School’s out there

A NATIONALLY renowned education futurist says he expects demand for a radical new upper school planned for Fremantle’s CBD next year will be so strong they could fill 20 of its non-existent classrooms.

The Studio School will be an offshoot of All Saints’ College where students in Year 10 – 12 will self-direct their learning alongside industry mentors to create projects with real-world application.

Peter Hutton from the Future Schools Alliance said it was part of a glowing global trend to look for ways to educate and assess young people in a modern context, as more and more were falling through the cracks of traditional rote learning.

“I was dyslexic and school was ritualised humiliation,” Mr Hutton said.

But he rose to be principal of Australia’s most innovative school, and was so inspired by the idea of giving other kids the same opportunities he left to found the FSA.

“I applaud All Saints who have an innovative model for their students and are reaching out to those who need it,” he said. “The Studio School is ‘innovative small’ in its approach, but because it is an independent school it is truly unique and that makes it ‘innovative big’.”

He expects students will drive much of the interest in the school and will be dragging their parents along.

“By the time the child gets to Year 9, they know the environment they are in, their wellbeing and whether their passions are being me,” he said. 

Harness strengths

Mr Hutton joined All Saints’ vice principal Peter Allen, its dean of teaching and learning Esther Hill, as well as Learning Creates Australia founder Jan Owen to view several prospective sites for Studio School last week.

Ms Owen, who will be on the school’s advisory board, said it would harness students’ strengths and look at ways that could be recognised to help them achieve a qualification.

“If you were to recognise the whole student, in and out of class, how would you assess that,” Ms Owen said.

And while many a parent might bemoan their teen’s obsession with the X-Box, she sees opportunity.

“There are most remarkable skills in gaming, or indeed in being a carer to your grandmother.

“I am a specialist in workplaces of the future, and from my experience they are crying out to know more about the people they are hiring and how they are learning and how they collaborate.”

Ms Hill, who is also director of the college’s Djoowak: The Beyond Boundaries Institute, said the studio challenged the notion of where kids learn, what their place of learning looked like, and who they learned from.

“We are talking about the citizens of the now,” she said.

“We know how capable young people are now, and they can achieve things in the real world.”

She said fees would be about half those of All Saints, but that wouldn’t necessarily hamper students’ ability to further their education.

“The unis are absolutely in the space at the moment, particularly as a result of the pandemic, to opening up that pathway and they are talking to us,” she said.

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