Innovation

The World’s Best School Prize for Innovation recognises and celebrates schools that innovate by applying new ideas, tools, or practices that break from tradition in the context of a school to address a challenge which results in a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.

Discover the winning and shortlisted schools leading with innovative teaching, technology use, and unique programmes, setting the standard for future-ready learning.

Top 10 shortlist

Davis Middle School

United States of America

Transforming education through leadership and innovation

Davis Middle School, a state school in Compton, California, USA – a city notorious for its high crime rates and socio-economic challenges – exemplifies transformative education, going from a school afflicted by unruly behaviour to an exemplar of academic excellence and innovation, now serving as a beacon within the community and boasting a student body of 474.

Under Principal Sullivan’s strategic leadership, the school initiated profound changes, including the establishment of a STEM academy. The school's emphasis on Project-Based Learning (PBL) is supported by substantial investments in technology, courtesy of partnerships with Verizon and Digital Promise. These initiatives have equipped every student with an iPad and provided access to five state-of-the-art Verizon labs, complete with virtual reality setups and 3D printers.

The impact of these changes has been substantial. Disciplinary issues have plummeted, with the school witnessing a dramatic shift from frequent conflicts to a harmonious environment enhanced by in-person mental health support and effective conflict resolution programmes. Moreover, innovative incentives like a gaming room and community-centric initiatives such as cooking shows have fostered a strong sense of belonging and active engagement among students and parents alike.

These efforts have not only improved immediate school culture but also led to remarkable academic achievements. Attendance rates have soared, with absenteeism dropping to just 2%, and student performance has climbed from the lowest in the district to top percentile rankings. Even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school's commitment to excellence and community support has continued unabated.

Cultural responsiveness is also key in the school’s curriculum, ensuring it resonates with the diverse backgrounds of the students, thus enhancing engagement and academic performance. Through initiatives like the Mars Habitat Project, recognised in the International Ciena World Challenge, students connect classroom learning with global and local issues, fostering practical and impactful solutions.

Should Davis Middle School win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, the prize money will be invested in expanding its STEM programmes and enhancing its project-based learning initiatives. The funds will also help scale successful models like the Student Tech Team to other schools within the district, broadening the impact of its innovative educational practices.

Colégio Militar de Manaus

Brazil

Pioneering distance education in Brazil's remote areas

Manaus Military School (CMM), a federal school in Manaus, Brazil, excels in providing quality education across remote areas, overcoming geographical and logistical challenges through its innovative distance education programme that ensures educational continuity for children of military personnel stationed in isolated regions or overseas. This initiative bolsters critical thinking and sustainable entrepreneurship, supporting broader educational and developmental goals.

Established in 1972, CMM educates 1,410 students from primary to secondary levels, integrating traditional and digital methodologies to enhance educational access and quality. The leadership at CMM is tailored to merge military discipline with educational innovation, creating a resilient and adaptable academic culture. This is evident in their seamless adoption of new technologies and methods that keep educational content engaging and relevant.

In recognition of its innovative approaches, CMM has received multiple awards, including the Digital Innovation Prize and accolades at national scientific fairs, underscoring its commitment to excellence in e-learning. Additionally, the school has maintained the highest grades among Brazilian military schools, validating its educational quality.

The school’s collaboration with local NGOs and universities enhances its educational outreach, particularly through projects like ""Officina Maker"" which develops systems to measure local air quality. Such initiatives not only benefit the community but also enrich the students' learning experiences.

Should Manaus Military College win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, the prize money would be invested in enhancing its digital infrastructure. This improvement aims to extend educational reach and elevate the quality of learning in even more underserved areas, ensuring no student is left behind due to geographical constraints.

Colegio Valle de Filadelfia

Mexico

Unlocking every child's potential with the Philadelphia Method

Colegio Valle de Filadelfia, an independent kindergarten through secondary school in Aguascalientes, Mexico, pioneers enriching educational experiences that tap into the vast potential of every child. Established in 2004, the school educates 165 students, aiming to address the educational disparities and lack of early reading proficiency in the region. Its model has been replicated in several cities across Mexico and Latin America, currently reaching almost 1,000 students.

The school's motivation stems from a commitment to transform traditional education through the unique "Philadelphia Method", which revolutionises early education with dynamic pedagogies and an ambitious curriculum. The "Philadelphia Method" integrates early reading, physical excellence, arts, music, languages, culture, and global citizenship into its curriculum. By teaching children to read from nursery school using an innovative approach that emphasises comprehension and vocabulary over rote memorisation, the method ensures students become fluent readers by kindergarten, significantly enhancing academic performance. In national tests, 31% of their students rank "outstanding" in Maths and 25% in Reading, compared to national averages of 11% and 6%, respectively.

Founder Elisa Guerra and Principal Sonia Barquin have garnered international recognition for their efforts, including features in global media and prestigious awards like the title of “Best Educator in Latin America” by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Colegio Valle de Filadelfia's holistic approach includes a flipped-classroom programme and extensive community engagement, particularly with vulnerable families, to mitigate educational disparities. The school promotes comprehensive development through activities ranging from triathlons to violin concerts, ensuring students excel both academically and extracurricularly.

Success stories include students gaining admission to top high schools and excelling academically. Esteemed institutions like Tecnológico de Monterrey recognise their graduates for their critical thinking skills and academic excellence. The school’s collaboration with educational publishers, such as Pearson, has resulted in widely used textbooks that support innovative teaching methods.

Should Colegio Valle de Filadelfia win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it plans to invest in technological upgrades and enhance teacher training, further empowering its transformative educational approach.

CM RISE School Vinoba, Ratlam

India

Transforming public education in an urban slum community

G.H.S.S Vinoba Ambedkar Nagar, a state kindergarten through secondary school in Ratlam, India, is a beacon of innovation in public education, originally founded for tribal girls in an urban slum community hesitant to embrace formal education. Facing low enrolment and attendance, alongside severe infrastructural decay, the school’s leadership, rejuvenated in 2021, launched a transformative journey grounded in resilience and empowerment for its 577 students.

The school's response to its challenges is encapsulated in its innovative “Cycle of Growth” model, which fosters continuous professional development for teachers and dynamic engagement for students. This model is pivotal in reversing the school's fortunes, raising attendance from 25% to over 85% and dramatically improving exam pass rates from 29% to 82%. Through a revitalised commitment to community collaboration and local resource utilisation, GHSS Vinoba has made education both relevant and accessible.

Leadership at G.H.S.S Vinoba adopts a distributed model, empowering teachers and engaging parents to cultivate a culture of high expectations and collective responsibility. Innovative practices, such as integrating education with local festivals and hosting early morning sports sessions, have enriched student experiences and outcomes, garnering recognition from local educational authorities, further validating the school’s impact.

