Critical thinking, creativity and innovation are essential skills that all students need to embrace as part of their broader educational experience. At Barker College, we place an emphasis on encouraging students and teachers to be innovative in the ways that they undertake their work.

This may involve a teacher exploring a new and challenging approach to teaching and learning in the classroom, students designing the fastest F1 cars in Design and Technology or teams of students and staff being engaged in innovative design as part of their work with a robotics project. Whatever the task, innovation and innovative practice are strongly encouraged.

At present a new ‘Imaginarium’ is being completed with open classrooms and creative learning environments for staff and students to enjoy. Here, the Barker Institute is investigating how these changes in the learning environment influence the ways that teachers and students engage in the learning process.

In 2015, staff are engaging in the creation and delivery of an iPad curriculum for our new Year 7 students. Here they are encouraged to innovate and create experiences that employ diverse strategies and activities. A large part of this involves the development of new approaches to student engagement and assessment.

Part of the Barker Institute’s approach to encouraging innovation will be housing professional learning within the Barker community, trying to find new and innovative ways to create, disseminate and apply creative solutions. Here, we will be drawing on the skills and extensive knowledge of our staff so that they collaborate and work alongside one another, developing confidence in their capacity to embed new approaches to learning that will transform the engagement of students in their care. Part of this will involve the development of The College of Teachers, where staff will be mentored and coached in the process of ongoing reflective practice.

The Barker Institute aims to embrace new and innovative approaches to learning as they emerge globally, embracing new ideas and sharing these through various forums and professional learning experiences as they arise.

As the Barker Institute develops, new and innovative approaches to professional learning, research and teaching and learning will continue to be at the centre of all that we do.