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Hunter school’s program leaves NSW teachers ‘gobsmacked’

New model: Kurri Kurri head English teacher Jane Somerville, principal Tracey Breese and EOS CEO Carl Jarvis. Picture: Marina NeilKURRI KURRI High’s innovative newteaching model could be replicated across the state, after the school’s staff held a conference to share their findings with 150 NSW teachers.

Principal Tracey Breese said teachers from across the Hunter, Sydney and as far away as Cobar and Wagga Wagga packed into Newcastle City Hall for the three day Project Nest conference, which is being held with support from UK based organisation EOS Education.

“Some of the teachersare completely gobsmacked with what we’ve done,” Ms Breese said.“It was a big jump off the cliff for my staff and community, but we’ve seen great results and suchexcitement in the year six kids who are coming to our school.”

Ms Breese joined the school mid-2016 and worked with staff and input from EOS Education to develop a new model of teaching, where year seven students attend classes for just three subjects underpinned by developing their literacy and numeracy skills: STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), Quest (covering history, geography, English and art) and Lifestyle (comprising personal development, health and physical education, sport and health). Students learn fromthree teachers for each subject and in medium and small groups, depending ontasks. Students must then complete projects that demonstrate what they have learned. They don’t sit tests, except for NAPLAN. “The skillbase we’re giving students is about taking knowledge, using knowledge and representing it in a different way,” she said.“Kids are learning they have to be able towork with other people and to be responsible for and self regulate their own learning.”