The Lakes’ is a purpose-built ILE and is located north-east of Melbourne in the outer City of Whittlesea. It comprises two campus’ housing Prep-4 and Year 5 – 9 respectively with 899 students and 89 Staff in total. The grounds are large and open, offering distant views and open skies. The school has a clear student-centred vision and a focus on collaborative professional relationship amongst staff. ‘The Lakes’ has almost completed its fourth year of operation. In these four years the student population has grown by 350% (located on two campuses); and in 2010, 40 of the 89 staff were new to the school. This time span, spatial relocation and significant student and staff growth permits a limited evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of this whole school ILE.
The school has had ambitious and innovative pedagogical philosophies underpinning the school design and construction since its inception in 2007. The Learning Streets and Pods offer movement, circulation and open spaces to make flexible pedagogical choices available to teachers and learners. Teachers plan and teach in teams. The overarching curricular conversation is embedded in terms of active learning, oral and play-based emphases, inquiry learning, student ownership, 1 to 1 learning programs, integrated programs and embedded ICT. The ‘Lakes School’ vision is to have 1:1 computers to facilitate flexibility. The open outdoor areas include large iconic sculptured elements which have been appropriated by the students as motifs of school belonging. There are positive indicators regarding student learning, student satisfaction and student agency and engagement. One of the most striking impacts of the ILE has been the comprehensive approach by the leadership team to the professional learning of staff. This focused work is critical in the ongoing work of an Innovative Teaching Environment (ITE). The relationship between the ITE and the ILE is essential for the ongoing effectiveness of the ILE. ‘The Lakes’ recognises that pedagogical and curriculum elements are crucial to quality and effective learning environments which are more dependent on relationships than space and environment – although these form qualitative aspects of the learning environment. The physical innovative learning environment is seen as moving into a consolidation stage. The pedagogical environment is still however in initial stages having to be reinvented in response to staff growth and teacher learning.
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The Lakes South Morang P-9 (pdf, 2mb)