Heads ad­dress achieve­ment

Per­cent­age of leavers with less than NCEA Level 1 by age:

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯ RONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Many stu­dents are leav­ing the dis­trict’s schools with­out NCEA Level 1 ac­cord­ing to fig­ures gained from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act.

It’s a pat­tern South Waikato high school prin­ci­pals are de­ter­mined to change.

About 65 per cent of the 16-yearold leavers last year left South Waikato schools with­out the min­i­mum qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

All the dis­trict’s high school prin­ci­pals agreed the fo­cus should be on what they are learn­ing, not just a qual­i­fi­ca­tion ti­tle.

Toko­roa High School prin­ci­pal Wil­lie Ford said low attendance was a contributor, a habit de­vel­oped from year 10 and be­low.

He be­lieved progress could be made if learn­ing pro­grammes were bet­ter tai­lored to the stu­dent.

The school pi­loted a pro­gramme this year called Al­ter­na­tive Block Con­tex­tual (ABC) learn­ing to help bot­tom-level year 10 stu­dents.

‘‘Th­ese are the ones that don’t fit in, the ones get­ting into fights, smoking around the school.’’

Through that pro­gramme 25 stu­dents be­came en­gaged in learn­ing what they were in­ter­ested in, Ford said.

While a few did drop out this year, most of them stayed on to pass level 1. And he was adamant they would have left school if it weren’t for the ABC pro­gramme.

For­est View High School prin­ci­pal Ian Fer­gu­son was also a fan of tai­lored learn­ing pro­grammes.

‘‘Num­ber one is mak­ing sure that learn­ing pro­grammes are en­gag­ing stu­dents, not just in terms of their learn­ing but their pas­toral needs as well. The other thing is get­ting good ca­reers ad­vice.’’

Fer­gu­son said the cred­its should be matched with what they want to do in life.

Pu­taruru Col­lege, prin­ci­pal Mike Ronke said stu­dent achieve­ment had sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved since 2013.

While he also agreed with Fer­gu­son on the var­i­ous rea­sons for the statis­tics he said their im­prove­ment came down to a change in learn­ing mech­a­nisms.

‘‘We changed the timeta­bles and op­tion struc­tures; there is a lot more work around goal set­ting.

‘‘We’re hav­ing four or five weekly up­dates and teach­ers are work­ing much more in­tensely with kids who are likely to fail.’’

He said work ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents has also helped keep them in school.

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