Should G.H.S.S Vinoba Ambedkar Nagar win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, the prize money will be channelled into expanding its Learning and Development Lab. This investment will empower students to further engage with and address community challenges through innovative projects, extending its influence beyond the classroom and into the wider community.

Grange School

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Empowering students with autism

Grange School, a state school in Manchester, UK, is at the forefront of special education, dedicated to transforming the lives of children with autism with innovative learning environments like a working farm and a student-operated coffee shop. Established to provide an exemplary educational experience, the school has become a regional leader in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for 262 students. The school’s foundational ethos arose from the community's urgent need for an educational setting that not only understands autism deeply but also transforms these understandings into practical, real-world applications.

With a focus on creating highly tailored learning environments, Grange School’s working farm and a student-operated coffee shop serve as real-world classrooms where students master life skills and vocational training, crucial for their transition into adulthood.

Integral to its mission, the "Know Globes" and "STEAM Factory" are immersive spaces where students explore subjects like science and geography through hands-on activities, enhancing their understanding and engagement. The school’s unique approach has earned an 'Outstanding' Ofsted rating, affirming its effectiveness in meeting the diverse needs of its students.

Leadership at Grange is committed to nurturing a culture of innovation and empathy, continuously evolving its methods to suit each child's learning style. This commitment is supported by the school’s comprehensive professional development programmes for staff, ensuring that its teaching strategies are both inclusive and impactful.

Additional activities, including animal care and STEM challenges, reinforce the curriculum, helping students develop responsibility and problem-solving skills. These programmes have significantly improved student interaction and social skills, demonstrating success in preparing them for meaningful community integration.

Should Grange School win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, the award will be reinvested into expanding the school’s outdoor learning spaces, further enhancing its capacity to provide adaptable and stimulating educational experiences for all its students.

Istituto Guglielmo Marconi Dalmine (Italy)

Italy

Innovating education for tomorrow's challenges

ITI G. Marconi Dalmine, a state secondary school in Dalmine, Italy, is renowned for its unique approach to secondary education, blending technical expertise with innovative learning methodologies to address local economic demands and foster a diverse, skilled workforce. Founded in the mid-seventies, the school has become a bastion for students interested in electronics, electrotechnics, computer science, and more, boasting a high employability rate post-graduation.

Situated in a region with over 1,100 small enterprises, ITI G. Marconi Dalmine embraces the challenge of preparing students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, including immigrants and students with special needs, for the workforce and higher education.

Central to the school's mission is fostering entrepreneurship and STEM capabilities. Initiatives like the #IDEASFORFUTURE Hackathon encourage students to collaborate in diverse teams, tackling real-world problems presented by leading corporations using design thinking principles. This annual event culminates in the Marconi Day festival, showcasing student ingenuity and attracting thousands of attendees, including industry leaders.

The school tracks and measures the long-term success of its graduates through tools like "Edu Scorpio" and "Alma Diploma", which provide insights into employment status and sectors. Notably, many graduates venture into entrepreneurship, with several founding successful startups. Last year, 180 companies participated in the school's Career Day, highlighting the high demand for its students.

Partnerships with universities and business incubators enrich the educational experience. Collaborations with Higher Technical Institutes (ITS) provide specialised programmes in economics, mechanical engineering, and IT. The school's startup incubator has resulted in over 250 projects, including patented innovations like a bladeless drone and an RFID system for non-verbal communication.

Should ITI G. Marconi Dalmine win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it plans to establish a business hub to enhance entrepreneurial education, focusing on inclusivity and addressing gender imbalances in technical fields.

Liceo Bicentenario People Help People de Pilmaiquén

Chile

Hands-on learning for rural empowerment

Liceo Bicentenario People Help People de Pilmaiquén, a state-funded charter school in Puyehue, Chile, is transforming rural education with innovative programmes in Gastronomy and Agriculture to combat the unique challenges faced by its 438 students. Founded in 1989 amidst declining engagement and academic performance, the school has become a beacon of Professional Technical Secondary Education, significantly boosting student readiness for future careers and community involvement.

Responding to a critical need for re-engagement post-pandemic, the school introduced the "PHP Coins" project, a groundbreaking initiative inspired by virtual currencies to foster positive behaviour and enhance coexistence. Attendance rates have risen from 88% to 92% since its implementation, and disciplinary issues have notably decreased, fostering a more engaged and supportive educational environment. This strategic response not only stemmed from a severe need to improve interpersonal relationships and adherence to educational norms but also aimed to revitalise student commitment to their academic and social development.

By integrating hands-on Project-Based Learning (PBL) and early immersion programmes, Liceo Bicentenario facilitates real-world experience and practical application of skills, crucial for students’ professional futures in rural settings. The school's leadership, driven by a mission to foster responsibility and punctuality, is pivotal in cultivating a nurturing environment that aligns with the community’s values and employment needs.

With additional initiatives like entrepreneurship contests and English camps, the school not only prepares students for immediate challenges but also equips them for lifelong success, ensuring that each student can thrive in a global context. These efforts have been instrumental in enhancing the school's role as a transformative educational force in rural Chile, and have led to recognition across educational circles and satisfaction among students and local employers.

Should Liceo Bicentenario People Help People de Pilmaiquén win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, the prize funds will be invested in expanding its innovative practices, further developing PBL initiatives, and incorporating advanced technological tools to better prepare students for the modern world.

Nova Pioneer Tatu City

Kenya

Shaping Africa's future

Nova Pioneer Tatu City, an independent kindergarten through secondary school in Nairobi, Kenya, leads educational innovation in Africa, preparing students with skills in leadership and innovation to shape the future. Established to prepare a burgeoning youthful population for a rapidly changing world, the school has created a dynamic environment where the curriculum and teaching methodologies are specifically designed to enhance students' abilities in critical thinking, ensuring they are well-equipped for modern challenges, and with the view of developing a robust leadership culture among its students.

Recognising that traditional education systems in Africa often fall short in nurturing essential 21st-century skills, Nova Pioneer operates under the guiding philosophy that education must do more than inform; it must transform. This is embodied in the school's commitment to developing the "3 Cs": Character, Capabilities, and Connections, which are critical for students to become innovators and leaders in the African century.

Nova Pioneer's model is a striking departure from conventional schooling, featuring student-led learning experiences and project-based initiatives that ensure young learners are ready to tackle global challenges with local impact. Its internally-developed leadership and innovation programme provides students from preschool through high school with opportunities, and includes a new focus on AI that is being developed in partnership with leading local and global universities.

