2015 – The Sint Paulusinstituut is a school for secondary education with various buildings (campuses) in the city of Gent in Belgium. Below an article about the innovation project in the school, is summarized. The article appeared in Flandres Synergy’s Members Magazine – Issue 3 – September 2016.
The Workplace innovation
The school has formed teams that are responsible for a community of students no matter their subject or grades.
The school did not develop while the outside world has changed greatly. The number of pupils has fallen sharply. The general view was: “Now we can’t stand still anymore."
The change process
The innovation started with the expression of a vision: “Let us work together in Strong teams and dare to jump across borders, not just focusing on your own discipline, but focus on the Talents of the students, dare to be modern and dare to think critically about how things use to be, have Respect for both the team colleagues and the pupils, and staNd for Good quality and small teams that know the students well, (STRONG). “
The most difficult and most important step was to find and implement an appropriate structure. The question was: which structure facilitates a team to follow students during the four years of their education? Should the team-classification then be linked to campuses, degrees or study subjects? Eventually the outcome was a hybrid structure: at each of the three campuses a team for a broad first degree was installed and there came four teams, for each of the four areas one and those teams were for both the 2nd and the 3rd degree students.
The next step was to form the teams. The teachers were assigned on the basis of complementarity. There was some resistance at first, but that had more to do with uncertainty. The majority is looking forward to the new way of working.
The changes are taking place in a project of Flandres Synergy and in this context there is also a learning network with other schools.
The article reports no results. The project had not lasted long enough to show any results at the time the article was written.
According to the director, the intention is that ultimately better quality education is delivered while the teachers don’t have to work more hours.
The learning network with other schools works very well. They have, for example, learned by another school that the teams should not be too large, no more than 15 to 17 people.
Moerenhout, Ann. ‘De bel gaat, tijd voor een nieuwe start.’ InFlandres Synergy’s Members Magazine – Issue 3 – September 2016.The article is attached.