Monday, April 13, 2015

Authentic and Courageous

Both of these words are in my thoughts after reflecting on some of the schools I visited in Australia. However these two words are as, if not more, relevant, in two NZ schools that I have a keen interest in - Alfriston College and Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

Hobsonville Point is in its' second year of 'life' and the staff are planning for what the curriculum might look like for their students in 2016 - with their first Year 11 cohort. I follow both the blogs of Principal - Maurie Abraham and DP Learning Technologies - Claire Amos. Recent dicsussions have been around the value of the Level 1 NCEA qualification - and if and how it fits the school's and community's vision and its' aspirational learner profile. Courageous conversations are taking place - 

'Last week Claire and I hosted the 13 Year 11 students and their parents and laid out our plans on how they would be prepared to achieve NCEA L2, as a minimum qualification, without devoting their Year 11 Year to the pointless pursuit of dozens of credits which only serves to take their focus off deep learning and understanding.' Maurie

All Level six, seven and eight modules will be designed with opportunities for students to be assessed against Level One, Two or Three Achievement Standards which are clearly signalled alongside learning outcomes and rubrics. Where appropriate, modules will assess learners at Level One and Two or Level Two and Three so that learners can be assessed at the level appropriate for them. Modules offered will be a mixture of single or integrated learning (when integration will facilitate deeper more connected learning). Modules in the latter part of the year will be designed to ensure learners are being prepared for required external standards to provide opportunities for gaining Merit and Excellent endorsement.


I will follow the continuing journey with interest.

Alfriston College is at the opposite geographical extreme of the Auckland isthmus to HPPS. It is also 10 years older. AC's vision for 'independent learners' has always been embedded in the schools 10 'Independent Learning Qualities' (ILQs). But this year AP Karyn White and a team of 20 staff (T20) have taken a courageous leap into a fully authentic and integrated approach to their Yr 9 Foundation curriculum. 

Yr 9 students are combined in their whanau (house groups) where pastoral amd curriculum are closely linked. No streaming or 'banding'. 900 minutes of a 1500 minute week are in these groups. 4 teachers are timetabled for these sessions. That is the end of the formal plan in the timetable - the rest follows below -

  • Is an integrated curriculum delivering the core learning areas (English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, andHealth and PE) with emphasis on the development of a core set of learning dispositions and skills ultimately transferable to learning in the senior school and beyond.
  • Is based around a learner's place in and connection to their world view which will include their own whakapapa and heritage, Alfriston College, Manurewa, Auckland, New Zealand, Earth, the Universe and the future.
  • Is delivered by a small, consistent, connected team of learning leaders - the Authentic Learning Team.
  • Is a time and place where and individual's learning goals and learning pathways are co-constructed, recorded and used to track and review progress. These are available 24/7 and accessible to parents and whanau via the internet.
  • Is a programme of learning that builds on learners' capacities to be connected, confident, competent learners of good character with a zest for learning.  AC Website
Following the T20 2015 learning journey on Twitter will be inspring I'm sure. Hopefully I will get to take a group of teachers to see this Foundation Programme in action.

Kia kaha

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