To prepare for this report, the Education Review Office (ERO) visited a group of 12 schools to see how they were addressing the challenge of teaching modern learners. These schools were selected because they were known to be exploring ways of using The New Zealand Curriculum, digital technologies and flexible learning spaces to educate their students for future success. While the sample is too small to be representative of every type of school, the schools that are included are very different from each other. Two have new buildings with purpose-built, flexible learning spaces; others operate in buildings designed for a previous generation.

We asked leaders in each school to tell us the story of their journey so far:

  • Why they started on this journey
  • How they set the conditions for success
  • What informed their decisions
  • How they managed change
  • What difference it had made (in terms of teaching and learning, use of spaces and digital technologies, and student outcomes).

Although the schools were all very different their stories had common elements, which we share in the Findings section of this report. The contextual differences are described in the School stories section that follows. In the Effecting change section leaders describe the challenges they faced and how they overcame them, and, in Advice from school leaders, they offer advice for other leaders embarking on similar school-wide initiatives to improve teaching and learning.

We are grateful to these schools for allowing us to visit and to hear and see what they were doing. We appreciate the time they gave us and commend their drive to do the very best for their learners. While we are unable to tell every story or include every detail, each school has contributed in important ways to the overall findings of this report.

Before we share our findings we outline the imperatives for change, drawing on both international and national research. Research evidence provides a compelling case for ensuring that teaching practice in our schools equips every young person for the future.