If the coronavirus pandemic taught educators, families and policymakers anything, it’s that the traditional method of schooling needs a shake-up. No longer is it compatible with the needs of the next generations of learners.
Many schools have been using a hybrid model of remote and face-to-face learning since Covid-19. It’s allowed for new teaching and support roles to be created. It also goes some way towards future-proofing these education facilities for years to come.
The most ground-breaking educational programs and initiatives were recently revealed in The Educator Magazine’s ‘5-Star Innovative School Awards’. The awards recognise the most forward-thinking schools from across Australia.
Ten Brisbane primary and secondary schools received the honour. They include Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane South State Secondary College, Faith Lutheran College Redlands, Brigidine College Indooroopilly, Living Faith Lutheran Primary School, Rochedale State School, St Laurence’s College, St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, St Paul’s School and Sunnybank State High School.
Brisbane Grammar School innovation success
Located in Spring Hill, Brisbane Grammar School is the oldest secondary boys’ school in Brisbane. It caters to approximately 1,700 students from Years 5-12.
The 2021 graduating class achieved outstanding academic results, with a median ATAR score of 95.3. It makes the school a leader in enabling its students to be real-world ready in a rapidly changing, unpredictable global environment.
The school’s Effective Thinking Cultures project is a driving force behind this success. The project philosophy is centred on educational innovation, critical thinking, metacognition, and ownership of learning.
Students develop their self-regulation. There is a whole school mandate requiring teachers to engage in professional learning. This ensures equity across classroom cultures and the learning opportunities they afford students.
“For students, two significant outcomes are beginning to emerge,” Dr Hannah Campos Remon, BGS Director of Organisational Learning, tells The Educator.
She says the schools is seeing a deepening and strengthening of the metacognitive basis of the students’ learning.
“And also of their broader understanding of themselves as learners and their use of a language of learning,” she says.
Energetic learning at Faith Lutheran College
Faith Lutheran College Redlands has about 900 students from Prep to Year 12. The College has received a 5-Star Innovation Award two years running.
The College has the vision to be an energetic learning community embracing innovation, service, global thinking and excellence. In 2022 the school celebrates is 40th anniversary. The College is responding to current and future needs while holding firm to the crucial values its students must have, which include courage, care, commitment, compassion, humility, justice and service.
Faith Lutheran College is the top school in ‘innovation in curriculum design’. Its revolutionary MyPath@Faith program deconstructs and rebuilds the Australian curriculum in a way that is better for kids.
Principal Shane Altmann describes the award as a “watershed moment”. He says it’s not just for the College, but for education more broadly, because it encourages schools to look at curriculum design differently in the future.
Mr Altmann says this is the change secondary schooling needs.
“It is better for kids and centralises students in the learning process,” he says.
Queensland schools excel in innovative learning
According to Productivity Commission deputy chair Alex Robson, it’s likely the traditional model in schools will change drastically over the next 10 to 20 years.
“What we saw during the pandemic is that different methods of teaching and online classes can work,” Dr Robson says.
The 5-Star Innovative Schools are leading the change. They are introducing new technologies and methodologies. Teachers and leaders are creating a more fit-for-purpose education system for young people.
Of the 46 most forward-thinking schools in Australia, 19 are Queensland-based. Their innovations range from teaching approaches to learning spaces and curriculum design. The 5-Star Innovative Schools are pioneering a new direction in education.