and headset, which remains the property of Education Queensland and has to be returned when the child leaves the School.

 There are at present seven Schools of Distance Education in Queensland - Mount Isa, Cairns, Charleville, Longreach, Charters Towers, Capricornia and Brisbane.



During each 30 minute lesson the teacher will be speaking to a maximum of 10 children.  Each child is graded according to age just as in a normal State School, but our classes remain small so that during their half-hour lesson the teacher can include each child.  Our teachers mostly have 2 classes each which means they are on air for at least one hour per day, with the remaining time devoted to talking to parents on the phone, giving individual phone lessons to students,  lesson preparation and marking students work. 

We have two field teams who travel to all the children enrolled.  This involves about 40 weeks of travel per team.  Each team consists of two trained teachers. 

Lessons centre around all subject areas:  Language, Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Health, Media, Art, Library and Research skills.  We have a fully automated library which involves mailing individual books to 220 children.

Extras offered at Mount Isa SOTA include Religious Instruction, Scouts of the Air, Opti-minds, Rock Pop Mime, Recorder and Violin instruction.  Children leave the School well prepared to enter the next phase of their education.

As well as providing a class experience over the phone and through a virtual classroom, the School offers opportunities for the children to meet each other face to face at Activity Days and Minischools.  Activity days are fun-filled days held early in the year so that parents, children and teachers can meet before the school work starts in earnest.  These activity days are held at Julia Creek, Cloncurry, Boulia, Burke and Wills Roadhouse, Gregory River and Mount Isa.  Minischools are a week long affair where children, teachers and parents are involved in drama activities, science experiments, language games, swimming, dancing and sports.  A learning support teacher conducts professional development sessions for home tutors during these weeks.  Minischools are held in the same location as activity days.


School Camps are held for children from Years 4 to 10.  The year 4-5 children are offered an environmental camp on Magnetic Island, the Year 6s attend a Leadership Camp, the Year 7s attend Camp in Canberra, the Years 8-10 participate in an orientation camp and a vocational camp.

The highlight of our year is the annual Sports Day held here in Mount Isa, at Krutschnitt Oval, which attracts over 150 children from our 800,000 square kilometre catchment area.  Families drive into town for this event.  On the evening of Sports Day we usually hold a barbecue provided by the Rotary Club of Mount Isa South.  The two days before Sports Day are devoted to a Distance Education Seminar for Home Tutors.

The final event of our year is a Christmas Barbecue in December, again held by the Rotary Club of Mount Isa South.  On this occasion Santa visits the children and we farewell those about to enter boarding school.


Schools of Distance Education seek to reduce isolation by drawing scattered individuals into a school unit.  Many children on completion of their correspondence schooling enter the next stage of education better prepared to undertake independent studies.


SOTA bridges the communication gap in many ways to:-

      assist the Home Supervisor.

      provide a three way communication from teacher to child, child to teacher and child to child.

      enrich the written programme with music, news and group activities.

      develop a sense of closeness and of belonging to a group classroom.

      motivate pupils to improve the quality of their response to correspondence lessons.

      increase in pupils the qualities of initiative, self-confidence and responsibility.

      build a concept of teaching between the teacher and child, teacher and the Home Tutor. 


Mount Isa School of the Air,

Abel Smith Parade

MOUNT ISA  Q  4825

Ph:  (07) 47448333

Fax: (07) 47448300

Website address:


Tours: 9 a.m. and 10.00 a.m.