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The 4 Ps

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Last updated by Glen

Activity within and among LCO is shown below as the’ 4-Ps’:



Programmes of learning are provided for students who may not
otherwise be able to access them in the school they are attending. These are generally a part of the formal educational provision.
Examples of progammes include:

  • A full year’s programme in a particular subject area (particularly at senior secondary level).
  • Specialist programmes for identified groups of students, (e.g. gifted and talented, extension maths etc.)
  • Specialist tuition or coaching in a certain area, (e.g. music, languages, art, scholarship mentoring.)
  • A block or semester course offered by a tertiary provider as part of a Secondary and Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR), Gateways, or Careers placement.


Projects refer to special interest topics or themes that are usually for a fixed period of time and involving a high level of collaboration. Projects are usually one-off events, and are less formal in terms of organisation and commitment than programmes.
Examples of projects include:

  • Students from several schools collaborating to explore a global issue and find a local solution (e.g. bullying, global warming, urban wastelands etc.).
  • Virtual field trips to areas of interest.
  • Gathering data from a variety of sources to develop big picture trends and patterns (eg water quality, weather patterns, pollution levels).
  • Connecting with authors and illustrators for a virtual ‘book week’.


While much of the attention in planning for LCO development is focused on the needs of students, there are significant opportunities for staff as well to engage in areas of professional learning.
Examples of PL activity may include:

  • Virtual staff meetings with invited experts.
  • Scheduled online PD to develop specific skills or knowledge (e.g. ICT skills or introducing a new assessment method).
  • Participation in national or international PD events, including webinars, online conferences etc..
  • Access to formal qualifications through online providers.
  • On-going mentoring of action- research projects.


At the heart of all activity within an LCO is the active participation of teachers and school leaders that takes
place in and around the three types of activity listed above. The connections that are provided by the online technologies enable a wide range of engagements that would otherwise occur as a part of the face-to-face organisation within a stand-along school, but can now be facilitated among and between schools.
A successful LCO will operate with (among others) the following values of participation:

  • Reciprocity – captures the essence of what an LCO is all about - a relationship of mutual dependence or action or influence.
  • Contribution – understanding that participation is about what can be given to the collective, not simply what can be taken or accessed from it.
  • Respect – maintaining a mutual understanding of the value of others' contributions, demonstrated throughacknowledged use of resources etc.

Types of participation referred to in this area may include:

  • virtual syndicate/department/curriculum meetings – linking staff with common areas of interest where they may be the only ones in their school (eg maths teachers, literacy/ numeracy specialists etc).
  • collaborative planning and resource development.
  • mentoring and support in identified areas of need, including the induction of new principals or senior staff.