Your article on Small Stories and the Porirua Alternative School set up in the 1980s prompted me to respond by congratulating Lloyd Martin and his wife for their dedication and tenacity in providing educational services and guidance to our local youth over the past 20-plus years.
They have given their all to take the disaffected, cast-out students from our schools and helped to turn their lives around by fostering self-belief, as well as trust in their mentors and their own abilities to achieve educationally. Kei te mihi whanui atu ki a raoa!
Unfortunately, most of our schools are locked into a system whereby students are placed in single-aged cohorts from their infant years to the end of their secondary schooling.
In other words, they are forced into a competitive environment from age five to 15. As a result we get a few winners and many losers.
It’s the latter who end up with the Lloyd Martins of society if they are lucky. Many, however, turn to crime as a form of retribution against a society that created their anti-social status.
I believe that schools should organise all their students into multi-aged groupings to help them to appreciate and enjoy the concept of an extended family where cooperation and collaboration replaces the competitive, dog-eat-dog ethic.
Teachers would then have to concentrate on thorough planning to ensure quality learning takes place rather than on lecturing from the front of the classroom.
In due course there will be no need for alternative schooling options. DICK GRACE, Plimmerton.
Dredging advocate Jenny Brash, our former mayor, has been right all along. Harbour ‘‘restoration’’ is the published headline, but that’s not part of the programme.
The rest is a patch-up job dealing with immediate problems within the surrounding catchment.
We need something better than that.