Grow Waitaha: A key resource for exploring school space and design.

By Judy Bruce

Understanding innovative school space and design is important for future focused school leaders – it is also complex. Grow Waitaha has been actively supporting schools to navigate this kaupapa for a number of years. Read on to learn more.

Following the earthquakes in Christchurch many schools were rebuilt and this provided an ideal time to think about the way space aligns with the needs of future focused learning. Grow Waitaha emerged as a collaborative of professional development providers, alongside mana whenua. The focus is on supporting school leaders around a number of future focused areas guided by four pou: 


Ākonga are future-focused and demonstrate global citizenship.

A broad definition of success is widely understood and implemented.

Learners have increased agency over the direction of their learning. 


There are smooth and seamless pathways into, between, and out of schools.

A connected, collaborative, coherent and learner-centred schooling system.

Equity and Inclusion 

Authentic, rich curriculum and pedagogical approaches reflect our bi-cultural nation.

Schools, as Te Tiriti partners, actively work in collaboration with mana whenua rūnanga to support Ngāi Tahu aspirations.

Inclusive education practices are used to identify and remove barriers so that learning is accessible for all.


Kaimahi and ākonga have a sense of identity, belonging and place.

Ākonga and teachers are empowered to support their own wellbeing.

Collaborative leadership is grown, enabled, and informed.

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To learn more about the work, check out the resource kete here: rapu rauemi. 

Of particular interest to this pānui is the video series on space and design by Dr Julia Atkin. A must watch for all involved in school design.