Te Koura…Responsiveness…letting go…

He manako te koura i kore ai.

Crayfish are scarce when they are expected. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.


The whakatauki above is pertinent to the on-going journey, both now and more importantly into the unforeseen future…

If we are to be truly responsive to the learners arriving at Hobsonville Point Secondary School next year, then we do need systems and structures in place. However, there needs to be flexibilty to allow for responsiveness that is required to actually place the learner at the centre. Therefore, there is planning for process, curriculum pathways and exposure and passions to be allowed for. To empower the learners there needs to be some constraints, but also we must allow for the learner to lead the way with our ‘advisors’ guiding along the way. We are being given the opportunity here to do this at Hobsonville Point in a ground breaking way…

With a Senior Leadership Team adamant that we will not be ruled by the institutions that have impeeded (on occasion) forward momentum in regards to true personalisation in Secondary Schools around the country, such as, timetabling constraints, siloed subjects and more… This is huge and we must take this opportunity to make a difference to all learners in a way never attempted before. With this in mind, there is only so far you can plan, before you start to move away from your vision of responsiveness and personalisation. This does create tension with a group of professionals who like to be organised and prepared as the priority must be to WAIT….take a breath, we need student voice on so many levels before we can really create that responsive learning to occur.

So what can we do?

We can focus on the structures that enable personalisation to occur, what does a flexible timetable look like?

How can we best get to know our learners in our advisories and how best can they get to know us?

What type of advisory support do learners need to ensure rigour of learning as well as personalisation?

What type of modelling must we do to ensure we are walking the walk?

How can learners have input into our vision of what “Hobsonville Habits are? In action what do they look like? Sound like? Feel like?

How do we integrate our dispositions “Hobsonville Habits” with our quadrants and gather the evidence required to make a learner profile that responds, adapts and develops overtime so that these are not token focuses or add ons?

What do modules of learning look like when the NZC is hacked down to see the true links and potential of the document in action?

How do our big projects and passion projects structure themselves to ensure that authentic learning and taking action occurs?

So many questions….However, we are getting there, documentation, models, dynamic software that allow for this to occur are all on the way…we are putting the processes, structures, systems, models together that will allow for exposure, rigour and cohesion of learning to occur through truly personalised learning. Well on the way to seeing the vision realised…BUT not counting our chickens before they hatch or the same with the crayfish…to be truly responsive we will wait for our learners, their dreams, their passions and design their learning pathways with them.


So much potential…dispositional curriculum, the nuts and bolts.

It is really exciting times at HPSS. As we continue to work on the development of the HPSS curriculum, we have divided into a group of SSL’s (Specialised Learning Leaders) and a group of LTL’s (Learning Team Leaders). The SSL’s have been hacking the curriculum and have some awesome progress on this. Involving a HPSS inquiry type process that aligns with design thinking. The process is also explicitly linked to the NZC across all curriculum areas. They are really thriving and excited about where they are going as you can see by this picture of one of the team members https://twitter.com/GeoMouldey


At the same time the LTL’s have been working on both the dispositional curriculum, involving the “Hobsonville Habits” and also the systems and structures for truly personalising learning at HPSS. It is a lot of fun and we break new ground every day on the Why? What? and How? we are doing this…

Currently we are working on how to create a dynamic system that allows both the learner and the teacher to gather evidence of the Hobsonville Habits and how to integrate that with the rigour required for optimum, relevant, transferable learning. This is an ongoing process where we will work closely with Claire to see what systems are required for this to happen.

Our group quite likes the whiteboard, and paper! You will have noticed the other group quite likes post its, we do have the autonomy to develop and learn as we see fit 🙂
See some developmental aspects from last week below…




We may be being influenced by the Principal Maurie, as he also has a like for whiteboards and may have been excited when he saw us doing the same, he then helped us also with the dynamic nature of what the learner profile based on Hobsonville Habits may look like…

Once we worked out four aspects that build on and takes further aspects being used in the primary school, we collated what we thought the four main aspects would look like…

The four main quadrants are

Hobsonville Habits

From here we will develop how what we see as important in each quadrant looks, when the Hobsonville Habits are placed at the centre. Both the learner and the teacher/advisors need to have a strong understanding of what this should like if they are able to gather evidence along the way. The learner journey will be an ongoing process over time and the learner profile will allow for transparency of where are we at? Where to now?
The nuts and bolts are getting exciting, I wish I could start High School all over again, with a personalised pathway developed as well….

Learning Hub Development in Action…

Currently at HPSS we have split off into our teams of Leaders of Learning. I am working with Lea, Megan, and Yasmin in our team of Learning Team Leaders. We are responsible for the advisory or “Hub” aspect of the school. This is a really important part of the vision and values of the school, where each learner will have a learning advisor who will develop a strong relationship and knowledge of a small group of learners. This will allow for cohesion, across the school, while allowing for personalisation to occur. 

When nutting down to the why? we have synthesised this to be…

“We value learning hubs because they empower learners through relationships, innovate through personalised learning, engage through powerful partnerships and inspire through deep and challenging inquiry. You can see our value/beliefs, principles and practices in the circle diagram below…



We then as a team went away and worked on a variety of aspects of the hub, including the following…

  • Knowing the learner
  • Learning Paths
  • Passion Projects
  • Whanau Contact
  • Learning to Learn
  • Powerful Feedback

We really delved down into what these aspects will look like and are now starting to get into structures, systems and possible frameworks. There is a real tension between allowing for autonomy and ensuring rigour and equality. Therefore this is a flexible and on-going process, that will need some enabling constraints in the near future. We look forward to having the input of the new staff next term and further on the learners themselves next year. This is really important to us in insuring that we practice what we preach and place the learners firmly at the centre and allow them to co-construct their learning with the advisor as a guide sitting along side.

See diagram below for more detail…
Learning Hubs
At the same time the other group of Leaders of Learning, the “Specialised Learning Leaders” have been hacking the curriculum with a divergent/convergent process involving design thinking. Here are some visuals of the process they have been using to deconstruct the curriculum. 











I feel so lucky to be a part of this process, where we have de-schooled, where we are challenging norms and status quo, stripping things back and starting with the learner. I am excited about the next stage of developing structures, systems and frameworks that allow for this vision to be lived and breathed by all…Angus MacFarlane talks of “Pumanawatanga”-the life and heartbeat of the school, this is starting but will not be in full force until we get the learners next year. Bring it on!