A School For Tomorrow

the pathway to excellence

What is The Pathway to Excellence? The Pathway to Excellence is a model for human development that has purpose at its heart. It is about how we grow in the character and competencies we need to thrive in our world as good people, future builders, continuous learners and unlearners, solution architects, responsible citizens, and team creators. As we ask and answer fundamental questions, we build the adaptive expertise and self-efficacy to encounter success in how we learn, live, lead, and work on our journeys of discovery towards character. 


We live in a rapidly changing world. Everyday life means living through complexity, being ready for the things that life throws at us, and enjoying the good fortune with which we are blessed. There is a volume, pace, and intensity to our times that mean we need to be in a position to respond to change readily and willingly. This means that all of us need to be able to muster our dispositions, capacity and the whole of our being to meet these challenges and to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to us. 

We need to pursue a journey of inquiry in search of meaning and the discovery of truth and relevance: The Pathway To Excellence. The journey helps us to:

    • Learn the self-awareness of knowing ourselves through asking: who am I? 
    • Live in relationships built by earning our places through asking: where do I fit in? 
    • Lead as a servant who goes on a journey from me to you to us through asking the question: how can I best serve others? 
    • Work vocationally and find our calling by asking the question: whose am I? 

The Pathway To Excellence, therefore, is about growing in the character and competencies we need to thrive in our world. It is also about how we build the adaptive expertise and self-efficacy to experience success – progress and wellness on our journeys of discovery. 

Character is the way we live life. Do we belong? Are we fulfilling our potential? Are we doing what is good and right? These are powerful questions we ask about our civic, performance and moral character. Sometimes to answer them we search deep and discover an inner sense of who we are, and who we may become; this is our mark as a person. Other times, we try to fulfil the expectations of others; this is our measure as a person. And so, through the course of our lives, as we express the civic character of belonging, the performance character of fulfilling potential and the moral character of doing what is good and right, we wrestle. We wrestle with both leaving a mark and measuring up. This is how we form character. This is how we show who we have been, and who we are becoming.

“The journey of learning towards character needs to connect us to the essential questions that we all have and point us towards a way to find answers to them. The power of this inquiry to help us all to live better lives, to help us feel as though we are making a difference in the world, to help us to know that we are getting somewhere, must be sourced in the message we use to talk about it. It must be so significant, so rich, and perhaps even so disruptive of our frames of mind, that it compels us to sit up and take notice. It must force us to want to do something about it. It must make us commit to finding our way on The Pathway To Excellence.” 

Dr Philip SA Cummins 

Competency is the capacity to demonstrate how one has grown in character. It deliberately and simultaneously asks one to know, to do, to be, and to learn. When competency is achieved, the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and learning habits that are cultivated during the social and educational processes we experience are demonstrated in our values, our actions, and the outcomes we demonstrate. In short, our civic, performance and moral character is revealed in how we learn, live, lead, and work. 

Thriving means human beings applying their character and competency to experience success in a world that needs them to: 

    • Have the integrity to lead meaningful lives as good people. 
    • Have the ability to manage complexity with authenticity as future builders. 
    • Grow and transform themselves as continuous learners and unlearners. 
    • Provide sustainable direction to the world as solution architects. 
    • Balance the local, the regional, and the global with perspective as responsible citizens. 
    • Work well in relationship with others, to bring success and fulfilment for all of us as team creators.

Adaptive expertise means human beings growing in character and competencies and using these to solve known and new problems. It is, in essence, our commitment to growth. Self-efficacy means human beings organising themselves and their learning, living, leadership and work to optimise their character and competencies so that they can thrive in their world. It is our capacity to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. 

Success means progress and wellness on our pathways to excellence. Progress is defined by the growth, motivation, engagement, achievement, and qualification of a person in each of their competencies. These concepts are connected intimately with each other; inherent in this connectedness is the measurement of a person’s progress according to growth in mastery of competencies, organisation of one’s life around these competencies, and a sense of thriving in the world through these competencies. Wellness is how we experience health and happiness in the world. Our wellness (or how well we feel) is influenced by our health – physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual, our satisfaction with the lives we are leading, and the sense of purpose and connectedness we have. Our character is directly affected by our wellness; how well we are is so very important to how we live our lives and who we are becoming through all of our social relationships and educational experiences on our pathways to excellence. 

Our schools and places of education all have a role to play in this process. The Way is a research-driven and evidence-based approach to building a fit for purpose school that helps students to grow in the character and competencies of learning, living, leading and work that they need to thrive in our world. To this end, the leaders of our educational institutions need to be Game Changers, those brave pioneers whose innovative ideas are shaping the landscape of 21C schooling. They don’t wait for permission. They are courageous enough through their leadership to make real change in their learning communities as they foster the growth of each young person in their care and equip them with the necessary character, confidence, and competencies to flourish in a new world environment. This is why a School for tomorrow. exists. We want to promote the qualities of adaptive expertise and self-efficacy required for us to develop the character and competencies to thrive in this world and to experience progress and wellness on our pathways to excellence. 

To achieve success on The Pathway To Excellence, we don’t need to be perfect or even exceptional. We need to be committed to growth and to being the best version of ourselves that we can be. We need to know what we are learning – aspiration. We need to go on a journey of encounter, connection, challenge, and discovery to acquire character and competencies – experience. We need to collaborate with our teachers, mentors and experts as the co-authors of the narrative of our learning journey – agency. We need to discover our own identity and how best to express it through our learning and relationships – voice. And we need to be provided with the time, support, and conditions that will help us to make the most of our learning – resource. If all things are as they ought to be, our strengths will come to the fore in our learning, living, leading and working. This will allow us to both leave our mark and to measure up in terms of our sense of belonging, the fulfilment of our potential, and our propensity to do that which is good and right. And we will also have passed on what we have found along the way to others. 

In the end, we believe that everyone can and should commit to a journey of discovery on The Pathway to Excellence that requires them to build the character and competencies to: 

    1. Learn: Learning is about answering the question “Who am I?” Learning well helps us to become stronger in all of the facets of our lives and apply these strengths to realising an evolving and increasingly selfless reason for doing what we do. Learning, therefore, is about the quest towards self-awareness that fosters a sense of “Our Purpose” through curiosity and wisdom and to meet the expectation to "Know ourselves”. 
    2. Live: Living is about answering the question “Where do I fit in?” Living well helps us to understand and respect ourselves and each other, and the language, customs, honourable traditions, rituals, and values of the people and places from which we have come and to where we are going. Living, therefore, is the search for relationship that helps us to appreciate “Our People” and “Our Place” with humility and gratitude and to meet the expectation to "Earn our place". 
    3. Lead: Leading is about answering the question “How can I best serve others?” Leading well begins with who we are, flows into who we want to become and is demonstrated through deliberate, targeted, and intentional action that aligns vision with intention and means to direct, motivate, influence, and inspire others to achieve willingly a preferred future for us all. Leading, therefore, is about the challenge of service that helps us to locate “Our Practice” within courage and compassion and to meet the expectation to "Go on a journey from me to you to us". 
    4. Work: Working is about answering the question “Whose am I?” Working well is about building around us a supportive network of people for and with whom our sense of belonging, potential, and propensity to that which is good and right in our lives might find a meaningful home. Working, therefore, is about the discovery of commitment that helps us to connect “Our Purpose”, “Our People”, “Our Place” and “Our Practice” through vocation and diligence and to meet the expectation to "Find our calling".