The school supports this innovative pedagogy with over 100 hours of targeted professional development for educators annually, including peer observations and feedback sessions that promote continuous improvement and skill enhancement, ensuring that teaching methods are as forward-thinking as the curriculum. Nova Pioneer’s culture principles of Always Growing, Joy of Learning, Greater Together and High Expectations underpin its distinctive culture of rigorous and collaborative professional development.

Community engagement is also a cornerstone of the school’s ethos, with students regularly involved in projects that address local needs, thereby cementing the practical application of their studies in real-world scenarios. This approach not only enhances academic performance but also cultivates students' readiness to lead with empathy and integrity. Additionally, it empowers alumni to make a meaningful impact on the broader community, exemplified by initiatives such as the Youth Political Awareness platform, which educates thousands on political issues.

Should Nova Pioneer Tatu City win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, the funds will enable further investment in its educational model, supporting the scale-up of its leadership and AI programmes, and thereby helping it meet its vision of leading positive development in Kenyan education within and beyond its walls.

Starfish School

Thailand

Redefining education for marginalised communities

Starfish School, a charity-funded kindergarten through primary school in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is redefining education for marginalised communities through its "3R Innovation Curriculum" and Makerspace Programme, equipping students with crucial skills in a culturally inclusive environment. Since its founding in 2006, the school has focused on creating equitable learning opportunities for its 234 students, integrating local wisdom with advanced teaching methodologies to ensure inclusivity and empowerment.

Central to Starfish School's innovative approach is the "3R Innovation Curriculum," designed to simplify Thai language learning for non-native speakers and integrate Thaiglish to facilitate English learning. This curriculum, along with the Makerspace Programme, fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills by encouraging self-directed learning through STEAM activities.

Results for programmes like the Maker Space have already received governmental accolades, and have seen success stories like one student developing an air conditioner from local materials, demonstrating practical application of STEM learning. Such projects exemplify the school's commitment to blending modern technology with traditional knowledge, preparing students for future challenges while respecting cultural heritage.

The school’s leadership adheres to the UPRISE framework – Useful, Problem-Solving, Real World, Impactful, Self-Directed, and Experiential learning – ensuring that educational practices are meaningful and impactful. This philosophy has led to collaborations with government and non-government organisations, enhancing the educational impact and earning recognition as a Sandbox School since 2021.

If awarded the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, Starfish School plans to expand the Starfish Learning Hub, enriching community learning and fostering sustainable social entrepreneurship, further cementing its role as a leader in educational innovation.

Trilema Soria

Spain

Innovating education for equity and excellence

Trilema Soria, a partially government-funded independent kindergarten through secondary training school in Soria, Spain, is revolutionising education for vulnerable students with personalised learning and the Rubik Model, dramatically boosting their academic success and confidence. Located in one of Europe’s most depopulated areas with a high percentage families unemployed, the region offers limited opportunities, creating a significant challenge for the school’s 600 students, 40% of whom are non-Spanish, of 32 nationalities. With another 15% having special educational needs, and many coming from social exclusion backgrounds, the school’s mission is to provide educational excellence and equity.

The Rubik Model, named for its multifaceted approach, addresses the specific needs of each student, fostering a personalised learning experience focused on each student. By diagnosing educational needs and implementing targeted interventions, Trilema Soria has significantly improved academic performance, particularly among its vulnerable student population. The school's innovative practices include interdisciplinary project-based learning, Executive Functions pedagogy, and Learning Rotations, Vertical Tutoring and exceptional pastoral care of students and teachers, to improve the autonomy that allows students to work at their own pace and level.

Since the adoption of the Rubik Model in 2016, Trilema Soria has seen a 20% improvement in the learning performance of vulnerable students compared to control groups. The school has maintained a low repeater rate of 2% and reversed an initial trend of low enrollment. These results have garnered recognition, making Trilema Soria a reference point for many other educational institutions and earning accolades from organisations such as UNICEF and the Ashoka Foundation.

Trilema Soria's comprehensive approach extends beyond the classroom. Initiatives like the “En Valor” project empower the entire educational community to become active agents in education for development and global citizenship. Meanwhile, “Fluye” is an ambitious programme to develop healthy habits and emotional wellbeing. The school also supports linguistic immersion for migrant students and provides essential services like a breakfast club and co-teaching during project hours to facilitate personalised learning. Many of their teachers facilitate training for hundreds of educators from more than 15 countries inspiring change around the world. It has created a network of 70 “Escuelas que Aprenden” in Argentina, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Uruguay and Spain.

Should Trilema Soria win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, the prize would enable Trilema Soria to consolidate its educational model, optimise spaces for new income streams, and extend its reach into the community and beyond. The prize money would also fund training and research for educational staff and finance a new academic study on the model's impact and transferability, ensuring the long-term sustainability and scalability of their innovative approach.

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British Vietnamese International School, Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

"Learn One, Know Two": A school’s unique bilingual curriculum builds bridges

The British Vietnamese International School, Ho Chi Minh City (BVIS HCMC), an independent international school in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has achieved groundbreaking results in bilingual learning, as well as on its students’ linguistics, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. The programme, known as Learn One, Know Two, is the first of its kind in Vietnam, and provides a streamlined approach to teaching and learning language, linking learning across both English and Vietnamese to provide one consistent approach.

The programme has achieved impressive results, with steady integration and tracking showing on average a 10% improvement across EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) to Y3 in student attainment and application in phonics from 2017 to 2022. The school has also noted a 30% increase on average across EYFS to Y3 from 2018 to 2022, of students meeting age-related expectations in phonics.

With nine years of development to date and further developments planned going forward, the Learn One, Know Two programme includes specially designed activities, phoneme cards, and phonics reading books created by members of the BVIS HCMC staff in collaboration with an adviser from the University of Pedagogy, Ho Chi Minh City, and a professional illustrator. This level of internal and external collaboration has fostered a sense of unity and common purpose among students, parents, and staff, as well as a sense of ownership and pride in the final product.

Even parents are more engaged, with 100% greater participation in workshops than comparable events. This success, along with praise for innovative practices by the Council of International Schools (CIS) in its recent evaluation in January 2023, has reinforced the already positive culture in the school, where all members of the BVIS HCMC community are invested in the success of the programme and the students it serves.

If BVIS HCMC were to win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, the prize money would be used to purchase Vietnamese and English books for a local school in the Mekong Delta that Year 5 students visited in February 2023. BVIS HCMC has sustainable community partner projects, and this initiative is an example of its commitment to community development, where the aim is to transform the school's small collection of books into an inspiring resource area to encourage local students to read.

Camino School

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Active learning and socio-emotional development: How one school is redefining education in Brazil

Camino School, an independent, trilingual school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is empowering students to reach their full potential with a curriculum that connects with students on a humane level, integrates socio-emotional development, and uses active methodologies. It nurtures well-rounded individuals who are equipped to take on the world.

