INNOVATIVE SCHOOL LEARNING SPACES
School name: Tamaki College
Type: Co-ed secondary
2005 roll: 660
Principal: David Hodge
Type of Work:
Grounds renovation, shared community/school recreation centre, installation of
significant ICT infrastructure, new technology block
5YP, SPG, community grants and donations, SPG
Curriculum learning areas accommodated:
The new and redeveloped facilities accommodate Sport, Health and PE, Technology,
and all curriculum areas, through diverse pedagogies boosted by information
The principal and his board and teaching colleagues at this decile 1 South Auckland
secondary school determined to re-energise the school through stronger
school/community links and greatly improved student achievement. Membership of
the AimHi project within the Ministry’s Schooling Improvement project, plus
mentoring of Pacific Island students towards tertiary education have also been
What were you setting out to achieve, in terms of spaces for learning?
David Hodge believes in the “power of place” and set out to transform the Tamaki
College campus into an open, welcoming, community-oriented facility. The school
had already adopted Full Service Education principles with a student and family
health centre located near the entrance for easy access.
A separate entrance, close to the main driveways, was provided to the school marae
(Maori form 28% of the roll) so that it was more accessible to the community.
The original gymnasium was removed in 1999 and has been replaced by a massive
$3.9 mill recreation centre with community access straight off the street (see attached
photograph) and school access from the opposite end. This largely community funded
facility, developed in partnership with the Auckland City Council, is available to the
community at lunchtimes and after 5pm, with its fitness centre charging just $2 per
session. The school operates a Sports Academy (which like the rest of the school has
high technology provision, as seen in the photo attached) within this complex.
“We want the community to see we are outstretched and welcoming so we have no
high hedges anymore, no high spiky fences….just low, orderly gardens and big drives
that sweep right up to the front door”, says David Hodge. The attached photo shows
the open effect that has been created.
“They can look in and see order and see that it all works and this has a priceless effect
on school-community relationships. If we don’t have the trust and involvement and
pride of ownership of the community we won’t have the student achievement we
A new technology centre opened in 2003 also had community involvement in mind
with ITO-type delivery and qualifications on offer and separate street entrance for
What were the pedagogical or learning goals, and how did these relate to your
“We expect quality teaching driving, through core values, towards learning and
achievement….so we are matching that with the buildings and the equipment to
enable teachers and students to do their absolute best”, says David Hodge.
Tamaki College is a magnet school for technology. It has no fewer than 240 PCs
available for its 660 students. Smartboards, data projectors and laptops are common-
place. Every student has their own files on the school’s hard drive so they can access
work and learning from the school, the library or from home.
“We believe that if we can teach through ICT better than anybody else then we
become a magnet for all our stakeholders and we strengthen the belief of
all….students, staff and parents….that they can be successful learners”, says David
Were you and your staff involved in briefing the designer/builder?
“Yes, in everything we’ve developed….the recreation centre, technology centre and
new six classroom block…our goals and philosophy of community engagement and
student success have been the key bases for design”.
What special or unique features and/or learning benefits have the buildings
The use of technology everywhere, within the diversity of teaching approaches
required by a diverse student roll, has led the students to feel empowered and have
much better attitudes to school and learning. Tamaki College NCEA results,
enrolments, behaviour indicators are all positive, says David Hodge.
“We now have over 70% of year 13 students going to tertiary institutions, up from
around zero a few years ago”.
What type of teaching and learning happens in the learning spaces?
David Hodge says they designed a diversity of teaching spaces for the diversity of
students and teaching styles at Tamaki College. While most spaces are of
conventional classroom scale there also many smaller spaces for group work and
individual study and research.
The common feature is multiple applications of technology, for example in the food
technology laboratory in the new Technology Centre, teaching is digitally recorded so
that if a student needs a replay of a particular skill demonstration, it can be provided
on a large screen almost immediately, and a full record of the lesson can be printed out
for students. There is a also an adjacent break-out space (as seen in the attached
photograph) for small group study and tutorial.
Even in the recent redevelopment of the college quadrangles between buildings,
diversity of student needs has been catered for. One courtyard, where the college radio
station is based for lunchtime entertainment, has basketball hoops and active play
areas; another quadrangle has gardens and fountains for peace, thinking, and quiet
Recreation centre - Community access straight off street: