Oakwood School in Launceston has completely overhauled a former banking call centre to become a cutting-edge school for up to 100 students from Year 3 to Year 12.
Unveiled last month, the school has transformed an uninspiring corporate building into a vibrant learning facility, which enjoys captivating views of Launceston’s mountains, wildlife and wilderness through soaring floor to ceiling bay windows.
Originally servicing one of the Big Four banks, the call centre has taken twelve months to completely refurbish and transform into the state-of-the-art learning centre.
Oakwood School, which has campuses in Launceston and Hobart, is part of the OneSchool Global network of schools, which was established by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.
Oakwood School commenced in 1995 and educates students throughout Tasmania, equipping them with self-directed learning skills and the ability to work collaboratively to advance their learning.
As part of OneSchool Global’s ecosystem, Oakwood School delivers a mainstream education to Brethren students, utilising Zoom video conferencing to provide students with choice from a broad range of subjects.
The new campus in Launceston is built around a Learning Centre, which offers a range of different learning and collaboration spaces as part of the School’s self-directed learning approach.
This approach requires students to prepare themselves ahead of class, for example through watching prescribed video or pre-reading course material and bring to class questions to seek guidance from their teachers.
Mr Damien Barry, Regional Principal of Oakwood School, said many schools are innovating through creating attractive facilities, but Oakwood School is unique.
“Our Learning Centre is connected to all Virtual Classrooms (VCs) working in tandem. We are the only school in Australia that has a Learning Centre attached to multiple VCs,” Mr Barry said.
“All spaces within Oakwood School are versatile and adaptable to cater for different students, year levels, subjects and teachers.
“Our primary school and high school are under one roof, creating exceptional opportunities for collaborative learning and mentoring. You do not get this opportunity at larger school campuses.”
Mr Barry said the success of the development of the campus and its ongoing operations is largely due to the partnership between the School’s professional staff and the supportive Brethren Community.
“Our staff and the Community are working towards the same vision. This partnership is powerful and enables us to innovate in a way that is unachievable in mainstream schools.”
This focus on innovation extends to the strengths of Oakwood School teachers, who are non-Brethren and have years of experience in government and independent schools in Australia and abroad.
Oakwood School teachers are provided with school-wide professional learning and development opportunities and are skilled in facilitating self-directed learning.
“Our teachers have the ability to move quickly and seamlessly between the virtual world and face-to-face environments,” Mr Barry said.
“Pedagogy by Zoom virtual learning is unique to the pedagogy applied in face-to-face mainstream learning environments.
“Our teachers are highly skilled in ensuring multiple students across multiple campuses can interact with each other and with their teachers.
“To blend VC, Zoom, face-to-face and self-directed learning is no mean feat. Not many schools and teachers can do this, so we are delighted to be leading this in Australia and throughout the world.”