Schools of the Future kicking goals at Peel High

Future force: Head teacher Helen Herdegen and PE teacher Marnie Watson with Schools of the Future students Courtney Mulligan and Riley Givney. Photo: Peter Hardin
Future force: Head teacher Helen Herdegen and PE teacher Marnie Watson with Schools of the Future students Courtney Mulligan and Riley Givney. Photo: Peter Hardin

An educational experiment being run at Peel High School is paying dividends, with an eight percent increase in attendance coupled with a 92 percent reduction in behavioural incidents.

Late last year the school was selected as one of 16 around the state to take part in the Schools of the Future 2.0 roll-out.

That program dismisses the traditional theory that smaller class sizes result in better outcomes, instead filling larger classrooms with 60 students and three teachers.

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The program was only rolled out to year seven this year, although will incorporate year eight next year, and so on until all years from seven to ten come under the program.

Head teacher Helen Herdegen said the recent statistics were “outstanding”, and almost unbelievable.

She found that in previous years there had been 231 combined behavioural and academic levels handed out under the traditional class room structure.

This year there has only been 19 behavioural levels, and an amazing zero academic levels, while attendance had jumped from an average of 80 per cent to 88 per cent.

“It is a huge achievement – I actually had to count it up twice because I thought I must have made a mistake,” Mrs Herdegen said.

“Having three staff members in the class, and being able to break it up into groups, makes it much easier to control.”

The program also puts the onus on students as well, who are not only responsible for their own work, but also shoulder some responsibility for other students in their group or class.

PE teacher Marnie Watson said that the project based learning structure of the program “makes students more accountable for their own learning.”

Ms Watson is in the process of rolling out a ten sport ten team competition (SEPEP) within the program, where the students need to not only play to win, but also fill all the other necessary roles such as manager, coach, publicity officer, and equipment manager.

For Schools of the Future student Courtney Mulligan the difference between the large class room and innovative learning environment compared to her traditional 30 student one teacher primary school classes is huge.

“It is so much better – I love the different projects and the working groups,” she said.

“There is also more teachers to help us.”

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