Yass High School
This case study showcases how this school has embraced and embedded future-focused learning and teaching practice. Four key questions are addressed to demonstrate how they identified problems and constraints, overcome specific challenges and their learnings from this journey.
Location: Grampian St, Yass
Level: Secondary School, Year 7 to Year 12
Enrolment: 494 students
What learning problem were you trying to solve?
After a devastating fire to one of the school buildings, Yass High School was keen to explore new learning spaces which would allow students to work to their own strengths in project-based learning in small and large groups in a modern and engaging environment.
Yass High School also wanted the expertise of teachers across a variety of areas to work together on a single subject to support the interests and ability of individual students.
The Australian Curriculum identifies three cross curriculum priorities - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia and Sustainability. The teaching of these topics can be disjointed across the core subjects preventing students from gaining a full appreciation of each.
What were your constraints?
- Financing reconstruction of the building with appropriate learning spaces.
- Regular classrooms are limited to 30 students, limiting collaboration.
- Traditional furniture did not provide the required flexibility for project-based learning.
- Australian Curriculum identifies three priorities to form the subject focus.
What did you do?
Coinciding with the building reconstruction, the new learning spaces were incorporated as part of the insurance funding with additional support from the P&C. To take full advantage of the new learning spaces, Yass High School developed a Year 9 course called “Integrated Learning” designed to cover core subjects simultaneously with the focus on the Australian cross-curriculum priorities.
Each topic includes in a major project with students deciding many assessment parameters - such as whether to submit a painting, recreate a famous battle in Minecraft, learn a dance, film a documentary, cook a meal, interview an Aboriginal elder, or plan a cultural journey around Asia. Students are encouraged to utilise the space and its furniture in a way that suits their learning best.
What have you learnt so far?
Student and teacher feedback has indicated that both parties are enjoying the learning spaces and find it aesthetically pleasing to work in. Students find it stimulating to design the room to suit themselves and their own learning.
Teachers enjoy the flexibility of the space and the opportunity it creates for innovative pedagogy and student-centred learning. It also allows staff to work together on faculty-based learning projects as well as project-based learning.
Students are developing a more rounded social awareness and sense of empathy while collaboratively working on the content in the modern open plan environment.