Alfriston College is a Decile 3 school in South Auckland, serving a mixed population of Maori, Pacific Islanders, pakeha and other immigrants.
Working with Jeremy Bishop of DMC Comics – interviewed here on Books and Adventures – Alfriston has produced some striking comic book work thanks to a pioneering project that empowers students and gives them a platform for their creative expression.
Today we’re joined by Deputy Head Steve Saville to discuss Alfriston’s work as part of our ongoing feature on comics in New Zealand education.
Set out in the South Auckland suburbs, Alfriston College is determinedly non-traditional – it’s referred to, by critics and fans alike, as “that place where they play music instead of ringing a bell between lessons”. The school’s philosophy is to use the latest research to deliver education for the 21st century. Innovations include a timetable of three 100-minute lessons a day, and termly ‘Three Day Episodes’, when students are given time to work on a self-selected project.
As Deputy Head Steve Saville puts it, ‘We’re trying to cultivate things a little bit outside the box. Authenticity and imagination are our watchwords. Traditional schooling was failing disadvantaged communities, and particularly the Maori, so why use it in a brand-new school?’
A British-born teacher with experience in both schools and universities, Steve arrived at Alfriston four years ago as Deputy Principal with responsibility for curriculum, bringing with him a lifelong comic-book obsession.