Small class sizes, highly engaged students and a real love of learning – it may sound like something out of a teacher’s dream, but that’s the reality of Villa Education Trust’s project-based curriculum.

 The curriculum was designed to provide a “balance between pendulums”, according to Alwyn Poole, academic advisor for the Trust (VET), which runs two New Zealand charter schools - South Auckland Middle School, and Middle School West Auckland.

“The pendulums in education tend to swing from a knowledge-based curriculum with a lot of didactic teaching to an almost free-wheeling curriculum where people would say the only thing you need to teach children is to learn how to learn.

“And we think the long term truth lies somewhere in between,” he says.

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