Ed­u­ca­tors iden­tify ‘chal­lenges’

The Southland Times - - NEWS - MARY-JO TOHILL

South Otago ed­u­ca­tors are work­ing to­gether to raise stu­dent achieve­ment in lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy.

Formed six months ago, the Big River Clus­ter Ka¯hui Ako Com­mu­nity of Learn­ing, met in Balclutha this week to iden­tify ed­u­ca­tion achieve­ment ‘‘chal­lenges’’, in the ar­eas of writ­ing, math­e­mat­ics, sci­ence and Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate of Ed­u­ca­tional Achieve­ment - NCEA.

About 100 teach­ers, along with prin­ci­pals, from the sec­ondary, pri­mary and early child­hood sec­tors, were in­volved in the two-day work­shop held in the last few days of the school holidays, at the South Otago Town and Coun­try Club, at Balclutha. They came from South Otago High School, Rose­bank, Clutha Val­ley, Kai­tan­gata, Clin­ton Rom­a­hapa, Warepa, St Joseph’s, Wairewa South, Stir­ling and Ta­hakopa pri­mary schools, and all the district’s kinder­gartens and early child­hood cen­tres.

Na­tional Stan­dards data find­ings show schools where they could be do­ing bet­ter, Big River Clus­ter Ka¯hui Ako ex­ec­u­tive leader and Balclutha Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Paddy Ford, said.

In Ma¯ori pupils’ achieve­ment, the data shows that in writ­ing, of the 156 Ma¯ori stu­dents across the co­hort, 38 of them (24.4 per cent) are be­low ex­pected lev­els, and in math­e­mat­ics, 23 (15 per cent) are be­low or well be­low the stan­dard.

In writ­ing, of the clus­ter’s 902 stu­dents, about 25 per cent were be­low the stan­dard. More specif­i­cally, in boys’ writ­ing, a third of the co­hort fell be­low the stan­dard.

Math­e­mat­ics is tar­geted as crit­i­cal to lift achieve­ment level in sci­ence, from pri­mary to NCEA level. In maths years 6, 7 and 8, data in­di­cates that of the 332 stu­dents, 23 per cent are be­low the Na­tional Stan­dards.

Get­ting more NCEA stu­dents to level three was also one of the clus­ter’s ob­jec­tives.

It had taken two years of dis­cus­sion to get to this point, and the group had a plan for the next two years go­ing for­ward, Ford said.

The clus­ter had em­ploy­ment two ‘‘across school’’ teach­ers to work two days a week, and more plans were afoot to raise stu­dent achieve­ment.

‘‘This term we will ap­point 10 ‘within school’ teach­ers who are re­leased for two hours a week to work on the chal­lenges,’’ Ford said. ‘‘The idea is to share ex­per­tise that we have within our own district.’’

Th­ese teach­ers would be funded by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, to de­velop teach­ing skills.

Mil­ton and the Clutha District area schools had formed their own learn­ing clus­ters.

Auck­land-based pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment com­pany Vi­sion Ed­u­ca­tion has been con­tracted by the min­istry to fa­cil­i­tate the Big River clus­ter’s aims and ob­jec­tives.

Vi­sion Ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor Dr Ali­son Davis, who at­tended the Balclutha work­shops, said clus­ters were all about teacher col­lab­o­ra­tion, and iden­ti­fy­ing ar­eas of need, for in­stance writ­ing, which cov­ered any­thing from hand­writ­ing to com­puter-writ­ing.

‘‘It doesn’t mat­ter where that child is, so long as they’re be­ing sup­ported be­cause of a col­lec­tive knowl­edge of learn­ing.’’

Re­porter award

Fair­fax re­porter won the New Zealand Guild of Agri­cul­tural Jour­nal­ists and Com­mu­ni­ca­tors Agri­cul­tural Jour­nal­ism En­cour­age­ment Award at the guild’s awards din­ner in Welling­ton last night. This award was es­tab­lished by the New Zealand Guild of Agri­cul­tural Jour­nal­ists and Com­mu­ni­ca­tors and is de­signed to ac­knowl­edge and recog­nise the work of jour­nal­ists who have been spe­cial­is­ing in agri­cul­tural jour­nal­ism for three years or less, even if they have been in jour­nal­ism for a num­ber of years. Pick­ett has been writ­ing for the Otago South­land Farmer based in In­ver­cargill since May last year.

Mir­ror Lakes shrink­ing?

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion has re­ceived re­ports that the Mir­ror Lakes on the Mil­ford Road may be shrink­ing as the plant life on the edge of the lakes grows. DOC Te Anau op­er­a­tions man­ager Greg Lind said the depart­ment had been told the grow­ing plantlife had re­duced the size of the lakes but those re­ports had not been con­firmed by rangers. If the plantlife was en­croach­ing the depart­ment could look at cut­ting it back but it would not be done un­til the end of the busy tourism sea­son next year, Lind said.

Ru­ral Women fi­nal­ists

Two South­land women have been named as fi­nal­ists for the 2017 En­ter­pris­ing Ru­ral Women Awards. Kylie David­son and Emma Ham­mond, of Rivers­dale, set up a char­tered ac­count­ing busi­ness, Ham­mond David­son Ltd, in 2011. Most of their clients are farm­ers, farm­ing sup­port busi­nesses or con­trac­tors in the farm­ing sec­tor. The com­pany is an all-fe­male work­place.

Award for shear­ing champs

The World Shear­ing and Wool­han­dling Cham­pi­onships in In­ver­cargill was named Best In­ter­na­tional Event at the New Zealand Events As­so­ci­a­tion Awards in Auck­land on Wed­nes­day. The ILT Sta­dium where the shear­ing event was held, was named Best In­dus­try Sup­plier for an Event. About 13 awards were pre­sented on the night. Shear­ing Sports New Zealand chair­man and for­mer mul­ti­ple world cham­pion Sir David Fa­gan was present on the night.

Civic The­atre open day

The Civic The­atre in In­ver­cargill will be open to the pub­lic from 10am to 4pm to­mor­row for a be­hind-thescenes look. The open day will in­clude a show­case of Brides by Donna Rae wed­ding dresses, cater­ing and a photo booth. Vis­i­tors will be able to get a guided tour.

Gore house fire

Fire­fight­ers were called to a house fire in Gore about 1.15pm on Thurs­day. A fire com­mu­ni­ca­tions spokesman said when fire­fight­ers ar­rived at the Pa­mona St house, the fire was well in­volved. Five fire en­gines were there. No-one was hurt. Fire­fight­ers left about 3pm and a fire in­ves­ti­ga­tor was at the scene later that day, the spokesman said. He was un­sure if the fire was be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious.


Fire­fight­ers re­spond­ing to a fire in a light switch was not at the Global Byte Cafe on Dee St as re­ported in The South­land Times on Thurs­day. The er­ror is re­gret­ted.

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