Vision Tour 2017: ‘Meet the Disruptors’

On the SCIL Vision Tour this year we will meet the disruptors: those educators and innovators who have decided to ‘break’ existing paradigms and rethink the future. When people question ‘why?’, they say ‘why not?’

  • Why can’t school students publish academic science research?
  • Why can’t schools in challenging communities make a tangible difference to the futures of their students?
  • Why can’t walls be taken down, and stay down?
  • Why would we let our city’s past define its future?
  • Why do we need to design schools that look like schools?
  • Why can’t they look like a cool co-working space?

SVT 2017 will be spending some time in the UK, greater London and in the Midlands. The tour will visit schools and innovative spaces in Barcelona, Copenhagen and Gothenburg, and for the first time, Berlin – a city of much disruption throughout its history.

Berlin’s story goes back to the 13th Century, the Prussian capital. At the beginning of the 20th century it was known for leadership in science, arts, humanities, music and education. The city played a significant role in world conflicts, suffering significant destruction at the end of WW2. Most famously, Berlin became the symbol of the East and West, dividing the city and the nation.

These events have played out across the city and there are many opportunities to see how the past has shaped the future. Today, Berlin is a city of innovation, creativity and energy. The focus while in Berlin will not only be on its history and education, but the entrepreneurial thinking that is driving Berlin in the 21st century.

The details of the 2017 SCIL Vision Tour are currently being confirmed. We will meet with some old friends and introduce you to some new ones.



London and the Midlands

Starting the adventure in London

We often conclude the tour in London, but in 2017, it's where we start. It's a full day, visiting two wonderful schools in Surrey.

West Thornton Primary Academy is in Croydon, a school in the Synaptic Trust.  “We want to engage pupils to become skilled and self motivated, lifelong learners, through an enjoyable, memorable curriculum.”

Located in an older style building, the leadership team are transforming the school to meet the needs of today's learners. The school serves a culturally diverse community, describes by Ofsted as being "an outstanding school where pupils benefit greatly from the school's highly inclusive an happy ethos." WTPA wants to create opportunities for dreamers, idea makers and innovators and are designing the physical spaces to provide the environment for this to occur, walls are no barriers to learning. WTPA is also a 'teaching school', providing a professional development program for re-service and in-service teachers. 

Stanley Park High School is a comprehensive high school with a big vision to inspire learning in a way that fosters curiosity, confidence and initiative. They believe that learning is a social activity so there is a strong focus on building relationships across the community. In 2016 SPHS won the top education award as TES Secondary School of the year for the focus on igniting student's passion for learning. The school commenced in 2012 offering a personalised approach to learning, in a flexible and collaborative learning environment. 

The school is part of the Human Scale Movement, promoting schools where young people are known and valued as individuals. Head teacher, David Taylor is the Chair of HSE and leads the school based on these principals and practices. 

Prof Becky Parker, Institute for Research In Schools (IRIS)

This year we meet Becky at Tapton School in Sheffield. Tapton School sixth form students have been carrying out scientific research in the school laboratories since 2012. An example of their research has been to use the zebrafish model organism to identify novel molecular and genetic mechanisms in cardiovascular disease. Tapton School has 1,700 students, including a Sixth Form of around 500, situated close to the Peak District National Park.

For several years Becky has been disrupting thinking around school students and scientific research, with mind-blowing results. Each SCIL VIsion Tour has met up with Becky, either at Langton Grammar School in Kent, the British Science Museum, and now at Tapton School She is a passionate advocate of science to young people.

Carl Jarvis, Hartsholme Academy

From ‘Special Measures’ in 2008 to ‘Outstanding’ in two years. Carl initiated a radical restructure and development program, with the school consistently achieving in the top 5% of all schools. The success of the school’s transformation rests on a deep commitment to using real life experiences with learning rigour to build and sustain learner engagement. Carl hasn’t been on this journey alone,  has travelled it with the same staff as when Hartsholme was in special measures; the same staff who now teach outstanding lessons.

He founded the Eos Teaching School Alliance, comprised of schools around the world, creating synergy with other schools and challenging the system to develop bespoke solutions for young people leading to outstanding outcomes for their future in the 21st Century and beyond.’

Read more about Hartsholme Academy:



Col.legi Montserrat and the innovative Sisters who lead the way.

Since 2012 we have been visiting Col.legi Montserrat in Barcelona. The school has embraced the multiple intelligences theory and has welcomed Professor Howard Gardner a number of times. On his last visit in 2016, he said to the students, “You are attending a very special school which is known and admired all over the world.”

