Innovators in learning

Today a group of my colleagues visited two outstanding schools in Christchurch, New Zealand. Tomorrow we are visiting two in Auckland.

 is a K-6 special charter school which means it has a dispensation from the Ministry to organise its delivery differently. This is because of high parent involvement. The school is located in Cashel Mall in the centre of Christchurch CBD.

It is amazing from every point of view. Innovative design, collaborative teaching and an integrated personalised curriculum. All staff, parents and students are involved in the teacher appointment processs! The kids run some amazing projects for the city including the NZ Nurses Association’s annual conference. 

Across the mall is  the secondary school. It is in a leased high rise building a nd has amazing design features. It has a focus on democratising learning by which they mean staff, kids and parents work closely. They are most unlike any school you’ll see but both are doing amazing things in a very simple way.

Great leadership, reflective staff and a passion for trying different things. It gives you a real shot when you see such a simple formula applied. The key to these succeeses from my observation is an absolute committment to two key things:

  1. kids are at the heart of what they do and how they do it 
  2. employing teachers who see themselves as learners and who know what doesn’t work and are prepared and encouraged to do thing differently

Take a look at their websites –  Daniel, the principal at Discovery 1; Vince and Gil the co-principals at Unlimited are very engaging and proud of what their schools are doing.


One thought on “Innovators in learning

  1. I found the work samples on the website of Unlimited in Christchurch quite amazing.
    I wonder what broader portfolios of student work would look like at this school – is there balance, integration and flow-on between their amazing IT skills and more conventional literacy and numeracy skills. I suspect they also excel in these areas due to their obvious levels of motivation and engagement at school.

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