School Without Walls

Imagine if ‘school’ was a community that provided students with a bespoke set of learning challenges and skill-development opportunities that authentically prepared all types of students to develop their best selves for the future world.


The School Without Walls is big-picture thinking. It revolves around the key idea that schools are not islands, separated from the community. In an age where interaction and communication are at unprecedented levels, the School Without Walls moves education into this era by capitalising on community resources and knowledge.

In a School Without Walls…

  • School would be part of life.
  • The curriculum would be competency-based and delivered in project units to flexible group sizes, determined by interest and ability, rather than age.
  • Teachers could be traditional at point of need or members of the community who are suitably qualified.
  • Children would have a mentor who helps them navigate their way through learning experiences.
  • Learning would predominantly take place in shared community and industry spaces.
  • Assessment would be visible, relevant and real, mainly in the form of public exhibition.
  • Significant logistical hubs would be at the centre of each network of smaller community hubs.

The School Without Walls model builds on ideas of Project-based Learning, extension programs and systems already in place for Vocational Training. It is a long-term plan with complex logistics – not something to be instituted in one hit or for all students straight away – but the leap is not as vast as first imagined.

The School Without Walls team’s prototype is a video explaining the concept in order to build community engagement and excitement.

Team members: Ali Barker, Donna O’Hara, Kate Bovell, Linda Stade, Matthew Edwards

Prototype