Ngati Toa principal up to challenge
Kaye Brunton is looking forward to the challenges of her new job.
The new principal at Ngati Toa School replaced the long-serving Louellen Bonallack six weeks ago. She said it has been ‘‘full on’’ since her appointment.
‘‘There’s so much coming at you, but I’m loving it.
‘‘It’s an inclusive community, wonderful staff and gorgeous students. There’s a lovely vibe here,’’ she said.
Brunton worked as an education consultant and university lecturer before seeing the Ngati Toa position advertised.
‘‘I had 30 schools on the books, from Taupo across to Taranaki and down here.
‘‘I was working with the leaders in schools, helping them understand assessments and data and where their focus needed to be.
‘‘So I can appreciate the pitfalls around reporting and so on, but my focus is now staff and the kids here. I need to walk the talk.’’
She said that from her short time at Ngati Toa, she could tell the right plans and systems were in place already.
She didn’t want to rock the boat at a school that was doing things right, but every new principal had to scrutinise the school’s books and charter.
Like many schools, Ngati Toa is facing a decile change, possibly upwards. That would mean a loss of some Ministry of Education funding.
Brunton said there was no confirmation yet and it would be a bridge to cross when that happened. One of her main focuses now was to give the pupils and teachers more digital access, she said.
‘‘I’m a believer in powering up the learning for our kids – we want to create an ethos of independent learners and to do that we have to have the platform.
‘‘By giving the kids the skills you need in a modern world, they can teach their parents.’’
She understood that working with the Ngati Toa iwi was essen- tial in her role, and welcomed that. Ngati Toa has 171 on the roll, and 72 per cent are Maori. Nearly half the Maori pupils are affiliated with Ngati Toa.
New job: Ngati Toa School’s new principal, Kaye Brunton, with some of the children and staff.