Virtual school xsels in maths comp

They may study in a virtual classroom, but the talent of xsel selective students is real.

xsel, providing the world's first virtual selective classes, has been named the top secondary school in NSW and the second Australia-wide in the results of the recent two-day Mathletics Challenge.

Eight xsel students were named in the Top 100 students in Australian secondary schools with that number doubling to 16 for NSW's 100-best secondary students.

The xsel initiative allows academically gifted students in remote regions the advantages of a tailored educational program with the benefits of learning, growing up and contributing in their home community surrounded by family and friends.

Sophia Pant, of Denison College Bathurst High Campus, was ranked second in the state and 13th overall in Australia with xsel classmate, Mudgee High student, Katelyn Kurtz one place behind nationally and for NSW.

Although the xsel program is a virtual classroom of students spread across an area greater than the size of Germany, xsel Learning and Technology Officer Barbara Bannister said the success was due to team spirit.

More than 400,000 students across Australia competed in the two-day Mathletics competition.

Much of the competition depended on responding to live questions, including a speed arithmetic challenge in which Mrs Bannister calculated xsel's highest-achieving students submitted around 20,000 correct answers in total.

Mrs Bannister said xsel's mathematics staff, located at Broken Hill High, The Henry Lawson High School, Lightning Ridge Central, Cowra High and Blayney High, were proud of the way their students tackled the competition. 

"xsel's team spirit was an obvious advantage to scoring consistently well, as a school, throughout the challenge," Mrs Bannister said. "This team spirit is a huge achievement considering our distance to each other in our virtual school.

"Once xsel entered the Hall of Fame as a school, on the first day of the challenge, we steadily moved up the ranks in all categories.

"Although we had at least a third of our xsel students enter the Hall of Fame at various stages, these students were strongly supported by their school mates who were also working hard to achieve as many points as they could during the two days."

Competing in the Mathletics Challenge represented another milestone for this program, Mrs Bannister said.

It was xsel's first virtual mathematics "excursion".  

By changing the entire xsel teaching schedule - as would happen for a normal school excursion variation of routine - the xsel students were able to participate in the national competition.

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