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Ross Preece web featureRoss Preece The delivery of education is changing and Ashburton College principal Ross Preece is committed to ensuring his school is at the forefront of that change.

He’s an advocate of the move towards project based learning that is designed to equip students for a working world of the future, and last year outlined to college parents the way that would change the delivery of education.

Project based learning was a significant change from the traditional silo style of learning where a curriculum is divided into subjects.

Instead it sees inquiry based learning where subjects were integrated.

Next year Preece will have an opportunity to learn from international leaders about that change when he undertakes a study programme at Harvard University, funded by the Advance Ashburton community foundation through its $10,000 leaders’ scholarship programme.

“This is about the future of education at Ashburton College and accepting that change in education is coming,” he said.

There would always be a focus on skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic, but you would be more likely in the future to see problem solving and communication take the place of rote learning and repetition, he said.

“As technology transforms access to information, the traditional role of teaching to impart knowledge had become far less relevant.

“With computers and artificial intelligence increasingly replacing jobs, it is even more important to emphasise the need to develop a school system that teaches and enhances the soft skills, dispositions such as communication, collaboration, resilience and creative problem solving,” Preece said.

With the college to undergo a $50 million rebuild, he said it was important to understand the shape that change would take and the impact it would have on the style of buildings required for future learning needs.

“We’ll be designing our new school for the next three generations.”

His scholarship will see him attend a one-week education leadership course at Harvard University that will look at the direction education is moving into the future.

In addition, he plans to visit schools already committed to project based learning to see first-hand how this is working.

“This will give me first-hand knowledge and it’s perfect timing with the new school coming.”

In announcing the scholarship, Advance Ashburton chairman Trevor Croy said that with Preece’s proven track record for positive school and community transformations, the college was in safe hands.

Two additional scholarships were also awarded thanks to the generosity of Sir Graeme Harrison, Croy said.

These were to Lisa Anderson, a Leaders’ enhancement scholarship, and Katrina Palmer a Leaders’ development scholarship.

Preece will take up his scholarship in term three next year.

The Advance Ashburton Leaders’ scholarship will open again in February 2020 for applications.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 13 May 2019

Basketball web2The Ashburton College senior boys’ basketball side managed to turn a negative one night into a positive the following this week in local basketball action.

Playing in the Division One Thomson Trophy in Christchurch on Tuesday night, the College boys were beaten by a strong Shirley Boys’ High School side as they continue their step up from division two into the big league.

While beaten, the side was far from disgraced with a final scoreline of 78-55.

Quinn Ritchie led the charge for the Ashburton side with 27 points and formed strong combinations with both Sam Pearce and Thomas Patterson.

While disappointed to lose the match, it did serve as a good reminder of the level of competition they are now facing and there was a real positive in the way they fought back after a slow start.

After that disappointment though, they managed to turn things around on Wednesday night in the local men’s competition with a good win over Star Farmers Corner.

Again Ritchie shone, with 33 points, while Pearce was strong with 18 points for the match.

For Star, Xavier Bartlett was the leading scorer with a solid 20 points.

In Wednesday night’s other match, Gannets grabbed a strong victory over a depleted Nomads side who were without three of their regular starters.

After a slow first quarter things picked up in the second, third and fourth with the Gannets proving too slick winning the match 84-53.

The presence of the seven-foot Jason Greig was a big assist to the Gannets. He grabbed a number of rebounds, blocked shots and scored 24 points for his effort. Nick Fechney had a good night too with 20 points, including four from three point range.

For the Nomads, Mikal Johnson, Jamie Smitheram, Sam Moore and Matthew Tait all reached double figures.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 10 May 2019

college logoMid Canterbury’s secondary teachers are joining their national counterparts in voting on possible strike action in support of their claims for improved salaries and working conditions.

Branch chairman Mark Gleeson said that votes on a possible strike were being cast this week and the result would to be known by the middle of next week.

Negotiations with the Ministry of Education began in August last year but have now stalled.

Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) members had lost patience with what they saw as unnecessary delays, Gleeson said.

“There is high demand for secondary teachers in New Zealand and supply is tight. Basic salaries need to increase to attract quality staff.”

The pressure on teachers and their ever-increasing workloads and growing demands on their time meant that part of the conditions claimed related to recognition of a 40-hour working week.

This would mean extra staff would be needed.

Industrial action was not something teachers considered lightly, as their commitment was to being in their classrooms with students, but they had reached a point where they felt they were getting nowhere, Gleeson said.

The PPTA team nationally had recommended industrial action and the current online vote would determine what happened going forward, he said.

If industrial action is supported it will take place in term two.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 10 May 2019