Dilworth's ground-breaking new curriculum

Date: 03 May 2023

A new curriculum launched this year at Dilworth combines wellbeing, outdoor learning and a re-envisioned subject curriculum to ensure its students flourish well beyond the school gates.

The culmination of three years of extensive research, consultation and building on the strengths of the organisation has led to the development of the unique local curriculum. With the focus of learners/akonga at the centre, it aspires to prepare students for lifelong success as innovators, role models and global citizens.

Three pivotal strands make up the new curriculum and are woven throughout the school’s entire educational offering: a bespoke Flourishing/ wellbeing curriculum, a challenging Learning in the Outdoors programme, and an akonga centred learning areas curriculum.

Wellbeing is supported through the Ako Puāwaitanga/Flourishing curriculum which uniquely draws together wellbeing science and Christian faith to foster growth, care and safety, vitality and connection. Designed to build social and emotional learning and strengthen service, students undertake wellbeing sessions three times a week and are guided by a Pouako (coach), who will support their small group of learners throughout their time at the school.

“Dilworth’s journey to flourishing is arguably unlike anything else on offer in New Zealand – it will not only educate and support students to reach their full potential while at school, but also equips them to thrive in life,” says curriculum designer Asha Tupou Vea.

Meanwhile Dilworth’s re-launched Learning in the Outdoors curriculum, Te Haerenga, is delivered from the newly revamped Mangatawhiri Campus and each year students are given the chance to try their hand at everything from bushcraft and boulderingto abseiling, kayaking and mountain biking. This “journey of challenge and discovery” pushes students outside their comfort zone, providing opportunities for personal and social growth that can be difficult to emulate in a standard classroom environment. Among the many highlights is the Year 10 peak experience, in which students ride the Timber Trail, complete the Tongariro Crossing and learn about Matauranga Maori through Noho Marae.

Also new for 2023 is a fully aligned and redesigned Year 7 – 10 subject curriculum, which has seen the introduction of a broad range of new subjects such as financial literacy, Maori performing arts,

NZ sign language, Mandarin, Samoan, and Tongan. All students have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument up to Year 10 along with performance through band and choral programmes. At senior levels, students can springboard into a range of specialisations, with bespoke programmes launched for seniors in 2023 across health, sport and recreation, transition, careers and pathways. Passion projects dish up the chance to explore personal areas of interest (from robotics to fashion design), and talented athletes can hone their skills through a pioneering high performance sports programme run by former All Black Ant Strachan.

While academic success has long been a hallmark of a Dilworth education (last year 100% of Dilworth students achieved NCEA at Levels 1–3), the Dilworth learning journey is about more than good grades. The innovative new curriculum builds great men by developing the whole person, ensuring that those who attend Dilworth are ideally placed to flourish in life and learning now and into the future.

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