New learning framework — an empowering tool

Camberwell girls grammar

Camberwell Girls Grammar School introduces BY DESIGN, a very dynamic way of looking at learning

The educators at Camberwell Girls Grammar School are constantly reviewing the educational experience to ensure students are equipped with the mindset, knowledge and skills to serve them well in the future. In 2018, the school embarked on an ambitious and far-reaching journey to build a comprehensive learning framework that embodies its strengths, purpose and principles. The result of that journey is BY DESIGN, a lens through which all learning experiences at the school are created.

Built on the research of institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), BY DESIGN has been successfully piloted in Year 9 and now includes Years 7 to 10. The intention is for it to expand across the school, from Foundation to Year 12.

“We wanted a bespoke framework and thought carefully about how our school wants to contribute to the educational landscape and what type of learners we seek to shape and put into the world,” says Kate Manners, Head of Strategic Initiatives.

“BY DESIGN recognises the need to connect learning to real-world experiences, and it helps students understand the ‘why’ of what they are learning, as well as the ‘how’. It views education as more than just delivering content and filling students with knowledge. It intentionally challenges teachers using the framework to think about the knowledge they want to impart and the qualities and transferable skills that they want to spotlight.”

BY DESIGN embraces the school’s fundamental characteristics of connection, grit, growth and sustainability and focuses on eight transferable skills: leadership, initiative, teamwork and collaboration, communication and presentation, planning and organisation, problem solving, creativity and critical thinking.

Charlotte Forwood, director of Learning Design and Development, says a bespoke app has been developed to guide the day-to-day implementation of BY DESIGN across the school. “It guides teachers to think intentionally about a learning experience, an activity or an event,” she says. “They can step back and decide what is important about a specific experience regardless of the timeframe — ‘is there a big picture question or a concept, or is it about connecting with people?’ They can then design tasks and activities accordingly.

“The framework also gives teachers and those working with our students the potential to dream big and to try something new. It allows teachers to draw on their experience and curiosity, try new technology, or explore a new concept.

“The framework has also encouraged more collaboration, and it has been very rewarding to see staff sharing their ideas on new ways of doing things with their students. BY DESIGN has unleashed a lot of confidence and creativity in our teachers.”

Kate Manners agrees that BY DESIGN is an empowering tool for those working with students in the classroom, on the sports field, on camps or at events in the school calendar.

“It models to the students that we teachers will also give something new a go and, while it may be a little messy at first, we are willing to try and next time it will be better,” says Kate. “But throughout that, students still get the knowledge and skills they need.”

As BY DESIGN gathers momentum, the school is sharing the framework’s aims and workings with parents. “BY DESIGN allows us to constantly look for and create opportunities, and to tailor programs year-to-year,” Kate says. “It’s a very dynamic way of looking at learning.”


Camberwell Girls Grammar School is committed to fostering the education of young women. At CGGS, girls enjoy not only equal […]

  • 03 9813 1166
©2022 UMCO. All rights reserved