This is about institutions and how we might optimise the education system in a way that puts the student at the centre, delivering outcomes in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

  • Principals need to build working relationships with the community (particularly parents, businesses, sports organisations and NGOs), in order to deliver a community-based education.
  • Respect teaching as a profession and develop career paths for teachers that allow them to extend and improve their talents.
  • Acknowledge effective teachers and showcase innovative teaching methods.
  • Flip the classroom – learn at home at the student’s own pace, problem-solve at school with the expert and sit exams when ready.
  • Embrace technology as a key tool to improve learning outcomes.
  • Create effective feedback loops to develop knowledge that will inform new strategies.
  • Review funding systems for any unintended consequences. For example, are secondary schools becoming holding bays because of the incentive to keep students at school, in order to retain funding levels rather than focusing on the students’ needs and wants?
  • Review role of zoning.
  • If students are at the centre of the system, then the parents and teachers are the primary support team, the principal and the school board are the secondary support team and the community is the third. This means the Ministry of Education becomes the steward of the education system – filling gaps and removing obstacles in the system as a whole.


2014 New Zealand Examples

Unlimited College, Christchurch

Unlimited College is an independent school that takes a flexible, student-led approach to learning. Students are encouraged to customise their own curriculum with learning based around individual projects rather than traditional classroom style learning. Also students are able to peruse non-traditional subjects, such as video game design and philosophy.

The Manaiakalani Programme, Auckland

Manaiakalani is an educational programme working in decile 1A schools in the Auckland suburbs of Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure. The programme’s goals include empowered learners, accelerated achievement and engaged families. It provides students with a learning device and wireless internet at home, and supports teachers undertaking further studies into innovative and inclusive pedagogy.

The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards

The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards are awarded to groups, teams and partnerships in English, Māori, or Pasifika-medium, recognising and celebrating their outstanding achievements to early childhood, primary and secondary education in terms of improvement, equity and planned innovation. The categories for the Awards are; engaging, leading, teaching and learning, and governing. There is also a 2015 Education Prize that celebrates a focus on collaboration that creates Learner-led Pathways from early childhood to schooling.

2014 International Examples

The website aims to ‘humanise the classroom’ with its online learning resources that allow students to learn at their own pace. Traditional class work is completed at home via online tutorials, leaving class time for teachers to work with students one on one. In effect, classroom lessons can be tailored to individual needs, meaning students are less likely to fall behind.