Community Session held on Thursday 19th November 2015

Learning in open, variable spaces at Te Uku School

Background Information

▪       A total of $553,000.00 construction budget to spend as part of our 10YPP funding 

▪       3 years into the funding round – we’ve been thorough in our research and preparation

Purpose of the Project

▪       Provide our children with the best possible learning environment so they can all achieve to the best of their ability.

▪       Engaged, self-determined learners – amazing children!

▪       This is a student achievement project NOT a building project.

▪       Provide an environment for learning and teaching that is reflective of best practice.

▪       Help our children develop into people who will thrive in the modern world. We think beyond secondary school.

▪       Relationships, collaboration, initiative, self-direction self-responsibility, resilience, emotional intelligence are key.

▪       Align to our Charter and vision for the school.

How we prepared

▪       Pedagogy.

▪       Real life research – what’s working out there.

▪       Started working as a board and staff 3 years ago to prepare.

▪       An awareness we’ll never get this funding again.

▪       Emotional intelligence training

▪       Collaborative learning and teaching practices already in place.

▪       Standardisation of procedures and increased staff involvement with wider groups of children.

▪       Mindfulness for students.

Managing the project

▪       Architects and project managers are MOAA Architects.

▪       Full application and interview process.

▪       Huge project plan and multiple sign off points.

▪       Budget has affected our vision and what we can achieve.

What will it look like?

▪       6 of our 8 classrooms modernised.

▪       Walls partially removed between classrooms.

▪       Open spaces and some withdrawal spaces.

▪       Furniture used to define space.

▪       Current timeline sees building starting March-July (Block A) and July-September (Block B)

Further considerations

▪       Furniture is a big part of the equation, and our funding does not cover that.

▪       Reliant on future funding to complete the last 2 classrooms. 

▪       An active BOT and School commitment to our community.

▪       There will be a transition period and likely hitches: we’re preparing as best we can.

▪       We will need help.

Teaching and Learning Beliefs


▪       We will facilitate a range of opportunities for student voice and choice.

▪       We will give and create opportunities for students to learn from each other.

▪       We will give and create opportunities for students to make connections (social, emotional, mind, environmental, spiritual – hauora).

▪       We will provide learning opportunities in the outdoor environment.

▪       We will support students to learn skills for effective collaboration.

▪       We will provide quality learning opportunities.

What are the benefits for teachers and learners?

▪       Increased expertise available.

▪       More flexible and creative use of instructional time.

▪       Increased reflection on individual and collective teaching practices as well as individual students and their progress.

▪       Students have ‘the power to act’ in the MLE – student voice and choice.

▪       All learners are empowered to make choices and decisions about how, where, what and when they learn.

▪       Learners can be a part of their own learning support groups.

▪       The design of the ILE is adaptive to learner needs and ambitions.

▪       Encourages, supports and values open professional exchange.

▪       Coaching and mentoring ‘on tap’.


BLOCK A (currently Rooms 1 to 4)

▪       Learning environment for Years 0 to 4

▪       Years 0/1 students will have a teacher and learning space that they begin their schooling in.

BLOCK B (currently Rooms 5 to 8)

▪       Learning environment for Years 5 to 8

▪       Years 7/8 students will have dedicated learning spaces and teacher for their specialised programmes (technology; EOTC; WPCA).


Teachers’ Role


▪       Students will still have a ‘base’ teacher with whom they will connect each day

▪       Teacher roles – supportive; parallel; complimentary; team

▪       Teachers will meet daily to plan learning for next day

▪       Block A - 3 teachers and Block B – 3 teachers  working together


▪       Te Whāriki Curriculum – Year 1 (transition).

▪       Dedicated learning and teaching time each day for reading, writing and mathematics.

▪       Integrated curriculum approach.

▪       Regular ongoing reporting by teachers on students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards and the New Zealand Curriculum.

▪       Assessment systems in place for daily monitoring of progress.

▪       Continued regular opportunities, both formal and informal, for parents to discuss their child’s/children’s progress and achievement.

▪       Specialist support and learning programmes will continue to be provided and developed.

▪       Children with special learning requirements will continue to receive individualised support and individualised learning programmes.

▪       Opportunities for teachers to plan together, to monitor and to teach children so student needs and interests are being identified and met.

Important Considerations to Maximise Learning in Open Environments 

▪       Consistently being true to our vision and mission.

▪       Being open to change and being prepared to adapt.

▪       Finding and using different ways of working together.

▪       Having and resourcing spaces that enable collaboration.

▪       Enabling student agency.

▪       Developing systems which support the vision.

▪       Offering parent/caregiver information session.

▪       Seeking regular community feedback.

▪       Regularly looking outside our school.




On Friday 13 December 2013 the Board held its first consultation session for the proposed re-development of our classroom environments. 

The Board’s Presentation:  The Board of Trustees and staff would like to discuss with whānau and the school community the property developments that will take place at Te Uku School over the coming years.

  • The $650,000 allocated to us by the Ministry of Education 10 Year Property Plan is an exciting opportunity for our school.
  • The funding is very specifically tagged for upgrading our classrooms into more modern learning environments. This is a Ministry of Education priority and requirement.
  • We are taking into account best-practice research, teaching pedagogy, and the opinions of our school whanau as we plan the project, so we would like your input.
  • This Open Day is the first opportunity, and over the coming months, there will be more chances for you to become involved with the project.
  • These developments are part of our wider focus on lifting student achievement and will also allow us to lift the level of our teaching practices.
  • The needs of our students (academic, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and physical) are at the centre of this project at all times, so all decisions will be made with our students in mind.


Creating Uncertaintly in a Complex World by M. Wheatley
Websites showing examples of modern learning environments:
Education Consultant Mark Osborne talking about developing MLEs in your school
Frequently Asked Questions
Please email the Board with your ideas, comments and/or questions today to help the Board develop its plans
Every email sent will receive a response back from the Board.