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Connecting the vision to adventures in learning

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Judith Wootton, principal of Windley School, explains the school's learning vision "SET for life" – socially skilled, effective communicators, thinking learners – and how students are developing and modelling key competencies that match this vision. This film supports schools wanting to build a stronger alignment between their vision and the learning opportunities they offer.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

What we want for our young people

The New Zealand Curriculum (p10) states that:

"Our vision is for young people:

  • who will be creative, energetic, and enterprising
  • who will seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic, and environmental future for our country
  • who will work to create an Aotearoa New Zealand in which Māori and Pākehā recognise each other as full Treaty partners, and in which all cultures are valued for the contributions they bring
  • who, in their school years, will continue to develop the values, knowledge, and competencies that will enable them to live full and satisfying lives
  • who will be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners."
  • Discuss the ways that Windley School brings the NZC vision statement to life through their own school vision.
  • Consider the NZC vision statement and your school context. How does this vision statement align with your own school vision? In what ways is this vision statement visible in your everyday classroom learning?
  • Judith discusses the relationship between their school vision and the key competencies. Can you make connections between your school vision and the key competencies?


Judith Wootton, Principal

Windley School ‘s learning vision is "SET for life at school" – and the SET means, Socially skilled, Effective communicators, Thinking learners. All our planning in the school has to be related straight back to that vision. If it’s not linked to the vision, then it’s not something that we need to do. Implicit in that planning, and the implementation of the planning, are the key competencies. The students need to be developing and using those key competencies to ensure they are meeting our school vision.

So in our school we have the "SET for life" as our learning vision and we have broken it down into the three areas of socially skilled, effective communicators, and thinking learners. So we have stuck with ‘resilience’ as children need to be, in terms of social skilled, resilient. They will work through examples of that and in adventures for learning they will actually do the modelling of what it means to be resilient; they will use the language of resilience. The children can then recognise when they are developing those skills.

One of the other key things for us in our socially skilled aspect of our "SET for life" is the collaboration – the need for the children to learn to be able to work together peacefully, calmly, and to an end that creates a real sense of success for them working together. 

The second part of our "SET for life" vision that they work with in "adventures for learning" is the "effective communicators". It’s one of the key areas for us with the children in terms of the adventures for learning, the oral language, and the aspect of it that they focus on.

The third area is the "thinking learners", so it’s creative, critical, and caring learners and thinkers, so they have got to be able to learn to think in those three areas – creative, critical, and caring. 

They focus very heavily on making sure the competencies are the key to driving the way in which the children learn and they refer frequently to "How's that making you a better learner?" "How’s that making you self-managing?" And the children are able to verbalise those sorts of concepts as they come through.

The concept of developing the students into socially skilled, effective communicators, and thinking learners is paramount in the planning and decision making that they have around the sorts of learning that goes on at any particular time in the afternoon sessions.

So it fits very comfortably into the wider school vision, and also fits comfortably into the process of inquiry learning which is being developed further up the school, and it is the precursor, in our opinion, to the children’s ability to move comfortably into the senior school and into, perhaps, a more academic aspect of inquiry learning. But also they are the foundation skills for when they move further through the school. Examples of that are the fact that I recently was relieving in one of the year 3 and 4 classes, and they were beginning the questioning process for an inquiry unit they were about to establish. And the richness of the questions that came particularly from the year 3 students, who have had "adventures in learning" as part of their programme in the junior school, was very very evident. And so they are setting those very strong foundations there for the whole development of inquiry, which again uses the key competencies as a foundation for the learning.

Updated on: 20 Sep 2010