Camino School was founded in 2020 with the main objective of preparing the students for the real world, and in this it differs widely from the country’s traditional teacher-led approach while still following the Brazilian National Common Core Curriculum. The school's project-based methodologies transform traditional classes into unforgettable learning experiences through expeditions. Students ask questions, present their ideas, experiment, and share their difficulties to solve problems. This active learning approach supports and encourages students to reach their full potential.

At the same time, the integration of socio-emotional development into the curriculum contextualises students' cognitive, social, emotional, and ethical abilities, an approach that helps students develop into well-rounded individuals who can transfer their knowledge to real-life situations. For example, the curriculum is taught in three languages – Portuguese, Spanish, and English – providing students with greater cognitive, cultural, and future economic opportunities.

Of foundational importance was affordability, accessibility, and diversity so as to showcase its model across Brazilian society and show other schools that they too could adopt – and succeed with – Camino School’s approach.

To this end, the school offers a Caminantes Scholarship Programme that supports the integral development of children and young people in their community by contextualising their cognitive, social, emotional, and ethical abilities. Between 20% and 25% of the school’s population are scholarship recipients from indigenous, immigrant, ethnic minority and neurodiverse backgrounds. This emphasises the school’s drive to reduce social fractures, which has included the recent publication of the Handbook for Anti Racist School, available for all.

If Camino School wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it intends to use the prize to continue its efforts in providing an innovative, inclusive, and transformative learning environment for students and making materials and knowledge available to other schools.

Crimson Global Academy

Auckland, New Zealand

Breaking the boundaries of virtual education

Crimson Global Academy, a virtual school founded in Auckland, New Zealand, with students joining live classes from 55 countries around the world, is revolutionising education by embracing innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Recognising the challenges posed by 100% virtual education, the school has designed a comprehensive programme that not only mitigates the shortcomings of virtual learning but also nurtures healthy and thriving student communities. Through a combination of expert educators, cutting-edge technology, and personalised instruction, Crimson Global Academy is redefining the boundaries of online education.

The school’s ability to assemble a team of highly experienced educators and school operators has been instrumental in surpassing the limitations of virtual education and has laid the foundation for its success. Its approach to instruction incorporates weekly live sessions, both group and individual meetings, a virtual badging system to promote engagement, and a community platform that empowers students to take on leadership opportunities. Furthermore, its faculty-led student clubs, in-person meetups, and comprehensive career and university guidance provide a holistic and enriching educational experience.

One of the key innovations is Crimson Global Academy’s flexibility in delivering a mix of group and one-on-one instruction. This flexibility enables students to schedule their studies for maximum productivity, access appropriately challenging courses across subjects without grade-level limitations, and benefit from the expertise of top-tier teachers.

Crimson Global Academy has seen exceptional achievements through its innovative approach. Consistently surpassing global averages, 40% of students achieve a score of 5 on their AP exams, compared to the global average of 12%. Additionally, 45% of students achieve a perfect 9/9 on their IGCSE exams. Such academic results have opened doors for students, with many gaining acceptance into prestigious universities worldwide, including Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge.

This success is particularly noteworthy considering Crimson Global Academy is only three years old, but it is further underscored by a 3rd-place ranking for Online High School in America by Niche.com.

If Crimson Global Academy wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it will use the prize to expand their Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programming. Being a fully virtual institution, it understands the importance of students prioritising their mindset, motivation, and overall mental wellbeing every day, regardless of their social needs. By strengthening their SEL initiatives, it aims to provide enhanced support and resources, enabling students to thrive emotionally, academically, and personally in the virtual learning environment.

Escuela Técnica Roberto Rocca

Campana, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Championing self-directed and personalised learning for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Escuela Técnica Roberto Rocca, an independent secondary school in Campana, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, has been making waves by redesigning its learning spaces and processes to better prepare students for the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As a result of its innovative approach, students score on average up to 44% higher in maths than students in competing schools, and up to 37% higher in reading comprehension. Of its 154 graduates, 84% study a university degree.

Escuela Técnica Roberto Rocca’s innovative curriculum, learning space redesign, and student-centred, experiential teaching process is based on the understanding that the traditional approach to teaching does not work for everyone. In collaboration with Rosan Bosch Studio, the physical redesign was inspired by the High Tech-High school in California and schools in Barcelona, placing the student at the centre of the learning process and enhancing their autonomy.

The school implements Project Based Learning as the main methodology to make students work and learn. Also it created new ways of teaching that bring together different subjects based on real-life problems, questions, and situations. This approach of integrated subjects helps students to learn in a more connected way. Escuela Técnica Roberto Rocca understands that each student is unique and has different needs, interests, and abilities. Students and staff work together to design proposals and plans that take these differences into account and create solutions that are specific to each student. This helps students to grow and develop in a way that is effective, supportive, and more engaged.

In addition, Escuela Técnica Roberto Rocca believes in promoting equal opportunities, and therefore offers a system of scholarships that guarantees admission to school through effort, dedication, commitment, and merit, regardless of the family's socio-economic situation. By ensuring that every student has access to high-quality education, regardless of their background, the school is creating a more equitable society.

The school is part of the Roberto Rocca Technical Schools Network, founded by the Techint Group with the aim of developing quality education, especially technical, in communities where it is present with its industrial centres. Particularly, the Escuela Técnica Roberto Rocca from Campana, Buenos Aires Province, depends on Tenaris, one of the Group’s companies.

If Escuela Técnica Roberto Rocca were to win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the prize to promote equal opportunities for quality technical education by spreading the success of its educational model and providing continuous training and support to educational institutions and professionals in the region. It would also open its facilities as a training centre in cutting-edge technologies, to enhance its training programmes for students from other secondary technical schools in the area.

GEMS Modern Academy

Dubai, UAE

Future-proofing education through innovation: How one school is building the changemakers of tomorrow

GEMS Modern Academy, an independent international school in Dubai, UAE, is shaping the future of education and empowering students to thrive in an ever-evolving world. Having integrated technology and entrepreneurship into its curriculum, the school has seen a 37% year-on-year rise in student participation and national and international collaborations with the likes of DFC, SAP, and Microsoft.

Recognising the need to prepare students for an uncertain future, GEMS Modern Academy introduced a number of technological innovations into its curriculum and practices as early as 2001, to include the region's first online report card system, developed entirely by students and teachers. The school even has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme, through which students from Grade 2 onwards bring their own learning devices.

In 2015-16, after sending teachers to Carnegie Mellon University for training in STEAM and technology integration, the school incorporated the disciplines into classrooms. Also, after partnering with Harvard Project Zero, the school developed thinking routines and a multidisciplinary approach towards innovation, known as the futures curriculum method, which has been adopted by several other schools.

