Alwyn Poole founded and was the head of Mt Hobson Middle School in Auckland for 18 years. MH Academy is now an in person private school for Year 11 – 13. There is now a nationwide online provision called Mt Hobson Academy Connected for Years 1 – 13.
As we head in New Zealand towards a new government and a new Minister of Education many in the nation are well aware that we need HUGE reform and improvement in our schools.
We also need things simplified in terms of what comes from the Ministry as well as all of the things that happen in schools that have very little to do with the education of children.
Last year I hosted an education summit in Cambridge and a wonderful range of people presented. I can’t help going back to a presentation from former Auckland Principal (and highly effective) Kieran Fouhey.
This is a summary:
10 Ideas that Work in Education/Schools
(Adapted from a presentation by very good NZ Principal Kieran Fouhy)
1. AMBITION for ALL
Ambition for all is a part of the goal of common good. The tragedy is we are discounting the kids in our schools. ..and we are lowering the bar so much that no one is ambitious. Schools are about equity, excellence, respect and responsibility.
2. EXTERNAL SYSTEMS of Assessment are Important
This relates to integrity of operation and not all schools or teachers are professional. High-stakes qualifications need external assessment.
3. DATA as DISINFECTANT
Data that asks the right questions – breadth of learning, depth of learning, teacher influence, school achievements.
4. ENROL the FAMILY
Bring the parents in to support their child’s school, feedback weekly, expect parents to contribute time in their child’s school.
5. DISORDER to ORDER – then REORDER
Disorder in a school needs to be brought under control … a disruptive student cannot stay in a classroom.
6. “AGES and STAGES” CURRICULUM is a MUST
This is about the structure of learning and the absence of it goes to the heart of purpose in schools.
7. PURPOSE (and AIMS) of EDUCATION CLARIFIED
I suppose I am not the only educator who finds the waffle factor huge in schools. Clarity of purpose must be restored.
8. LEADERSHIP is the HEART of the MATTER
Change the principal and watch the educational outcomes change. We all know that good schools have good principals.
9. INTENTIONAL TEACHING at ALL LEVELS of SYSTEM
My experience is with boys who need constant feedback, constant expectations, constant input, and constant encouragement to stay on task.
Kids are bored of videos, computer scrolling, entertainment, and meaningless credits.
- REPURPOSE the MINISTRY of EDUCATION
I don’t know why this ministry exists and the purpose of it. The Ministry is not accountable or responsive. There seems to be an expertise layer about schools missing in New Zealand’s Ministry of Education [Is the same true in other nations?]