Hills Grammar – a 5-Star Innovative School

According to the World Economic Forum (2021), half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055, posing more challenges for young people’s future employment choices. A growing number of education, business and political leaders believe that young people should be taught the crucial enterprise and life skills of creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, citizenship and collaboration. The Hills Grammar School, which is committed to “locating the genius in every child,” has embedded entrepreneurial education across the whole school from Pre-K to Year 12.

“An innovative school is future focused, collaborative and 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,” said Karen Yager, the School’s Principal. “Hills Grammar was founded by people who personified entrepreneurialism. They had the vision, imagination, and skills to courageously create a new school.” Mrs Yager says 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 adds.

Year 5 students are involved in two entrepreneurial projects: Market Day and S.E.A.T. Both projects require the students to work in teams, to be creative and innovative, and to adopt a social enterprise, ethical approach to their projects. The S.E.A.T Project is a social initiative that educates children in social values and sustainability. Year 5 students work in small, collaborative teams to produce a uniquely designed piece, which is auctioned off to the school community. Prior to the auction, the students present and explain their artworks to parents and staff. In 2022, the funds raised were donated to the students’ charity of choice, Orange Sky Australia. Meanwhile, Market Day requires teams of students to design a product and promote its sale to their peers from across the different grades, with all profits in 2022 also going to Orange Sky Australia. A representative from Orange Sky Australia visited the campus to allow the students to better understand how they work to positively connect people experiencing homelessness through free laundry, showers and conversation.

Mrs Yager says it has been inspiring to see the increased confidence and agency of the students who are now contributing to major school projects. “The elected Early Childhood Children’s Council present resolutions, Year 5–12 students are designing school policies and our approach to microcredentialing. ,” she says. “The School is seeking community, industry, and university partnerships, supporting student start-ups, and providing places where innovative ideas and blue-sky thinking can thrive.”