Bold new vi­sion

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - FRONT PAGE - SAM KILMIS­TER

A new prin­ci­pal hopes a re­jigged cur­ricu­lum will im­prove her pupils’ achieve­ment rates.

Feild­ing In­ter­me­di­ate pupils have un­til now cho­sen their own learn­ing path, with their classes tar­geted on either phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, sci­ence, arts or aca­demic.

But Di­ane Crate is now broad­en­ing their fo­cus for greater fo­cus on lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy.

While pupils will con­tinue to se­lect their field of study, they will break into ‘‘in­ter­est cen­tres’’ for only half a day. Morn­ing ses­sions will tackle tra­di­tional sub­jects.

Crate, who has been at the helm since term 3, will also in­tro­duce a fit­ness boot­camp for pupils who want to ex­er­cise be­fore school, fol­lowed by a shared meal.

She has also called for a uni­form re­view af­ter meet­ing with teach­ers and pupils fol­low­ing her ar­rival.

The Manawatu¯ school, which has a roll of 350 pupils, was the first in the district to in­tro­duce in­ter­est cen­tres, which were de­signed to cap­i­talise on the pref­er­ences of stu­dents.

While they didn’t match the con­tent of text­books they pro­vided learn­ers with hands-on ed­u­ca­tion that they could pur­sue at their own pace, Crate said.

‘‘High lev­els of en­gage­ment and en­thu­si­asm are present in all classes be­cause teaches work to de­lib­er­ately teach to their stu­dents’ strengths and in­ter­ests.’’

Crate came to Feild­ing from Hamil­ton, where she was the deputy prin­ci­pal at Dean­well School. Be­fore that she was a lit­er­acy ad­vi­sor at the Univer­sity of Waikato.

She is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in Ma¯ori achieve­ment, given Ma¯ ori chil­dren com­prise 30 per cent of the roll.

Many of them are en­rolled in the phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in­ter­est cen­tre, al­low­ing them to use sport­ing con­texts to ex­plore other cur­ricu­lum ar­eas, such as maths and English.

‘‘Some of them would rather I go out and watch them play rugby on a Satur­day than go through their maths book.’’

Gone are the days of stern, scary prin­ci­pals, she said.

Crate en­joyed spend­ing time with pupils, and has been seen com­pet­ing against them in bas­ket­ball and hand­ball com­pe­ti­tions, and even at cross-coun­try. It’s about to­geth­er­ness, she said.

‘‘We’re try­ing to bring on those forged re­la­tion­ships. Learn­ing is more than just English, sci­ence and maths – it’s mak­ing re­la­tion­ships,’’ she said.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Feild­ing In­ter­me­di­ate prin­ci­pal Di­ane Crate hopes a re­jigged cur­ricu­lum will push Feild­ing In­ter­me­di­ate into the 21st cen­tury.

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