All together, this has led to an entrepreneurial mindset that the school deliberately fosters. Starting in primary school with Unit of Inquiry projects, and moving on to Challenge-Based Learning in middle school and the school’s Prism Project and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme in senior school, GEMS Modern Academy provides what it calls a scaffolded strategy for developing critical thinking, problem-solving, design thinking and a growth mindset.

Along those lines, the school has collaborated with Dubai SME since 2008 on entrepreneurship competitions and has even become a certified Hamdan Incubation Center, raising AED 85,000 to bring student projects to market.

Entrepreneurial success does not rely on technological innovation alone. The traditional student leadership model is now a holacracy-inspired leadership model, distributing authority and decision making, empowering the Student and Innovation Councils. These student-led initiatives have gone on to create a #community constantly exploring emerging technologies like blockchain, AI, and robotics, and their impact on learning, pedagogy, and systems development.

Should GEMS Modern Academy win the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it will prioritise preparing students and educators for the rise of Artificial Intelligence. The plan includes establishing an incubation fund, benefiting both in-house and external student projects. By providing seed money and connecting students with industry experts, the fund aims to empower innovative ideas and offer guidance. GEMS Modern Academy's objective is to support both their school and others seeking similar opportunities.

ISIS Europa

Pomigliano d’Arco, Naples, Italy

Revitalising communities through practical and innovative education

ISIS Europa, a government secondary school in Pomigliano d'Arco, Naples, Italy, is forging a new path for its disadvantaged students and community by adopting  innovative approaches to education and providing the digital skills needed to succeed in today's job market. With a dropout rate that has plummeted from over 20% to near zero, and with 90% of graduates securing employment, this school's approach to education is not just changing lives, it's creating a blueprint for success and integration and it’s fighting ignorance, camorra and all criminal organisations by using the leverage of culture.

ISIS Europa stands in an economically disadvantaged community, where people tend to have little hope in their prospects and a great deal of distrust in public institutions. The school recognised this challenge and developed, among others, the Europa Community Service project to address it, based on a Service Learning didactic approach. The most important programme - the very first in Italy of this kind - has focused on the creation of the new Web Community Professional Commercial Services address, allowing - since 2011 - thousands of students to gain practical experience in creating websites, web apps, and Metaverse apps. In 2016, this programme was adopted by the Italian Education Ministry, making it suitable for all Italian Vocational schools.

This experiential and practical learning approach has contributed to the development of critical thinking, peer learning, and digital communication skills among students. The school also encourages and fosters innovative teaching methods, and is constantly updating its technological equipment and promoting investment in space and technology.

Additionally, the school encourages its students to take part in projects and competitions, which has helped promote integration with other institutions, all over the world. To further develop students’ professional, ethical and personal competencies, the school has developed many websites for the local municipality and for the entire Italian school community, such as “La Memoria rende Liberi www.lamemoriarendeliberi.it” - “Memory makes us Free www.memorymakesusfree.org” about the Holocaust, and metaverse apps like “Isola della Memoria www.isoladellamemoria.it” e “Museo dell’Errore - www.museodellerrore.it. This commitment to promoting educational inclusion, innovation, and ethical and social values has resulted in high levels of student engagement and success.

If ISIS Europa wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it intends to create a web-based educational Metaverse portal that offers new educational activities, not only for students but also for the wider community. Their objective is to bridge the digital divide, promote an entrepreneurial culture, and revitalise local traditions. The prize will be used to design, develop, organise, and manage the Metaverse environment and courses while promoting the entire training and dissemination initiative. Their ultimate goal is to create, promote, and spread culture, using digital and immersive worlds.

Palo Alto High School

Palo Alto, California, US

The school nurturing the next generation of the Fourth Estate

Palo Alto High School (Paly), a public school in Palo Alto, California, US, is pioneering the largest and most dynamic journalism programme in the country, empowering hundreds of students to share their voices and become a guiding light for other student media programmes in the Bay Area and across the country. With historic roots spanning over a century and a cutting-edge Media Arts Center, Paly's relentless pursuit of equitable learning opportunities has cultivated a generation of fearless journalists, poised to reshape the future of storytelling.

The history of Paly's journalism programme makes it one of the oldest in the country. In recent years, the school has actively worked towards creating more equitable learning environments, ensuring that opportunities for growth and achievement are accessible to a broader range of students.

The journalism programme provides a level playing field for students from various backgrounds, offering them an equal chance to explore and develop their journalistic skills while fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment. Much of this takes place in the school’s Media Arts Center, a state-of-the-art facility on campus, which serves as the hub within which students are engaged with a wide range of opportunities including introductory courses in photojournalism, broadcast journalism, and traditional print journalism, leveraging varying student interests and strengths. The atmosphere is often vibrant, with students working on diverse projects and bringing their creative ideas to life.

Paly's commitment to equity extends beyond the student body and encompasses the community as well, and its programme has achieved remarkable recognition at both the local and national levels. In the 2023 Columbia Scholastic Press Association's contest, an unprecedented number of EIGHT Paly publications were recognised as Gold Crown finalists. The large number of publications and areas of focus is another innovative means of creating equitable learning opportunities.

If Palo Alto High School wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, the school plans to expand its outreach to other journalism programmes, helping them launch or improve their existing ones. The school would like to expand its 'NorCal Media Day' programme for area schools and perhaps generate an equivalent experience for advisers and students in the spring.

Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy

Sedgefield, England, UK

INNOVATE to educate: Sedgefield Hardwick’s three-tiered philosophy for character and academic success

Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy, a school in Sedgefield, County Durham, UK and part of Laidlaw Schools Trust, has eradicated traditional, passive learning styles and ignited a wildfire of academic and character success among its students. It has a unique approach of progressively building knowledge and skills in a logical, sequenced manner to create independent learners, and has resulted in consistency, high expectations, and innovative thinking.

In 2013, faced with the consequences of a lack of student engagement, such as absenteeism, low achievement, and parental criticism, Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy implemented the Instil, Inspire, and Innovate philosophy, based on Oliver Wendell Holmes' Three Storey Intellect, to reverse the traditional, teacher-led, passive learning style.

The approach builds knowledge and skills in a logical, sequenced manner. In the first level (Instil), teachers provide the learners with the necessary skills through direct, traditional teaching. Next, students are inspired to use and process that newfound knowledge by showing, telling, and sharing what they know. To facilitate this, the school has invested in 1-to-1 iPad devices. The technology allows students to collaborate with each other, mark their own work, and progress towards being self-directed learners. Teachers can add modelling videos to their presentations, enabling pupils to check back on their iPads to see how to complete a task without the assistance of an adult. Finally, at the Innovate level, pupils self-direct, collaborate, and reflect on their learning.

