Principals from West Wallsend High and Canada's West Hill Collegiate Institute share skills

IT’s more than 15,000 kilometres between West Wallsend High and Canada’s West Hill Collegiate Institute, but distance has proved no barrier to their principals exchanging ideas about how to improve their schools and their students’ learning.

West Hill’s Gillian Gibbons recently spent a fortnight at West Wallsend with its principal Fiona Walsh, as part of Leading Educators Around the Planet’s peer shadowing program, which pairs leaders to share innovative classroom practices.

Dr Walsh said both schools had changed their culture; increased focus on science, technology, engineering and maths; seen student performance rise; and valued staff professional development.

“It’s an affirmation of what we’ve been doing, to hear someone else is doing similar things and getting similar results,” Ms Gibbons said.

She said she would bring elements of a course West Wallsend developed for students called Future Focused Inquiry back to Canada.  

Dr Walsh, who said both wanted to “be the best principals we can be”, will visit Ms Gibbons’ new school in September.