Beyond the Buildings.

Term One finished yesterday, eleven weeks that has seen Rolleston College move from a series of ‘flash’ buildings to a school. A school full of the hopes, dreams, talents, intelligence and laughter of the learners who have given heart to the buildings. And yes they have also brought with them, their fears and anxieties, as they should.

Eleven weeks to give a beating heart to the buildings. Eleven weeks to change our focus from the environment to what happens within that environment.

During this term we have had a large number of visitors and it is sometimes hard for someone new to the school to see beyond the impressive physical environment to what it is that our learners are actually doing.

On Wednesday night though I think we cracked it. On Wednesday night I think we managed to collectively move our focus  from structure to people.

Wednesday night was our end of term Exhibition evening, this is where our learners showcased some of their learning to their families and to each-other. An important part of our vision has been to create a learning environment where personal accountability is linked to producing something concrete that learners present in some way to an audience rather than accountability being merely revising for an end of unit test. In other words accountability, to us, needs to have an authentic and real world context.

This is the purpose of our Exhibition night, an evening where, for example, young photographers can exhibit what they have managed to produce after their eleven weeks. My personal favourite is this close up study of a bird.


I was surprised how calm our learners were as they prepared for the evening. They seemed to cope with the pressure with admirable maturity, this was just another challenge to face and learn from. In complete contrast I spent all of Wednesday running around in small circles achieving nothing. There was one priceless moment as we were five minutes away from ‘opening’ and the Ngahuru News studio was still empty and showing no signs of broadcast. I found the crew in the production area hunched over a computer calmly completing their final editing, while I whirled around they calmly completed the editing, set up the studio and broadcast their first and highly professional, broadcast on time and with confidence.  They told me that they ‘had this covered’ and they did.

It was a wonderful night, not perfect thank goodness, but we set our mark and standard and each term we will strive to surpass that mark.

Our performers debuted and after the briefest of training sessions, our lighting crew. complemented their performances.  It was hard to believe that the voice that filled the theatre with a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” came from a 13 year old.


The photos that follow are just a selection of some of what was on display on the evening.



Proof [crime scene /forensics].


Am I the only living person to visit the scene of their murder?


Quest/ Passion projects..




Small Business Ventures.


IMG_1305 (1)





Connected/ integrated Learning.



What I was really pleased with was that this was just one night. A couple of days previous our Kapahaka group gave the first public performance of the school haka and a day after the Exhibition a learner presented his Hauora building. A whare he designed and 3D printed that opened out to reveal a booklet that unfurled that contained QR codes, writing and symbols that elaborated on all the aspects of Hauora that he had covered during the term.

A day after our first Exhibition evening it seems we already planning for our next one.




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