Education Gazette 103.7

Page 1


Involving whānau and community to support engagement

Building confidence with structured literacy

How Tawa Kāhui Ako is approaching attendance and wellbeing

The ‘mana wheel’ fostering positive relationships

10 JUNE 2024 | VOL. 103 | NO. 7

Editor’s note

Welcome to Issue 7 of 2024, and Sarah’s last issue before she departs for parental leave. I know you will join me in wishing her the very best as she prepares for a truly rewarding new role.

A strong theme in this issue is whanaungatanga – we explore the importance of connecting whānau and community to education, and the ways that this supports attendance, engagement and wellbeing.

In Northland, a kapa haka festival at Te Kura o Otangarei brings the community together.

In Wellington, building a relationship with a student’s family is key to supporting engagement.

This edition is also about student voice – a new report sharing rangatahi experiences of racism; NCEA students having their say whether they sit literacy and numeracy tests; tamariki talking about the impact of structured literacy on their learning.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Keri McLean and Sarah Wilson, Ngā ētita | Editors

On the cover

Desmond is a senior ākonga at Te Kura o Otangarei and a kapa haka kaea (leader). Read more about the school’s kapa haka festival and how it brings together the community on page 2.

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Kapa haka festival a driving force in attendance

Te Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival is an annual event at Te Kura o Otangarei that embodies whanaungatanga and mahi tahi. Weaving together the local community, it is a celebration that drives attendance and engagement.

Te Kura o Otangarei principal Danelle Unuwai. Photos taken by: Ngātiwai Trust Board.

Sitting in the heart of Whangārei, Te Kura o Otangarei is in a prime position for hosting a performing arts festival. The festival, Te Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival, isn’t just about kapa haka, it’s about bringing together whānau, other kura, and the community.

The festival allows ākonga at the kura to connect with their whakapapa and explore, share and preserve the stories, values and identities of their hapū and iwi.

Weeks of preparation precede the event. Students are so involved that there’s a noticeable lift in attendance and engagement.

Kaiako and kapa haka instructors Terynne Mills-Barber, Manu Toeke and Linda Wikaira compose waiata about the kaupapa of the kura or about the hapū and iwi of Te Tai Tokerau.

Students immerse themselves in learning the haka and waiata, both new and traditional, as well as rehearsing and mastering footwork and choreography. They deepen their connection to te ao and tikanga Māori with each performance piece.

“I love how the festival brings everyone together.”

Merina, student

Bringing everyone together

The festival is the result of a lot of collaboration. Also present are several navigators from the ‘I Have a Dream’ foundation, local kaimahi from Te Hau Awhiowhio | Otangarei Trust who support with various roles such as manning food stalls and providing first aid assistance, and also ringa atawhai (or “TK nannies”) who provide health checks – such as blood pressure and glucose levels – for whānau.

Adorned in piupiu and tā moko, ākonga from Te Kura o Otangarei take to the stage with a palpable sense of pride and enthusiasm. Students from nine other kura are performing alongside them, creating an electric atmosphere. The audience is drawn into the energy of the performances and entertained by Pio Terei and Rob Stanley as MCs for the day.

The waiata convey messages of unity and strength, while the haka show power and passion, honouring tūpuna (ancestors) and invoking a sense of collective identity and kotahitanga.

Merina and Desmond are senior ākonga and kapa haka kaea (leaders) at the kura.

“I love how the festival brings everyone together,” says Merina.

“Learning new songs for the festival makes me want to come to school,” adds Desmond.

3 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
Laylyn-Jo, student. Deputy principal Terynne Mills-Barber. Kapa haka kaea (leader), Desmond.

Increasing attendance

Principal Danelle Unuwai has been at the school for the last seven years – four as full-time teaching deputy principal, two as acting principal and now as permanent principal.

She has seen the school roll fluctuate from anywhere between 70 to 120 ākonga – a byproduct of a transient community. Attendance has increased steadily over the last year, and she sees more and more whānau engaging with the school.

Danelle says that for the students, the festival is an example of Māori succeeding as Māori. While the festival is key, the kura has other strategies to promote attendance.

The school also removes some of the big barriers to attendance by providing stationery, as well as breakfast, morning tea and lunch.

“Learning new songs for the festival makes me want to come to school.”

Desmond, student

5 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
Taniko, student. Students put weeks of preparation into learning footwork and choreography.

Connecting with whānau

They also work hard to connect and communicate with whānau about absences. Matua Rob’s role at Otangarei is ‘whānau connector’ – it’s his job to connect with whānau and be a bridge between home and school, engaging ākonga whose attendance is poor.

It’s a strategy that looks at the wellbeing of the whānau, not just the ākonga who are not attending. The kura operates from the belief that if you cater to the needs of the whole whānau, the ākonga will be well and come to school.