There are more than 1000 students from 0 to 18 years, offering IB in the final years. It was founded by the congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth in1926. The sisters who lead the school are some of the most forward thinking educators we have met.

The school is committed to providing a global education, providing students with the tools they need for “physical, intellectual, spiritual and social excellence”.



The Scandinavian Design Capital

The SCIL Vision Tour regularly visits Copenhagen, as it represents well thought-through, quality design. We work closely with our local host, Jens Guldbaek and his daughter Mie Guldbaek Brons of consultancy to plan our time in Copenhagen. We may even cross The Bridge and see what’s happening in nearby Malmo.




We will visit our new friends at Fridaskolan, a group of five ‘free schools’ in the Gothenburg region of Sweden. The philosophy of the schools is about the adventure of life, their vision translated as ‘Educating Backpackers’ - those who choose to see life as a self-initiated journey, taking up opportunities along the way.

The first school commenced in 1993, using proven experience in research to develop a positive learning environments. Student health and wellbeing is a priority and Fridaskolan is known for the quality of the food served to students. The school restaurants have been awarded for their sustainability principles.



A day with Bea

Our host in Berlin is Bea Beste, founder of playDUcation, merging play and learning and founder of Phorms, a chain of bilingual k-12 schools in Germany. Bea is well-connected in the education and entrepreneurial/start-up scene in Berlin. We are working with Bea to plan the day’s adventure in berlin and are excited to see what she comes up with while we are there.

(TBC) Evangelischen Schule Berlin, no grades, no timetables, turning teaching upside down.

Beta Haus - co-working space

Your Hosts

Join Stephen Harris and Anne Knock for the 2017 SCIL Vision Tour. For the past few years Stephen and Anne have hosted international study tours, taking school principals, system administrators and architects to visit schools, universities, libraries, museums and other places of learning and work. 

Stephen is the principal of Northern Beaches Christian School, which has been described as one of the most innovative schools in the world. He is in demand as a conference speaker and consultant on rethinking school for this and future generations. 

Anne is the Director of Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL), the professional learning centre at NBCS. She works with schools in Australia and around the world who are seeking to learn from the innovative learning, school design and culture. 

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General Information

Tour groups are usually between 10-12 people. All tour costs are included, between the start and finish date. This includes quality accommodation and breakfasts, travel and transfers, activities and professional inputs, as well as several dinners and lunches as specified in the final itinerary, other meals are at own expense./

Types of registration:

  1. Single full participant
    Solo traveller, own room
  2. Double/twin full participant
    Partners or colleagues travelling as full participants, sharing double or twin room. Registration fee is for each person.
  3. Non-participating partner
    Enabling partners to travel, but not participating in the daily activities. This rate covers all travel between start and end date, shared accommodation with breakfast and dinners, as specified in the itinerary
  4. Part-time participant
    If space exists on the tour, participants may be able to join for the first or second week of the tour. This option will only be available after 1 July and dependent on places available. Above options are available and cost is will be determined at the time.

The Details


Sunday 1 October - Friday 13 October, 2017


A generous budget is allocated for accommodation & within currency fluctuations 4-star standard of hotels are sought.


All tour related transport is included in the cost of the tour (flights between tour destinations)


All breakfasts are included with hotel bookings. Some dinners and lunches as specified in final itinerary. All other meals are the participants own expense.

Dietary requirements may not always be accommodated. Affected participants are advised to bring some snacks.


Earlybird registration (before Friday 23 June, 2017)
Single full participant: $8,900 per person
 ↳ Non-participating partner: +$2750 per person
Double full participant: $7200 per person

Full Registration (after Friday 23 June, 2017)
Single full participant: $9,300 per person
 ↳ Non-participating partner: +$2,750 per person
Double/twin full participant: $7,800 per person

Please note: The trip is confirmed once the registration and payments have reached minimum numbers. No GST applies.

The itinerary is currently being produced and may be subject to change due to unforeseen events and unfavourable transport connections.



Important Information


  • Travel outside the dates of the tour - to and from your home city.
  • Dinners and lunches not specified in the itinerary.
  • Personal travel insurance (essential).
  • Personal items.

Other Considerations:

  • Participants are required to manage their own luggage.
  • There may be days with considerable walking.
  • Dress code is smart casual.
  • Visas aren't required for Australians travelling to Europe.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance is compulsory.
  • Participants should show more than 6 months on the expiry of passports.

To express your interest, please get in touch via