New Zealand/February 20, 2021/By: ST PETER’S SCHOOL/Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz
When New Zealand’s Alert Level 4 came into effect in March 2020, schools around the country faced the challenge of a transitioning from onsite to online learning. As students adjusted to the shift in their educational environment, many schools were ill-prepared to move so quickly to online learning.
Schools such as St Peter’s in Cambridge were readily prepared for a seamless transfer between classroom and digital learning. With each student equipped with a personal device and ready to use online platforms such as Google Classroom and Hangouts, a streamlined shift was enabled as soon as the lockdown occurred.
Head of Science at St Peter’s School, Oliver Alini, said on the first day of the 2020 lockdown, “this is fantastic. I currently have all our year nine students working on individual tasks that I can monitor and give feedback on. All are simultaneously on Hangouts so I can give them prompts and move on to the next task.”
Teaching has been redefined by digital technologies and collaboration tools. As the uncertainty of further lockdowns remains, it is essential for students to be assured their education will continue with as little disruption as possible.
The key difference between the independent and public education sectors is how education is delivered. Union groups, particularly in the secondary sector, have a great deal of influence within the public system, which can stifle innovation and flexibility. Without these constraints, independent schools have the increased ability to innovate and cater to diversity.
The most recently available NCEA achievement data released by NZIER and NZQA shows significantly higher rates of Excellence endorsements for NCEA being achieved in independent schools, compared with state and integrated schools. Such is the advantage of schools such as St Peter’s having the freedom to be more agile than their state counterparts and cater to the changing needs of students and their families.
In New Zealand, students’ families can choose independent schools to fulfil their needs and preferences, which the constraints of the public school system may not allow. As the personal desires of families alter and the requirements of an increasingly diverse society and communities shift, both the public and independent school systems will naturally experience changes. The types of changes likely to come about under each system will influence students and their parents’ decisions about a school’s suitability. General factors might include class size, co-curricular opportunities or the uptake of new technologies.
As new challenges arise as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and people become more sensitive to the possibility other unforeseen future events, there is a greater need to make informed decisions around schooling and education, including choosing a school with the resources to ensure an uninterrupted, quality education for its students.
As an independent school, St Peter’s invests funds into the technology needed for a secure education, as proven during the 2020 lockdown, as well as offering a variety of sport, performing arts, cultural and wellbeing activities, contributing to the development of well-rounded individuals.
The St Peter’s Open Day in Cambridge will be held on 12 March 2021. Those wishing to attend can see the Open Day Programme at https://www.stpeters.school.nz/events/886/School-Open-Day or visit the St Peter’s School website at http://www.stpeters.school.nz.
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.