Nelson College for Girls’ principal Cathy Ewing was part of a group of school leaders who visited Christchurch schools to see their ‘creative programme’ in action. Photo: Kate Russell.

Girls’ College looks to future of education


Nelson College for Girls’ is reconsidering how its curriculum is delivered to better prepare students for the future.

This comes off the back of the Government’s plans to shake-up the education system through its ‘creative education’ programme.

“At the moment, secondary curricular are very subject based and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was talking about the need to break those silos down – so that’s really what we’re trying to do,” says principal Cathy Ewing.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t have English, maths, social studies or science – but that we need to know how to link those skills together.”

She says, for example, environmental sustainability could be looked at in social sciences and then in English by finding literature that supports the subject.

“We learn it through these different subject areas.”

Although staff already do some of this informally, Cathy says she wants it to become standard practice, starting with the junior school, then reviewing course material ahead of the changes to NCEA starting in 2023.

Cathy was recently part of a group of Top of the South secondary school leaders who visited a selection of Christchurch schools to see the creative education programme in action.

The aim of the programme is to prepare students with the skills for a changing world, where career paths are vastly different from today.

In May, the Prime Minister told Nelson’s business community that we need to start thinking about our education system not in subject terms, but skills terms.

Cathy says she agrees with this approach in principle, although some aspects of the proposal need further consideration.

“We must provide an education that gives our students skills for the real world – and that world is very different from what it was even a decade ago. However, this approach may not work for all topics and subject areas and it’s important that key knowledge and skills do not get lost in the process.”

Cathy says they will be looking at this in consultation with their school community.