Lake­land Learn­ing turns 25

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News - Rachel Can­ning

Last year 62 Taupo¯ stu­dents de­cided that main­stream school wasn’t for them and they en­rolled with al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion provider Lake­land Learn­ing.

For 25 years Lake­land Learn­ing has of­fered a unique set­ting to help Taupo¯ stu­dents and adults gain their NCEA qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Di­rec­tor He­len Bate­man says they in­tend to mark the oc­ca­sion to­day, with nib­bles and bub­bly at their new To­tara St premises.

The school was started in 1993 by Jan Carey and Sarah Hart with He­len com­ing on board 17 years ago, ini­tially as a tu­tor and then tak­ing own­er­ship in 2003.

“There was a need for an al­ter­na­tive place for young peo­ple to gain qual­i­fi­ca­tions and to help adults up­skill for em­ploy­ment.”

He­len says they are very proud of their achieve­ments, rank­ing 19 out of 219 in the coun­try. She says a good deal of their suc­cess is due to a strong wha¯nau cul­ture.

“Stu­dents are treated like young adults, they are given re­spect and treated with dig­nity. We have a qual­i­fied and ded­i­cated team who are pas­sion­ate about the stu­dents and the work we do.”

Tu­tor Bar­bara Leddy adds that pas­toral care is a huge fac­tor.

“If a stu­dent has is­sues, for in­stance with hous­ing, then there is no way they are go­ing to be able to learn their maths. If we weren’t aware of these is­sues then a lot of our stu­dents would go.”

Un­til a few months ago Lake­land Learn­ing Year 12 stu­dent Paige Haswell at­tended a lo­cal high school. Un­able to ac­cess a teacher aide, de­spite hav­ing one while at­tend­ing lo­cal pri­mary schools, her men­tal dis­abil­i­ties meant the big class­rooms and ‘one size fits all’ ap­proach didn’t work for her.

“All the high school re­ports said ‘Paige doesn’t fo­cus’. This is no sur­prise be­cause I have at­ten­tion deficit hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der (ADHD). It was a good school, but for some­one like me they didn’t pro­vide enough help,” says Paige.

She ex­plains that when she was much younger she put a lot of work in with coun­sel­lors who gave her im­por­tant skills.

“I have Asperger’s [syn­drome] and I couldn’t read other peo­ple’s emo­tions, I didn’t know if they were sad or happy. The coun­selling re­ally helped with this.”

Get­ting the cor­rect med­i­ca­tion also took a lot of time, with Paige say­ing it took years of test­ing and count­less visits to pro­fes­sion­als to get a full di­ag­no­sis.

She says self-mo­ti­va­tion and strong sup­port from her mother have made her de­ter­mined to train as an early child­hood ed­u­ca­tor, and next year she in­tends en­rolling in a three year bach­e­lor’s de­gree at Toi Ohomai In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. “The skills learnt [at Lake­land Learn­ing] have given me the con­fi­dence to go to poly­tech and to know I can pass.”

Photo / Rachel Can­ning

Lake­land Learn­ing stu­dents and tu­tors. Di­rec­tor He­len Bate­man (far right) says be­ing an al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion provider hasn’t been easy and the school is con­tin­u­ally jump­ing through gov­ern­ment hoops.

Photo / Rachel Can­ning.

Stu­dent Paige Haswell with di­rec­tor He­len Bate­man. Paige says skills learnt have given her con­fi­dence to take on ter­tiary train­ing in 2019.

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