Rad­i­cal new cur­ricu­lum for Ku­ranui

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - JACK BAR­LOW

A South Wairarapa high school will do away with in­di­vid­ual sub­jects in a rad­i­cal cur­ricu­lum over­haul next year.

Ku­ranui Col­lege, out­side Grey­town, will in­stead of­fer Year 9 and 10 stu­dents ‘‘cour­ses’’, with a fo­cus on solv­ing ‘‘real life prob­lems’’.

Ku­ranui Head of Ju­nior Col­lege Vicki Wish said the change had been two years in the plan­ning.

‘‘The idea didn’t come from any­where spe­cific,’’ she said.

‘‘We just looked at dif­fer­ent [ed­u­ca­tional] mod­els from through­out New Zealand and around the world and took the bits we liked.’’

The cour­ses will en­com­pass dif­fer­ent sub­jects. There will be sev­eral com­pul­sory cour­ses, and in each there will be choice.

As an ex­am­ple, stu­dents would be re­quired to do three math­e­mat­ics cour­ses over the two years, but they would have eight cour­ses to choose from. A keen maths stu­dent could po­ten­tially do all eight.

Wish said the changes came from a de­sire to fo­cus more on in­di­vid­ual stu­dents’ strengths.

‘‘When we be­gan eval­u­at­ing how ef­fec­tive we were in de­liv­er­ing the cur­ricu­lum in our ju­nior school, and started to look at what other schools were do­ing, we quickly iden­ti­fied that there were three key is­sues that needed to be ad­dressed,’’ she said.

‘‘We were giv­ing an un­equal amount of time to the study of core ver­sus option sub­jects. Stu­dents were hav­ing lit­tle own­er­ship in what they learnt, and many were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing diffi- culty in see­ing the con­nec­tions be­tween the sub­jects they were study­ing and the rel­e­vance for real life after leav­ing school.’’

She added the cour­ses were de­signed to play to stu­dents’ strengths.

‘‘The new cur­ricu­lum will bring Year 9 and 10 stu­dents to­gether to study with­out stream­ing. The cour­ses are de­signed to ac­cel­er­ate stu­dents to a higher level if they are achiev­ing beyond their ex­pected level.’’

Wish said peo­ple ap­peared to like the changes.

‘‘It’s very, very dif­fer­ent,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve talked about it a bit at school al­ready ... and the feed­back has been pos­i­tive.’’

Ku­ranui isn’t the only school to reshuf­fle its cur­ricu­lum - Wish said some schools in Auck­land and Queen­stown had taken sim­i­lar steps - but its changes go fur­ther than most.

PHOTO: CATHER­INE ROSSITER-STEAD

Stu­dents at Ku­ranui Col­lege, which will un­dergo ma­jor changes to its cur­ricu­lum next year.

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