Ngati Toa prin­ci­pal up to chal­lenge

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

New job: Ngati Toa School’s new prin­ci­pal, Kaye Brun­ton, with some of the chil­dren and staff.

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