To embed the programme into their everyday practice, the school revamped its curriculums in Maths and English, and instituted a parallel character curriculum to help build students’ resilience and embrace the risk of failure. The character curriculum includes a student self-assessment that the school triangulates against peer and teacher feedback to create a baseline and progress path for each student.

Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy measures its success not so much in its Outstanding rating by Ofsted, but by its high oversubscription, low student mobility, and the fact that so many families place it as their number one choice for schools during placement requests.

If Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it intends to further develop its character curriculum to be more extensively used in the wider educational community, sharing its innovative methods with other schools to improve pupils' independence, self-directed learning, and collaboration skills.

Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Permai

Bayan Baru, Penang, Malaysia

How one school’s innovation has lightened the physical load and led to improved student wellbeing and performance

Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Permai, a government primary school in Penang, Malaysia, has innovated to ease one of the heaviest burdens its students carry: the weighty bags on their backs that risk their health. Through its ingenious Smart n Easy Table 2.0 (SnET 2.0), which provides additional compartments to desks, including lockers, water bottles and stationery compartments, and bag storage space under each table, the school has seen an increase in homework submissions from 54% to an impressive 91%, along with corresponding school performance, due to improved student wellbeing.

An initial survey  showed that SK Seri Permai  school children’s bags weigh on average 7 to 10 kg, or more than one third of their body weight. This heavy load is actually common to all young children throughout the region and, to put it into perspective, is similar to an 80 kg male having to carry 32 kg on his back every day. To put into perspective, active soldiers  are only expected to carry 27 kg. Add to this that over 65% of SK Seri Permai’s children travel to school on the back of a motorcycle, weaving in and out of heavy traffic, jeopardising their safety.

The school abandoned early options like traditional lockers due to cost and limited space in the classrooms and turned instead to its own workshop to help develop a specialised desk. After several prototypes, the school unveiled the SnET 2.0 desk which, among other features, included lockers for the two student “shifts”, reducing the average bag weight from 10 kg to a mere 2.5 kg, as children only needed to take home the books they needed for their homework. Student performance and motivation immediately soared , with increased engagement and productivity, along with a sense of ownership and pride in their individual space.

If Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Permai wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it aims to share its innovative solution with all primary schools nationwide, creating project blueprint packs, detailing the A to Z of project implementation, and supporting hands-on workshops. Furthermore, it will enable the school to improve the functions and designs of SnET 2.0, catering to evolving student needs. Their goal is to ensure every primary school in Malaysia and other parts of the world who are facing heavy school bags problems implement  SnET 2.0, positively impacting the health, safety, and academic performance of all students.

The Riverside School

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Education for the 21st Century: How The Riverside School's I CAN pedagogy and FIDS programme have transformed education

The Riverside School, an independent international school in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, has gained worldwide recognition for its groundbreaking, student-centric approach to education, particularly through its I CAN pedagogical model and the introduction of the FEEL, IMAGINE, DO, and SHARE (FIDS) programme. By integrating an intentional value system of empathy, ethics, excellence, elevation, and evolution with the academic curriculum, the school has consistently ranked amongst the top 10 schools in India since 2004.

Inspired by the founder’s own son’s academic struggles, Riverside used Design Thinking to develop a school-wide teaching and learning culture of agency, engagement, and creativity. Today, FIDS is also an online training platform used by many schools worldwide and has inspired children worldwide to become changemakers. The platform has reached 2 million children through the Design for Change School, and Riverside has conducted state-wide, remote and in-person workshops to train over 1,000 government school teachers in the FIDS framework and its application in their contexts.

Riverside also has a research and training branch, Riverside Learning Center (RLC). RLC has codified tried and tested 20+ years of I CAN processes and practices to make design thinking in Education and use of FIDS mainstream. The I CAN Platform houses these processes and practices and uses the FIDS framework to explain the pedagogical model’s rationale and impact. It also provides multiple how-to's and videos to share what good practice looks like.

Overall, the Riverside School has had a significant impact on education through its student-centric approach, innovative pedagogical model, and the widespread dissemination of the FIDS programme. By cultivating empathy, creativity, and social responsibility in students, the school has enabled and empowered its pupils to become aware and active citizen leaders of the world.

If The Riverside School wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it intends to use the prize to further the FIDS programme's reach by developing more digital learning content and supporting schools and educators worldwide with research and practice-based resources so that more children graduate with the I CAN Mindset, empowered with the skills to design a more equitable and humane world.

Escuela Emilia Lascar

Peñaflor, Chile

How a school TV channel inspired students during the pandemic

Escuela Emilia Lascar, a school in Peñaflor, Chile, realised it could overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic by harnessing the power of TV to entice its students to focus on their studies.

A large public school that caters to over 1,000 children from Kindergarten to the Primary level, Escuela Emilia Lascar has, in its 80-year history, mostly taught children who come from less privileged backgrounds. Currently 91% of its student population has been categorised as belonging to families that are considered vulnerable. The school had increased its enrollment over the years and the majority of its students go on to graduate from the eighth grade.

But the disruption caused by the pandemic forced the school to re-evaluate how to maintain the same standard of care and education. Due to the scale and technical issues online learning could create, Escuela Emilia Lasca used the power of the small screen to reach its students by launching “Emilia TV” in April 2020. The programme was broadcast live every week, first through Facebook and then on its own YouTube channel. The topics varied, but Emilia TV sought to educate its students on a number of issues that were at the forefront of everyday life such as gender identity and mental health. The content created and published on Emilia TV was a result of a close collaboration between students, teachers, parents and support teams formed to help with the project.

The channel helped foster a space for students and utilised the influence and prominence of social media to become a useful learning tool that provided a fun and playful kind of education. Because of its success, Emilia TV is now used by other schools and was recognised with two national awards for its innovation.

When schools reopened, Escuela Emilia Lascar found the pandemic had stifled the students’ self-esteem. To help re-energise and motivate its students, Escuela Emilia Lascar decided to incorporate Emilia TV in its formal classes, giving students a more invigorating way to engage with their studies.

If Escuela Emilia Lascar were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the money to set up a media studio where students could learn more about media and create their own audio and visual content with the best technology and tools available.

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N High School

Okinawa, Japan

Bringing studies to life through virtual reality

N High School, a correspondence upper secondary school in Okinawa, Japan, immerses students in virtual worlds to bring their studies to life.

Established in 2016, N High School is the largest private school in Japan, with around 20,000 students and 33 satellite campuses in both urban and rural areas. Classes are taught in person and online and lessons not only focus on traditional subjects such as Mathematics and Literature but on AI and machine learning as well. Its students come from a range of backgrounds, encompassing children from higher income to lower income families.

