Innovative Schools Tour

tools for innovation

National Professional Standard for Principals
Leadership requirements
1. Vision and values

Professional Practice
3. Leading improvement, innovation and change

AITSLdetailed Standard information

Innovative Schools Tour

How can we create innovative practice through collaboration?

Drawing on the expertise and experiences of others in a collaborative learning environment, encourages risk-taking in learning and leads to innovation in schools.

Taking a core group of staff to visit schools who are undertaking innovative practice allows staff to see new ideas in action and breaks down the “silo mentality” of schools when it comes to innovation. It provides an opportunity to learn about the challenges and barriers that have been overcome and avoids the “reinvention of the wheel” syndrome that is endemic in schools where traditionally, we work in isolation. In a future-focused learning environment, it is vital to embed strategies which allow school leaders and teachers to be open to innovation. Local Schools, Local Decisions and other changes in DEC structures will also make this imperative.

How do I plan a tour?

There are a number of ways of planning an innovative schools tour. It is important to clearly articulate your learning goals prior to planning your tour and seek permission to travel as appropriate. These may be broad goals related to experiencing innovation in practice or it may be seeking more specific information such as how project-based learning can work in a school.

Having a group of at least four staff involved in the visit ensures that the school will have a viable working party to plan and implement innovation as a result of their experience. It is critical that the Principal or key leaders from the school are involved in the visitation experience.

The itinerary for your tour will be entirely dependent upon your needs, priorities and budget.

Some ideas include:

  • Approach a particular school/s whom you know is working on innovative practice and arranging a visit with key personnel
  • Visit a school that offers a specific professional learning program – eg: SCIL – Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning, based at Northern Beaches Christian school, Mordiallac High School, Melbourne.
  • Visit schools interstate to gain knowledge of how different public school systems operate, particularly those with greater autonomy over staffing and budgeting. It is worth considering those Melbourne schools which received significant innovation grants in the late 1990s to see how they managed and implemented fundamental changes in teaching and learning practice.