The Round — transition to tertiary


Students and staff at Ivanhoe Grammar School Plenty Campus started 2016 in a ground-breaking new facility, which has been designed to cater for the needs of senior students as they transition to tertiary education.

After more than 16 months of construction, Ivanhoe Grammar School’s The Round opened its doors to excited students and teachers at the beginning of 2016. The school was honoured to have the building officially opened by the Governor of Victoria, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AM, on Tuesday, 22 March.

The building has been designed to meet the specific learning needs of Years 10, 11 and 12 students as they prepare for tertiary education and move to more independent learning.

Deputy principal/head of Plenty campus, Mrs Deborah Sukarna, and a team of teachers researched how buildings could influence and support innovative, collaborative teaching methods and worked with the architect McBride Charles Ryan to design a flexible and inviting learning space. In particular, exemplary science spaces were visited and researched, which influenced the outcomes of the design of the laboratories and associated preparation areas.

“We are absolutely thrilled with our Senior Years and Science Centre,” says Mrs Sukarna. “Underpinning the learning spaces is a clearly defined pedagogy for teaching and learning that is reflected in current educational research. Classrooms are modelled on tertiary settings, allowing for flexible and collaborative learning spaces with small breakout areas for private study and social hubs.

“It has been wonderful to see our students and staff using The Round, in myriad ways. From a Year 12 Biology or Prep Science class, in the new cutting-edge Science precinct, to impromptu concerts being held in the central courtyard, this centre truly has something for everyone. Learning spaces are interconnected and the classroom design and new technology engages our students in innovative learning that reflects life beyond Ivanhoe.”

The Round is situated in the heart of the Plenty campus and its circular shape reflects the school’s original masterplan. Rather than just adopting a circular pattern, the architects overlaid angular geometry to define the central courtyards and light wells and the multitude of learning spaces. This allowed transparency into and between the spaces, interconnectivity of learning areas and multiple use. This flexible layout and bold design encourages further collaboration between teachers and students and facilitates classroom discussion.

Upstairs is the Science Precinct incorporating Physics, Chemistry and Biology laboratories, Primary and Middle Years laboratory and central preparation area as well as the specifically designed room for the teaching of Psychology. Science staff are located in the middle of this precinct to allow for ease of access by students and collaboration between teachers.

Each of the Science laboratories has been designed with their specific requirements in mind. The Physics laboratory has a long bench space that can easily facilitate motion and other experiments. The Biology room has a collaborative horseshoe-shaped design which allows for flexibility of use for either practical teaching or theory. The Chemistry laboratory is adjacent to the classroom so students move easily between theory and practical lessons.

Downstairs are the multi-purpose classrooms, all organised and interconnected to allow for a huge variety of teaching and learning and with the latest learning technologies seamlessly integrated throughout. In addition to the new classrooms, there are breakout and private study areas which Senior students regularly make use of. The central courtyard or hub of the building allows for outdoor passive recreation for students and is also the venue for informal lunchtime concerts and events.

This outstanding 21st-century building was built by Building Engineering Pty Ltd. “The building has been influenced by learning spaces developed at universities and is one of the most modern facilities provided for Years 10 to 12 anywhere,” says property manager, John Atherton.

The feedback from staff and students has also been wonderful. “It feels like a university,” says Year 10 student Max. “I love the natural light, the private study spaces, and the labs are like what they have at Melbourne University.”

Staff have been equally enthusiastic. “The integrated technology is magnificent and the breakout spaces and social hubs encourage teaching moving effortlessly between indoors and out,” they say. “The students have adapted effortlessly to the new building; they are using the breakout areas and social spaces really well and they are comfortable in the centre.”

This vibrant building has already enhanced student learning and has provided inspiration to the whole school.


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