Our Education and Learning Challenge
A generation ago, young people leaving school found jobs more easily and stayed in them for longer. Students at school can now expect to have 17 different employers in their lifetime in five different career areas. To give our young people the best chance for success in this new and challenging world we need to change the way we educate our students and the environment they learn in.
Our students will need entrepreneurial, problem solving and critical thinking skills that allow them to quickly adapt and excel in new jobs. They'll need to be able to work independently, and together in groups, and draw on capabilities in numeracy, literacy and technology. To prepare and equip our students with these skills and capabilities our current school system needs to change.
To help us get there, the NSW Government has established the Futures Learning unit to assist teachers and school leaders to design the kind of innovative learning and evidence-based teaching practice that has meaning and relevance to each and every student.
With this thinking in mind, the Department of Education has developed a strategy for Parramatta outlining a program of works that will provide innovative, flexible and future-focused educational provision in the surrounding areas of Parramatta.
The program includes the $100 million redevelopment and expansion of Parramatta Public School and Arthur Phillip High School into new state-of-the-art education facilities. Arthur Philip High School and Parramatta Public School will reopen in 2019 as new, future-focused schools that showcase best practice teaching and learning excellence.
The redevelopment will comprise:
a new multi-storey Parramatta Public School for up to 1000 students on the existing site; and
a new high rise high school for Arthur Phillip High School for up to 2000 students on the existing site.
The redevelopment of Arthur Philip High School presents an amazing opportunity to transform our approach to education. Arthur Philip High School is working alongside education experts, including Steven Heppell to encourage effective online learning and create virtual classroom environments.
Integrating technology is a powerful way of improving student engagement and providing a space where a blend of methods can be used to cultivate attitudes to learning that stretch beyond the traditional classroom model and empower students to be lifelong, engaged learners.
At Arthur Philip, teachers will use project-based learning integrated with online technology to connect to students' real-world experience and provide them with the 21st Century critical thinking and problem solving skills they'll need to thrive in the modern world. For example, students may undertake a project on engineering and architecture that draws together knowledge in maths and physics to research, test and build a scale model.
This approach not only gives students more autonomy and control over their learning but also provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning, evaluate the processes they used and identify what they might do differently in future projects.
By reimaging what is being learned, how it is taught, and the way we use technology, we can move beyond the one-size fits all approach to education to make learning more impactful and personally significant for students.
Modern Learning Environment
The spaces our students learn in are just as important as what and how we teach them. The new facilities at Arthur Phillip will incorporate future-focused, flexible teaching spaces with adaptable/moveable furniture and room configurations.
The learning spaces will be technology-rich to serve multiple learning contexts from large class groups to small clusters, providing better opportunities for collaboration and personalised learning.
Arthur Philip will be based on a schools-within-schools approach to education, with a central home base allowing students to come together across all age groups. Six of the floors in the high school will be double-height, to be configurable and easily adapted to fit different learning styles and uses.
In addition, Arthur Philip High School will have STEAM areas, fitness labs for physical education classes, and wet and dry studios for music instruction and practice. A large amphitheatre has also been included in the design, which will allow for large student gatherings, school presentations and space for community programs and collaboration.
The building will feature outdoor learning terraces and semi-outdoor vertical circulation elements. The innovative design will also allow the Department of Education to provide a valuable connection with adjacent educational facilities, including the University of Western Sydney and Parramatta Public School.