At the fourth annual Australian Education Awards, held virtually on 3 December, Adelaide Botanic High School was announced the winner of an Excellence Award in the category of ‘Innovation in Learning Environment Design’. The Awards evening gathered the education elite of Australia together to recognise schools and individuals driving positive change in education.
Out of the 28 total award categories, Adelaide Botanic was one of only two SA secondary schools in Australia, and the only public high school in SA, to win an award.
The ‘Innovation in Learning Environment Design’ Award recognises excellence in the design of a student learning environment in an Australian school and is testament to the hard work that has gone into designing learning spaces that cater for Adelaide Botanic’s contemporary interdisciplinary approach to learning.
Opening for students in 2019, Adelaide Botanic High School is the first truly vertical school in South Australia. The school’s learning spaces have been designed to cater for a flexible, contemporary, connected curriculum, and the team’s approach has been developed to make the most of the incredible spaces.
“The challenge for the school has been to enable teachers to unlearn previous practices and relearn the pedagogies this new approach enables and demands,” said Alistair Brown, foundation Principal of Adelaide Botanic High School.
Challenging the layout of the traditional classroom, the school’s founding leadership team initiated an approach to learning environment design named “Reset this Space”.
As part of this approach, furniture was purchased that enabled flexible use of learning spaces which students could adapt in their own preferred ways under the guidance of their teachers, while accommodating physical movement by teachers and students to facilitate greater collaboration and peer-to-peer learning.
Teachers spent considerable time trialling, reflecting on, and redesigning the purposeful use of learning spaces, which are agile to respond to the learning taking place.
“The Award recognises the hard work of staff since 2019 to create a new school that “does things differently”. It also demonstrates that with the right approach, South Australian public schools can provide contemporary education that prioritises the individual learning experience and is responsive to the teaching and learning occurring on any given day,” said Kirsty Gebert, Assistant Principal responsible for innovation in teaching and learning at Adelaide Botanic High School.
The Australian Education Awards are recognised as the leading independent awards in the K-12 education sector and showcase the top-performing schools and individuals for their outstanding achievements and transformative work.