Sophie Statham, Savannah Buckman and Shaelee Burton are part of Glasshouse Christian College’s Operation Pyjamas, an online business providing PJs to underprivileged children. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson
Sophie Statham, Savannah Buckman and Shaelee Burton are part of Glasshouse Christian College’s Operation Pyjamas, an online business providing PJs to underprivileged children. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson

Sunshine Coast college 'Qld's most innovative school'

FORGET obsessing over OP and NAPLAN results, at Glasshouse Christian College the emphasis is on attaining enterprising skills that are sought by employers.

Problem solving, team work and communication will determine success in the global economy, but too few schools are making the grade, according to Mike Curtis, principal of the medium-size Sunshine Coast school.

"Education in general is not effective," Mr Curtis says. "And the new system (of senior assessment and tertiary entrance) that will replace the OP in 2019 is inadequate.

"There is not enough scope for teachers to include skills that can carry kids on to the next phase, whether it's university, TAFE, or setting up their own business."

Glasshouse Christian College principal Mike Curtis (third from left) with Year 10 students Tyler Rees, Cody Jones and Casey Woods, who are  part of the DeLorean Project. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson
Glasshouse Christian College principal Mike Curtis (third from left) with Year 10 students Tyler Rees, Cody Jones and Casey Woods, who are part of the DeLorean Project. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson

The college is challenging the traditional education model.

Every Wednesday, Year 10 students eschew regular classes for a full-day workshop called the DeLorean Project, where they collaborate with entrepreneurs to pitch ideas and solve problems.

One outcome is Operation Pyjamas, an online business providing pyjamas to underprivileged children. Another sees teen personal trainers run workouts for parents.

Year 8 students study in "superclasses", in which science, maths and IT are integrated. And, in a Queensland first, older students work with University of Sunshine Coast researchers on koala vaccines and reducing the rate of sudden unexpected infant deaths.

Josiah Raffaut, Estyn Beakey, Riley Currie and Joshua Hartshorne with their surfboard that disassembles for easy transporting, built as part of the DeLorean Project. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson
Josiah Raffaut, Estyn Beakey, Riley Currie and Joshua Hartshorne with their surfboard that disassembles for easy transporting, built as part of the DeLorean Project. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson

Dean of Studies Rob Steffler says kids begin Prep brimming with creativity, but by the time they reach Year 4, most schools have knocked it out of them.

Teachers concentrate on ticking syllabus boxes, but social capabilities like creativity can, and should, be measured.

"The Government had a 30-year opportunity in scrapping the OP system to reinvent what education looks like, but as far as preparing kids for the workforce in the next 10 years, it's a huge disappointment," Mr Steffler said.

"The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority has done a great job of talking about 21st-century skills, but this is complete lip service because there is still too much assessment of content and not enough real-world skills."



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