04 MarWaimakariri school developments signal shift to modern learning environment _ Stuff.co.nz

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“Flexible learning spaces can help schools develop a range of teaching and learning approaches.

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“This could include a traditional class size with a single teacher, multiple teachers working collaboratively with different class sizes, students in small groups or learning independently.”

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Each area would have withdrawal areas for single classrooms or smaller groups to work together.

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Contractor Corbel Construction would create a 12-classroom “innovative learning environment” to house many of the school’s 560-strong roll, which was expected to grow to 650 by the end of the year.

The hub would contain four “multi-level pods” housing about 75 students across various year levels – ”just like a family make-up”, with up to three teachers in each pod, he said.

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“I think that’s the big thing – to not rush into it and to be well-informed as to the reasons for doing it. When parents know that or visit that they can see the value of it.”


Work to transform four Waimakariri primary schools into modern learning environments is about to begin.

The plan includes 115 schools and once complete will have more than 80 per cent of schools in the greater Christchurch area introduced to modern learning environments.

Launched in 2013, the $1 billion Ministry of Education project set out to rebuild and renew 115 schools in greater Christchurch over the next ten years.

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“It’s called a collaborative environment and that means both children and teachers. Teachers will be collaborating for the benefit of the children and children collaborating together in a wide area.”

Plans for the new modern learning hub to be built at Rangiora Borough School.

Rangiora Borough School principal Alan Sutton said he was looking forward to the redevelopment getting under way after the school’s junior block was removed a year ago.

“If it works well and you’ve got a good collaborative team, good organisation and good systems . . . I think parents are becoming more comfortable with it. If you open your school up for them to come have a look at it, they’ll see the benefits of it.”

He believed there was an increasing need “to do some real parent education” to show how it would work for their children.

The North Canterbury developments, which would begin in March, were not technically part of the $1.137 billion Christchurch Schools Rebuild Programme, but were part of a Government plan “to raise student achievement by ensuring students can learn and achieve in the best possible environments”.

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The school had been working on the concept for two or three years .

Rangiora Borough School year 8 pupil Ben McIntyre and year 7 pupil Ashley Grindley-Jones check out plans for the school’s new 12-classroom block.

Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said schools chose how they delivered their curriculum and the Ministry would support “the creation of environments which are learner focussed and encourage collaboration and inquiry”.

Sutton said he thought parents would see the benefit in the new style of teaching as long as schools remained open about the changes.

“It’s still the same ratios, but it’s just the environment is larger and is more open.

Rangiora Borough, Ashgrove, Southbrook and Oxford Area schools will undergo $22 million refurbishments this year to create “flexible learning spaces”.

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