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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Day 3 (part 2): Dandenong High School

Dandenong High School

Principal: Sue Ogden

  • In 2005 Dandenong was one of three secondary schools in the area.  Schools decided to merge as they didn't think they were doing well enough and serving their community well enough. Although they were very close in proximity, they were very different schools. The Principal at the time said "it is not a merge, its the creation of a new educational identity." They decided not to take bits of the 3 schools and put them together, they decided to go back to the very beginning and start again. They asked themselves 4 questions:
    • Who is our community?
    • What are their special needs?
    • What do we think powerful learning looks like?
    • What do we want our new school to be?
  • The spaces enable us to encourage really powerful learning but it's not about the spaces. 
  • We have 7 House Communities - essentially 7 schools in one - modelled on Alfriston College whānau groups.
  • Established 1919, one of the oldest in the state.
  • 2000 students year 7-12 (NZ 8-13) very low socio economic area, multi cultural, 84 languages, 25% refugee.
  • The model you create needs to come out of who you are.
  • Architects met with teams of teachers about what they wanted the learning in their area to look like.
  • We don't call our spaces open, we call them adaptable.
  • Our vision developed in 2008 and all school initiatives are held against our vision and either actioned or not.
  • Very important to us to create a sense of belonging and connection for our students.
  • 7 House Communities:
    • 300 students in each house. 
    • 50 in each year. 
    • Vertical houses. 
    • Students stay in the same house for their entire time at school. 
    • 25 teachers in each house and 
    • a leadership team of four and
    • an Assistant Principal in each house.
  • Year 7-9: work in collaborative learning model with three teachers. The three teachers plan, teach and assess together.
  • Ratio of about 50 kids to 3 teachers then grouped within the 50.
  • Years 10-12: each student selects their timetable depending on their pathway. Year 10-12 move to the teachers in their learning areas. The school curriculum is student centred but not as student driven as we would like.
  • We value direct instruction, we don't do an either/or model and we value the disciplines and teachers teaching in their areas of expertise.
  • We value inquiry and we value discovery.
  • We are focussed on a personalised approach to learning that is driven by data and evidence.
  • Timetable:
    • 4 period day
    • 75min periods (allows for 3 groups to rotate at least once during a session)
    • Recess and lunchtime
    • Run on 300mins per day
    • Tuesday afternoons teachers meet as teams.



Specialist Science Area


Designer furniture for this space. Can be stand alone as above

or can slide against wall

Teacher workroom - open and visable

Designer wall to close off specialist music rooms from areas that are accessed by public


Drama room

Auditorium




Where there is space and light, students will work!







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