Revamp in the pipeline for local school

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Renovations to create a modern learning environment at Weston School will begin at the end of the month.

Principal Nicky Ryan said the government is providing more than $500,000 to fund renovations that will change the classroom environment by integrating corridors into the classroom, installing glass partitions, changing seating and more.

“The idea is looking at personalising learning for kids,” she said.

“It’s a government push towards future-focused learning.

“The ministry [of education] have supported our plan to have this modern learning environment . . . it’ll be quite big with us.”

The renovations would take place across four classes, she said.

“It should be complete at the end of term two.”

People in the 21st century needed to be creative, critical and caring workers and the move to create a “modern learning environment” would help do that, she said.

Weston School would be running ICT and learning nights for parents to help them understand modern educational needs, she said.

Last week the school held a “demolition sale” of unneeded items such as shelves and bookcases to raise money.

The school made more than $700 from the sale, Mrs Ryan said.

“All that will go back into this modern learning environment.”

Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure service Kim Shannon said between $500-600 million was spent annually across the country on the maintenance and modernisation of school property, with having modern learning environments in all schools the goal.

“Older schools generally have single cell classrooms with separate corridors. They were planned around one style of teaching – a teacher standing before 25 to 30 children, perhaps all using the same text book,” she said.

“Today, teachers and learners need more flexibility.

“Upgrading classrooms to the new standards give children modern and comfortable environments to learn in, and ones that can be used in a variety of ways.

“Often spaces are not dedicated to one activity, but can be changed to suit teaching programmes . . . whole walls can move, and glass sections can slide to open up areas.

“The design standards also allow for the inclusion of information technology into classrooms, which means having enough power outlets, data connections and wireless internet,” she said.

By DAVID DE LOREAN