N High School launched its VR programme in 2021 to allow students to enhance their studies from home by using virtual spaces. Students could turn to technology to visit historical sites in distant countries, or take part in otherwise hazardous scientific experiments safely from home.  In their English language studies, Smart Tutor is used to conduct lessons with virtual avatars called “Holosapiens” that converse with pupils and evaluate their performance in fluency, speed and eye contact. Now, about half of the 7,143 classes available in the school are VR-enabled.

In February 2022, the school also launched an interview training programme designed to help students prepare for employment and university entrance exams. The school also partnered with Kinki University, Chuo University and Komazawa University to allow students to experience campus virtually at any time.

If N High School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would consult students on how the money should be spent to improve their education.

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Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang

Kuantan, Malaysia

Building an automated system to track student progress

Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang, a primary school in Kuantan, Malaysia faced twin challenges in 2021. Not only did it have to contend with teaching and tracking student progress in the pandemic, the Ministry of Education’s decision to scrap the end-of-primary test known as UPSR in favour of ongoing, school-based assessment left it unable to access real-time student learning data from which it could inform lesson planning to support all students. Its innovative solution was to create SMARTZOOM, a fully automated tracking system that follows students’ progress in their studies.

SMARTZOOM uses data input on Google Sheets and Google Chrome as all Malaysian teachers have a designated Google account linked to the Ministry of Education. Using that data, staff were able to devise concrete and detailed lesson plans tailored to their specific class. Supporting teachers as well as Panel Heads were given training material in the form of YouTube videos and workshops that helped them with the transition.

The majority of the student population of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang come from the bottom 40% of household incomes in Malaysia. Despite the vulnerability of its students, the school has invoked a strong faith in its ability to educate those who walk through its doors. Since it became a Trust School in 2015, its enrolment rate has increased by 6% or 7% every year.

If Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the funds to improve and expand the capacity of SMARTZOOM and share it with other schools around the country. The money would also be invested in supporting the co-curriculum activities of the school, for instance helping students to continue participating in the national robotics competition.

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Eveline High School

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Giving girls entrepreneurial skills in an ever-changing world

Eveline High School in Zimbabwe caters for girls from all corners of the metropolitan city of Bulawayo, mostly coming from low-income households. Despite limited resources, it has launched an array of often student-led entrepreneurial programmes to prepare its students for the modern world.

The school has been recognised as one of the most progressive girls’ schools in the city, working with a number of local partners and organisations to help expand the experiences of its pupils. Its ethos is to “develop a lady to stand up for themselves in an ever-changing world.” It emphasises a strong entrepreneurial mindset within its students and hopes to produce learners who become leaders in their own right. Seeking to deviate from traditional forms of teaching, the school has worked to ensure that its students are exposed to a range of different opportunities and challenge-based learning and that they develop vital soft skills. It also scaled up its activities to incorporate a centre for talent development which focuses on creative arts such as poetry, drama, art and other programmes that allow students to have a space to address issues in their society.

Its latest project was Nutri-Bar, an organic energy bar, developed by students to address nutrition security among teenagers. The bar was born out of research conducted by students who learned that most teenagers either skip breakfast or tend to eat unhealthier foods. By developing a healthy bar that was enticing to students, the school’s innovation helped contribute to a healthier student body.

St Helen’s School

London, England, United Kingdom

Giving students an Oxbridge learning experience

St Helen’s School, an independent all-girls school in London, United Kingdom has pioneered the use of Nudge theory in education that can be replicated anywhere in the world, at very little cost.

Located in the heart of Northwood in North West London, St Helen’s School prides itself on providing a specialist education that caters to the development of young women. The school encourages its students to take risks and celebrates the virtues of critical thinking and curiosity - best reflected in its ‘Nudge for Learning’ programme.

The school took inspiration from the works of behavioural economists such as Richard Thaler’s ‘Nudge Theory’ - a concept that links positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to influence the decision making of individuals or groups. Through that framework, an educational model based on tutorial learning was created. Every week, a small group of girls come together in a session that is primarily driven by the ideas and independent research of the students themselves.

They are set an academic paper to read where they are required to present their thoughts on the topic to their assigned supervisors. This education ‘nudge’ fosters close bonds between the mentees and mentor that helps provide more of a focus on the needs of each student and tailors to them personally. The school also provides attractive termly academic challenges for all students - from musical composition competitions to philosophy essays, there is something for everyone. Complementary pastoral care through coaching also acts to boost the confidence of its female students, nurturing their talent and helping them to become reflective and deep thinkers. Crucial to such success is working with parents to bring them on board with timely and easy access webinars so that they are part of the learning process.

Bolstered by the success of the model and taking note of the disruption caused by COVID, St Helen’s School has grown its outreach programme that sought to help marginalised students with their learning by launching STEM and Arts workshops. As St Helen’s girls have benefitted from mentoring and coaching, they are now passing on those learned skills to their peers in other schools.

If St Helen’s School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the prize money to expand its outreach programme to local partner schools and institutions across the world.

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MCD Co-ed Primary School Lajpat Nagar III

New Delhi, India

Developing parental engagement in low-income communities

MCD Co-ed Primary School Lajpat Nagar III, a primary government school in New Delhi, serves some of the poorest communities in the city. With monthly incomes of under $80, private education is unaffordable and public schools are the only chance for students to receive a quality education. But financial pressures often meant students had to drop out of school to support their families.  MCD Co-ed Primary School Lajpat Nagar III is turning this around. In a typical government school in India, reports show 50% of students from grade 5 cannot read a simple grade 2 text. However, in MCD Co-ed Primary School Lajpat Nagar III, 85% of the students meet or exceed grade-level expectations. Its interventions have seen school enrolment rocket from just nine in 2015 to over 500 today.

The school works closely with parents so they can see first-hand the value of quality education and dispel the stereotype that government school education is inadequate. The school also ensures that first-generation school students can succeed.

This was achieved through a package of interventions to boost enrolment and attainment and engage parents. The school gently encourages parents to enrol their children and it holds visit days for parents to see how students learn. The school works closely with parents to arrange a suitable time and date so that they do not lose out on any wage-earning hours. The school allows parents to observe classrooms, orients them on school values, conducts frequent community visits and other community-based workshops.  Interventions like this ensured that parents could see the value in the education their children are receiving and be appropriately engaged with their children’s learning.

The school has invested in rigorous teacher training, including to support activity-based learning, and has significantly boosted attainment.

MCD Co-ed Primary School Lajpat Nagar III exhibits the values of respect, exploration, achievement, courage and honesty. It promotes inclusivity and equity in learning among a diverse student body.

If MCD Co-ed Primary School Lajpat Nagar III were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the money to support the day-to-day functioning of the school and expand its educational special needs programme.

