Ed­u­ca­tion takes turn from bad to good

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

They were seen as bad kids but the stu­dents at Toko­roa’s Tau­toko Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tion Group are prov­ing they can turn their lives around.

The ed­u­ca­tion provider in Camp­bell St caters for stu­dents year nine and up who have been ex­pelled or dropped out of main­stream schools.

To help get them back on track the stu­dents are picked up each day from home and taken to the centre where they have a cup of tea and piece of toast be­fore get­ting into the day’s work.

The small team of ded­i­cated tu­tors help the stu­dents work to­wards suc­cess­fully com­plet­ing their NCEA as­sess­ments, much of which is done on­line.

They also learn about ways to over­come their be­havioural is­sues and with sup­port from Ac­ti­vate Church lead­ers take part in var­i­ous after course ac­tiv­i­ties and events.

Stu­dent Pa­nia Allen, 15, said be­fore com­ing to the group she had ma­jor is­sues with anger but now she’s learnt to con­trol it.

‘‘I left school with 16 cred­its in Year 11. I had a lot of anger and got into lots of fights but now I’ve stopped fight­ing and I have heaps of cred­its,’’ she said.

Fel­low stu­dent Te­rina Galv­in­heke, 15, who also had anger is­sues, said the smaller class size and more one-on-one time with tu­tors was help­ing to keep them on the right path.

‘‘I have been here for two and a half years now and you get more one-on-one time with the teacher

‘‘It has given us a sec­ond chance to get an ed­u­ca­tion as we didn't re­ally fit in main­stream’’ Pa­nia Allen

which has def­i­nitely helped me fo­cus,’’ she said.

Year 10 stu­dent Ta­mati Matthews, 15, said due to the tu­tors show­ing a gen­uine in­ter­est in his ed­u­ca­tion and well­be­ing he has turned away from drugs.

‘‘I used to be hard out but I now rather come to course than smoke. It has made me want an ed­u­ca­tion,’’ he said.

Pa­nia said they are of­ten judged by peo­ple who can’t let go of their past mis­takes which she hoped would change.

‘‘Peo­ple think it is a place for bad kids and that we are all re­tards be­cause we are not in proper school but it has given us a sec­ond chance to get an ed­u­ca­tion as we didn’t re­ally fit in main­stream,’’ she said.

‘‘We learn way bet­ter like this and if we don’t un­der­stand some­thing we can have proper time with the tu­tors rather than a quick five min­utes.’’

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

Tu­tors and stu­dents at Toko­roa’s Tau­toko Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tion Group.

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