Hills Grammar School: Where ‘blue-sky thinking’ thrives

Hills Grammar School: Where ‘blue-sky thinking’ thrives

According to the World Economic Forum (2021), half of today's work activities could be automated by 2055, posing even more challenges for their future work choices.

A growing education, business and political leaders believe that young people should be taught the crucial enterprise and life skills of creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, citizenship, communication and collaboration.

Hills Grammar School with its commitment to “locating the genius in every child”, has embedded entrepreneurial education across the whole School – Pre-K to Year 12.

According to the Foundation for Young Australians (2020), enterprise skills are needed for young people to thrive in an uncertain future. In 2021, year 5 students were involved in two entrepreneurial projects: Market Day and the SEAT project.

Both projects required the students to work in teams, to be creative and innovative and to adopt a social enterprise, ethical approach their projects.

“An innovative school is future focused, collaborative and is always looking for ways to improve the teaching and learning experience of its students, so they are equipped to face the world with confidence, courage, and agency,” Claire Napoli, the school's Director of Advancement and Engagement, told The Educator.

“Hills Grammar was founded by people who personified entrepreneurialism. They had the vision, imagination, and skills to courageously create a new school.”

Napoli said this entrepreneurial spirit, combined with a solid academic foundation, “is essential for continued individual success and prosperity in a competitive and democratic society.”

“This focus on entrepreneurialism has been successful because it is embraced and planned collaboratively from early childhood through to year 12 and aligned with our strategic plans,” she said.

The SEAT project involved designing a small seat that included communicating to parents the story behind the designs they created and the auctioning the finished products to raise funds for the Orange Sky Laundry charity, while Market Day required students in teams to design a product and promote its sale with all profits also going to the Orange Sky Laundry, which helps to positively connect people experiencing homelessness through free laundry, showers and conversation.

Napoli said it has been inspiring to see the increased confidence and agency of the school’s students who are now contributing to major school projects.

“The elected Early Childhood Children’s Council presents major resolutions, year 5-12 students are designing the school mobile phone policy and our approach to microcredentialing. More students have developed start-up businesses,” she said.

“There is a shared belief that the students, parents, and staff can work together to make a difference.”

Napoli said the school is looking to the future with the development of a new stage 3 enrichment program based on entrepreneurial mindsets.

“We are seeking community, industry, and university partnerships, supporting student start-ups, and providing places where innovative ideas and blue-sky thinking can thrive.”

Hills Grammar School was recently named in The Educator’s Innovative Schools 2022 list.