Grow Waitaha—Learners at the centre of change


Grow Waitaha is a partnership between the MOE, iwi, providers, schools and their communities. CORE works alongside Evaluation Associates, Leadership Lab and Massey University on this project.

This is a new approach that transcends single organisations. It’s about a multiplicity of relationships and connecting people and communities. We are practising the changes in education that we expect to see for students—connectivity, collaboration, cultural responsiveness and working in new ways.

Many schools in Canterbury are being rebuilt (completely or partially) after the earthquakes. Rather than simply rebuilding those schools as they were, we have an opportunity to look ahead and construct innovative physical environments that enable future-focused education for all learners and their communities. Building new learning environments means developing new ways of working in those environments; Grow Waitaha is supporting schools through this process of change.

The change process is about a shift in pedagogy across the Canterbury region. Both those in the build programme, and those outside of it, will be able to benefit from this system-wide approach. Grow Waitaha aims to support schools to achieve their vision for education in their communities by enabling them to lead from within. The initiative recognises that huge expertise exists in the region, and harnesses that expertise by connecting schools up with others to allow for sharing and collaboration. The goal is to assist schools to achieve pedagogical change in a meaningful and manageable way, with a network of support.

Each school within the build programme will work with a navigator, who will support them to articulate their vision for education that reflects their learners and their communities, and looks to the future. As schools progress through the build phases, from education brief, to masterplan, to the build itself and on to inhabitation, the navigator will assist them to identify their particular goals and development needs, co-create a plan to achieve them and assist them to connect up and share with others. Where common needs are identified across several schools, growth and development opportunities and resources will be offered to address these. Schools outside the build programme will be able to access these opportunities too, but the first priority will be those who have identified their needs through working with a navigator. These opportunities and resources may take the form of forums, workshops, mentoring, hui, prototyping sessions, partnerships and many more. As we identify which are the most successful, they will become part of a growing offering that is more widely available. Over time, we will supplement these opportunities with real examples of innovative practice from within Greater Christchurch made accessible through either online platforms or showcasing spaces. Throughout the programme, the effectiveness of the opportunities and interventions will be evaluated to ensure the best ones are available to everyone.