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Escola Técnica Estadual Professor Agamenon Magalhães

Recife, Brazil

Turning students into social entrepreneurs

Escola Técnica Estadual Professor Agamenon Magalhães (ETEPAM), a secondary school in Recife, Brazil, builds creative gadgets and computer software that address some of the biggest social and environmental issues facing the local community today.

Established in 1928, Escola Técnica Estadual Professor Agamenon Magalhães is considered the country’s first state school. Pursuing a focus in tech, it is an institution that seeks to prepare young students for the future. In order to reduce the rate of dropouts, the school involves itself in developing programmes that encourage entrepreneurialism and the value of social responsibility.

The crowning achievement of this ambition is Life Up, a social entrepreneurship workshop that has given birth to numerous projects that address the community’s most pressing issues. In addition to addressing community problems through the SDG Goals, Life Up aims to develop new skills such as empathy, communication, research, technology in students that make them more prepared for society, reduce dropouts, and propose an interactive and incremental educational setting where students collaboratively build their academic knowledge with a social purpose.

The first project of Life Up sought to tackle waste and prevent scorpions, cockroaches, rats and mosquitos from being attracted to discarded coconut remains by reusing coconut fibres to make ecological bricks. When the community faced landslides during the rainy season, Life Up launched the “Carpet of Life”, a bio blanket that helps reduce water pollution in rivers. Another project was called “Cangame,” a software that helps autistic students in their studies. Since its launch, the software has been used in 23 different countries and has aided autistic students who have struggled with their speech and communication.

Student interest surged in the wake of the Life Up workshop; many who had participated in the project found themselves presenting their work at science fairs and business roundtables.

If Escola Técnica Estadual Professor Agamenon Magalhães were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the funds to expand the Life Up project even further, extending the workshop to indigenous schools in rural areas and education programmes in prisons for teenagers and adults.

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‘I love dyslexia’ EFL School

Athens, Greece

Introducing the 3Dlexia paradigm

'I love dyslexia' EFL school, an independent institution in Athens, Greece, is unique as a highly specialised school teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to dyslexic and SEN students. Seeking to challenge the notion that neurodiversity was a burden, the school went above and beyond to develop specific learning tools and an educational model to empower its students to complete their studies with considerable ease.

The origins of 'I love dyslexia' EFL school started with Ms. Aggeliki Pappa, a specialist in the field who has been recognised by international institutions such as the United Nations for her work.  Pappa didn’t discover she was dyslexic until much later in her adult life - only after her son was diagnosed did she realise why she had struggled in her studies as a child. That epiphany placed her on the path to challenge preconceived notions that dyslexic children couldn’t thrive in English as a foreign and second language like their peers.

In Greece, help for dyslexic students in the country was limited and for dyslexic students who wanted to learn English as a foreign language, even more so.

Pappa managed to develop an entire education model that sought to accommodate the needs of neurodiverse studies by creating the 3Dlexia for English Method and 3Dlexia paradigm that utilises graphs, maps, images and transformative holistic activities to help learners understand concepts like grammar, syntax, phonemic awareness  in the English language as well as develop their whole self. And very quickly, the model began to produce results, with students managing in some cases to outperform their non-dyslexic peers in the time it took to gain their qualifications.

By its 12th year, the school had succeeded in providing thousands of dyslexic students in Greece  and globally the tools needed to learn English despite their neurodiversity.

If 'I love dyslexia' EFL school were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the funds to create the very first digital platform for EFL and dyslexia – providing an inclusive teaching model that instructors could use anywhere in the world.

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Shining Star International School

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Instilling Gratitude, Positivity, Resilience, Grit and Tolerance

Shining Star International School, an independent institution in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has cultivated an environment in which its students are trained to be highly resilient to all forms of mental stress and has been recognised as one of the best schools in Abu Dhabi by Which School Advisor.

Students’ lives are the heart of the school’s work and the school is dedicated to helping them build a future for themselves after they graduate. For this, the school recognises that academic instruction alone is not enough and that outside their work they are likely to face numerous mental and emotional stresses and strains in their lives.

The school set out to strengthen its students’ resilience through Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), with a mental training programme that sought to instil the values of “Gratitude, Positivity, Resilience, Grit and Tolerance”. Alongside traditional studies, teachers are trained to construct their lessons to create situations where students learn to handle pressure. Teachers were trained on how to create challenging situations to develop emotional control on inner negativity within the students while performing teamwork. Usually, one lesson is entirely focused on the Gratitude concept itself, where students are taught to be grateful for what they have in comparison with those less fortunate, and students take modules in moral science and philosophy.  This is then reinforced with reflection sessions, journal writing and assemblies that celebrate students’ contributions and achievements.

If Shining Star International School were to win World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the funds to extend its research in helping children in other countries who have been traumatised by natural disasters and conflicts and help restore the confidence lost through harrowing experiences. It would also use the money to create a programme, free of charge, to train teachers this educational model.

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SVKM’s CNM School

Mumbai, India

Building STEM skills and growing

SVKM's CNM School in Mumbai, India, took up a challenge in 2018 to radically change its curriculum from a conservative content-based approach to one focussed on competency. The new curriculum is centred on STEM skills and a drive for students to learn about and work towards global issues. It paid off: two years later, the school had achieved the NABET Accreditation from the Quality Council of India and was awarded the International Dimension in School Certificate from the British Council in January 2021.

Established in 1997 by Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal, a charitable trust in India, SVKM's CNM School began with just 25 students, one teacher and one support staff. By 2005, the school had enrolled over 3,000 students across eight divisions that taught from kindergarten to the secondary level and had a faculty of 175 teaching staff.

Its new curriculum saw the school launch a ‘Global Outlook’ programme focused on merging STEM skill building and other subjects such as history to help broaden its students' insights on global issues. One event, ‘HI –STEAM’ focused on teaching the history of major discoveries or inventions throughout the ages. SVKM's CNM School also incorporated ‘Laundry Day’, an activity that allowed students to experiment and evaluate how laundry is done across the globe – analysing the different type of stain removers and detergents that could be used, such as Hydrogen Peroxide, ketchup, olive oil or even juice. Another event launched in 2018, called ‘Cutting Edge’, encouraged students to create bags from old dupattas and bedsheets that were eventually sold at a number of events. During COVID the focus shifted towards selling fashion masks on social media platforms. For these efforts, the School Enterprise Challenge awarded them the Gold Level award for Business Plan in March 2022.

If SVKM's CNM School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation it would use the money to extend the Global Outlook programme and compile the data into a resource database that would use expert videos, lesson plans and provide a certificate at the end of the course. This ideally would be shared with teachers all around the world.

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Judging Criteria

The criteria for judging and rating this Prize category are the following:

1. Home & Community Engagement

2. Teaching & Learning

3. Setting & Environment

4. Relevant Technology & Data

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