Rais­ing ed­u­ca­tion achieve­ment lev­els

Clutha Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY-JO TOHILL

South Otago ed­u­ca­tors are work­ing to­gether to raise stu­dent achieve­ment in lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy.

Formed six months ago, the Big River Clus­ter Ka¯hui Ako Com­mu­nity of Learn­ing met in Bal­clutha last week to iden­tify and raise ed­u­ca­tion achieve­ment ‘‘chal­lenges’’, in the ar­eas of writ­ing, math­e­mat­ics, science and Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate of Ed­u­ca­tional Achieve­ment - NCEA.

About 100 teach­ers, along with prin­ci­pals from the sec­ondary, pri­mary and early child­hood sec­tors, were in­volved in the two­day work­shop held at the South Otago Town and Coun­try Club. They came from South Otago High School, Rose­bank, Clutha Val­ley, Kai­tan­gata, Clin­ton Rom­a­hapa, Warepa, St Joseph’s, Wairewa South, Stir­ling and Ta­hakopa pri­mary schools, and all the dis­trict’s kinder­gartens and early child­hood cen­tres.

Na­tional Stan­dards data find­ings show schools where they could be do­ing bet­ter, Big River Clus­ter Ka¯hui Ako ex­ec­u­tive leader and Bal­clutha Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Paddy Ford, said.

Spe­cific ar­eas for im­prove­ment in­cluded Maori pupils’ achieve­ment, boys’ writ­ing, year 6, 7 and 8 maths, science at all lev­els across the clus­ter, and get­ting more NCEA stu­dents achiev- ing mer­its in level two.

The clus­ter had em­ployed two ‘‘across school’’ teach­ers to work two days a week, and more plans were afoot to raise stu­dent achieve­ment.

‘‘This term we will ap­point 10 ‘within school’ teach­ers who are re­leased for two hours a week to work on the chal­lenges,’’ Ford said.

‘‘The idea is to share ex­per­tise that we have within our own dis­trict.’’

Mil­ton and the Clutha Dis­trict area schools had formed their own learn­ing clus­ters.

Auckland-based pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment com­pany Vi­sion Ed­u­ca­tion has been con­tracted by the min­istry to fa­cil­i­tate the Big River clus­ter’s aims and ob­jec­tives.

Vi­sion Ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor Dr Ali­son Davis, who at­tended the Bal­clutha work­shops, said clus­ters were all about teacher col­lab­o­ra­tion and iden­ti­fy­ing ar­eas of need, for in­stance writ­ing, which cov­ered any­thing from hand-writ­ing to com­put­er­writ­ing.

‘‘It doesn’t mat­ter where that child is, so long as they’re be­ing sup­ported be­cause of a col­lec­tive knowl­edge of learn­ing.’’

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