Thursday, 7 October 2010

Still without limits

Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti in Christchurh - on NZ's Mainland (as I've learned to say) remains the most wonderful evocation of how a school without limits can work so very, very well. The space remains open aspect, and multifaceted, with little teacher 'bases" tucked into alcoves and nooks. The currciculum also remains oopen and learner selected. I was delighted to go back there, some 10 years since my last visit and as John showed my round the impression was - apart from the original 50 students growing to some 400 - that very little of the original vision had been wrong. As we walked past students engaged in vigorous one-to-one tutorials with staff (first name terms) and in intensive group work with each other it was hard not to recall ex UK education minister Estelle Morris' wise comments to me a year or to back in an email:

"one of the things I learned from Government was that there is rarely a mechanism for rolling out successful pilots or research that has been commissioned.

The result is that we never really use what has been found to work. The only exception to this I can think of  really is the Literacy and Numeracy strategies"

Quite. It will be interesting to see how many of the new Free Schools in the UK emerge looking like this.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

No, honestly...

Arriving in Christchurch just after the earthquake, but in time for a verty substatial aftershock, I was - er - interested to find that the floor between my hotel bedroom and the lift was a trench. Amusingly the next day this note appeared - I'm sure it is true, but it just reads like a panic-staions PR puff, doesn't it? Mind you, the hotel did get knocked about a bit - i was in bed in the aftershock and it really shook!