Kōkiri 26 – Te Taitokerau: Engaging Communities for Education

Published in Kōkiri 26, Ngahuru - Autumn 2012

Te Puni Kōkiri continues to support the Engaging Taitamariki in Learning (ETL) strategy, most recently enabling Ngāti Hine Health Trust to employ a Strategic Facilitator.

Turi Te Hira (Te Rarawa) was appointed to the role of Strategic Facilitator, making him responsible for ensuring schools and communities between Warkworth in the south, and Kaitaia in the North ‘are engaged’.

“My role is to strengthen schools’ relationships with their communities, ensuring there is on-going dialogue between the two,” Turi said. “I listen to what the communities tell me they need from their schools, and what the schools need from their communities, so both can make good on their obligations to our young people and whānau.”

Turi engages with school administrators, senior management, staff, students and boards on tailored community-led projects intended to provide schools and communities with a fresh perspective on how to improve student engagement and learning successes.

Since his appointment in February 2012, Turi has visited 19 of 24 secondary schools involved in the ETL Strategy in Te Taitokerau.

ETL is a collaborative approach between government agencies, iwi, schools and community groups to improve education outcomes for Māori in Northland. When the ETL was initiated in 2006, only 37.2 per cent of Māori students in Northland achieved NCEA Level 2. In 2011, 24 secondary schools with more than 5,000 Māori students have made a commitment to the strategy by helping to improve Māori students’ educational achievement rates.

The ETL strategy has three work streams: Te Ako o Ngā Taitamariki, The School-Community Interface, Tama Tū Tama Ora, Personalised Learning Pathways for Māori Boys and Te Mana o Ngā Taitamariki, Identity, Sport, Culture and Leadership. Turi’s mahi as Strategic Facilitator contributes to the Te Ako o Ngā Taitamariki work stream.

Turi is also Regional Broker for Tai Tokerau Trade Academy (TTTA), a regional initiative which Te Puni Kōkiri has supported for the past six years. Last year the TTTA was accepted as a Ministry of Education Trade Academy. Trade Training contributes to the Tama Tū Tama Ora work stream by providing practical pathways for Māori, particularly Māori boys.

Both of Turi’s roles are part time. Te Taitokerau Regional Director Walter Wells says Turi was critical to the development and success of the Trade Academy, and he is confident that Turi’s experience, knowledge and existing relationships with secondary school principals will result in successes for the Strategic Facilitator role and the goals of the ETL strategy.

Tai Tokerau Trades Academy delivers tertiary programmes to secondary students, across a growing range of trade and technology pathways including carpentry, hospitality, agriculture, horticulture, aviation, mechanical and automotive engineering, at six schools.

“The ETL strategy sets a goal for Te Taitokerau secondary schools to ensure 75% of Māori students achieve NCEA Level 2 by 2013. This goal is achievable - in 2011 the participation achievement rate was 73%. We expect at least 75% of Māori leave school with a minimum NCEA Level 2 qualification, if not more,” Walter says.

The Engaging Taitamariki in Learning strategy is built on three work streams:

Te Ako o Ngā Taitamariki: The School-Community Interface – where schools (boards, principals, teachers and students) and communities (whānau, hapū, iwi, industry, Non-Government Organisations) will be expected to collaborate on local initiatives to engage taitamariki in schools and lift educational attainment.

Tama Tū Tama Ora, Personalised Learning Pathways for Māori Boys – where whānau, communities, schools, industry and government collaborate to facilitate taitama (Māori boys) engagement in learning between and during the key transition steps from school, to work, training and study. Much of this work stream will initially focus on the existing Youth Transition Services, trade training and getting Māori boys into work.

Te Mana o Ngā Taitamariki - Identity, Sport, Culture and Leadership – where taitamariki are engaged in learning social, cultural and physical skills through participation in relevant and contemporary outside activities such as sports, kapa haka, leadership and mentoring. Te Mana o Ngā Taitamariki is about opportunities to gain confidence in learning outside the classroom, and validating these experiences in school or other formal learning instruments.

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