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Three schools challenging tradition through facility design

Three schools challenging tradition through facility design

Open spaced learning has surged recently – replacing traditional classroom scenes with collaborative spaces that mimic modern co-working spaces.

But do these facilities and the learning frameworks they underpin deliver better outcomes for students? It’s a hotly debated topic – so we found three schools who are embracing new teaching methodologies:


Arthur Phillip High School

One of the first public high-rise schools in Sydney, Arthur Phillip opened in the new school year.

Featuring Year Hubs by each level in the building, the school mimics open plan workplaces, using flexible learning spaces and has ditched the traditional ‘clanger’ school bell in favour of Bach… or Mozart, depending on your year level.

The facilities have (somewhat controversially) removed two age old school features – the Library and the staff room.

With ihubs on each Level (a kind of library, but more technology rich) students are have access to a smaller but more select range of hard copy resources, as well as online sources.

And where is the staff room? Teachers are instead spread throughout the school facilities, with an online locating system for students trying to reach a particular teacher.



One School

Ditching the Sage on the stage model, and embracing the ‘guide on the side’ OneSchool Global prepares their students to be life ready through ‘self directed’ learning framework. The student is equipped with resources, including access to teachers, but are allowed autonomy to drive their own learning timeline. The impetus is on the student, rather than the teacher.

Underpinning the concept is the collaborative learning spaces that many One School campuses use. Students are placed in ‘learning centres’ that mimic the modern day workplace rather than traditional desk + blackboard classrooms.



Margaret Hendry School

Another school turning tradition on its heels, with the grouping of student according to learning stages rather than ages.

Again, the model discards traditional factory style teaching, where one size fits all, and instead places the student in charge of their learning journey, aided by the newly labelled Learning Coaches.

The environment reflects this approach through its flexibility to simultaneously cater for individual students wishing to work alone, and large groups brainstorming a project.

Where you would normally expect uniform rows of desks, there is a quiet nook, some bean bags and a team pod. Not far away, but separated by movable screening is a completely different layout – a large table with students gathered, discussing items on a screen above their heads.

The philosophy behind it is very similar to One School vision of ‘career ready’ students. The students must make their own decisions instead of learning from the traditional ‘recipe card’ style of textbook lessons.


While teachers still remain undoubtedly the key ingredient to the success of a child’s education, the facilities and environment of our children are slowly but surely moving to centre stage.

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