• 20 December 2022

Head of Middle School receives prestigious Fellowship

Marsden is thrilled to announce that Dianne Smith, Head of Middle School, has been selected to participate in The Global Action Research Collaborative on Girls’ Education (GARC) for 2023.  The GARC, a partnership of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (US), Girls’ Schools Association (UK), Girls’ Day School Trust (UK) and other participating organisations, is “the world’s first action research program that engages girls’ school educators from around the world in informed, collaborative, and disciplined, action research. The program builds both a network of girls’ school educators from around the world and a library of valuable and relevant research on girls’ education.”


Selected as one of 30 Fellows from around the world, Dianne will participate in an 18-month program culminating in a presentation of her research findings at the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools Annual Conference in June 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The 2023-2024 Research Topic is “Engaging the Power of Many Voices: Leveraging girls’ collaborative spirit toward courageous and joyful learning”.


Dianne’s research will examine the impact and effectiveness of the new Te Kākano programme being introduced at Marsden in 2023. Te Kākano (Seed), is an adventurous life skills programme for Years 7 to 10, which will provide students with the opportunity to build their confidence as leaders in their community and enhance their sense of connection and belonging. 

I am genuinely excited and challenged by the prospect of being a dedicated learner again.
Dianne Smith, Head of Middle School, 2022

Dianne and her cohort will be asking questions such as how can we as educators find ways to encourage learners to work together to produce meaningful and authentic learning outcomes? How do we support learners to become comfortable taking risks as they work together to achieve common goals? How can we support students to develop problem solving skills which help them to function as active learners?

In 2019 Marsden’s Academic Director Margaret Adeane was selected to participate in the pilot program and says, “The GARC experience was an enriching and challenging time for me as I worked on my research project over a period of 18 months. It was a unique opportunity to be supported by a cohort of lively and committed fellow researchers from around the world, backed up by the rigour, guidance and generosity of the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools. It’s a great organisation to be part of.”