Leading a Radical Shift in the Education of High Ability Learners
Education must prepare our young for the future. To do so all school leaders have to take into account new developments in education and pedagogy and strengthen their knowledge and understanding of what is possible for the schools they lead. The way schools are organised also makes a significant difference to student outcomes. The challenge for school leaders then is to create distinctive learning experiences and opportunities for each and every child who comes to school.
In Singapore, when the Ministry of Education announced its review of the upper secondary-junior college system to widen the scope and breadth of learning for high ability students in 2002, four schools applied with their proposals and received approval for the introduction of their programmes. This ‘through-train programme’, later known as the Integrated Programme (IP), allows secondary school students to proceed to junior college without taking the ‘O’ levels. The hallmark of this programme is innovation and the provision of a holistic education; schools that initiate this programme have the autonomy to design and organise learning to add breadth and depth to the learning experiences of their students. This chapter aims to share the experience of a school leader in leading educational innovation and change.