Supporting transitions

Te Kura o Otangarei has a special transition class called ‘Te wāhi tūmanako’ (a place of hope). The class is for Year 8 students (identified while still in Year 7) who may have additional needs and are not yet ready to transition to high school.

Led by kaiako Donna Heta, the class provides extra learning support to develop literacy and numeracy skills and self-regulation. It is designed to build self-esteem and confidence in a variety of ways to help better prepare students for high school.

The school also works alongside parents and whānau to support their children’s transition. And it’s working. At the end of 2023, all of the students from this class successfully transitioned to high school and have remained engaged in school with the support of Tikipunga High School.

Both new and traditional haka and waiata are performed.
Deputy principal, Terynne Mills-Barber, principal Danelle Unuwai and whānau connector, Rob Stanley. Matua Rob and principal Danelle Unuwai kōrero with a young attendee. Te Kura o Otangarei students Phoenix, Heilen, Te Ruinga, and Abednago. Kenzie (Year 1) making, breaking and reading words.


Building confidence through structured literacy approaches

Tauraroa Area School’s commitment to a structured literacy approach is transforming reading outcomes for students, fostering confidence and enthusiasm.

Tauraroa Area School is embarking on a transformational journey centred on structured literacy approaches that benefit all ākonga, including those with dyslexia.

Drawing from early learning experiences, Waka Teina (Year 0/1) teacher Christine Alford noted the discrepancies in reading pedagogy upon entering the school system.

The observation of students struggling to progress beyond initial reading levels spurred research into the science of reading, setting the stage for a schoolwide literacy evolution.

“Within two weeks, we saw children who were unmotivated and disengaged with learning regain their confidence in their abilities and enthusiasm for learning return. We were converted,” says Christine.

Evolution of the approach

Since the introduction of a structured literacy approach at Tauraroa Area School, Christine and fellow Waka Teina teacher Meaghan Deeming have seen a big shift in ākonga attitudes towards literacy.

Particularly impactful in Years 0–2, they follow a strategic commitment to resources supporting decodable texts and comprehensive professional learning and development.

“Within a very short period of moving to a structured literacy approach, students who had become stagnant in their reading progress and disengaged from learning, were suddenly motivated and confident. These students are now in Year 6 and their interest in words is still evident,” says Meaghan.

Resource investments and collaborative efforts have enriched classroom experiences, and the adoption of a programme spanning up to Year 8 has been instrumental.

In addition to this, they continue to work through a scope and sequence lesson format, supported by decodable texts before students move to authentic texts.

“This year we have introduced assessment practices which specifically screen for areas of need. This allows us to plan our whole-class programmes, and further support individual-specific needs.

“For example, this year, our data showed a need to support oral reading fluency. In response to this, we have introduced whole-class reading of authentic texts from Year 0–6.”

Impact on ākonga attitudes

The attitude shift in ākonga speaks volumes about the efficacy of structured literacy approaches. Mick, a Year 4 student, enjoys the structured progression through reading stages.

“We play some games and learn in a fun way. When we do structured literacy, we have these stages of reading. When you get good, you get a book to read at home. So, every stage gets harder, and you learn new concepts like split digraphs.”

Mick’s enthusiasm continues to shine through as he talks about structured literacy approaches, adding, “I like structured literacy very much because the teachers support you with your learning. If I come across a new word when I’m reading, I try to sound it out, and I do the same when I’m trying to write new words.”

“Structured literacy makes me feel good and like I can do anything. Reading gets easier and easier every day.”

Samuel, Year 6

9 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024

Evidence-based principles

Tauraroa Area School teachers Christine Alford and Meaghan Deeming elaborate on the evidence-based principles that underpin the structured literacy approach at their school.

The ‘big five’ are: phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, fluency, vocabulary development and reading comprehension.

A standard specific scope and sequence lesson format includes:

» oral reading fluency

» handwriting

» sound pack review: decode, encode, decode

» review sound-word level: decode, encode, decode

» explicit teaching of new sound/skill-word level: decode, encode, decode

» irregular words

» dictation including new sound/skill.

Learn more about structured literacy on the Tāhūrangi website.

Samuel’s journey also reflects this shift from frustration and stagnation to confidence and enthusiasm.

“The words are easy to read because I’ve been taught the code. It’s fun to read.”

Samuel moved to Tauraroa Area School in Year 2 from a school that wasn’t using structured literacy. He explains how much he is enjoying the structured approach.

“At my old school, I just got given a book and they just told me to read it and I couldn’t even read the first word. I just struggled. I didn’t even want to get my book out of my bag. I didn’t feel good at doing anything. It put me down a lot and it made me feel like I couldn’t do anything, even the things I was good at.

“Structured literacy makes me feel good and like I can do anything. I have to work hard but reading gets easier and easier every day.”

Amber, who has two children aged five and 12 at Tauraroa Area School, also shares praise for the approach.

“I noticed immediately when my five-year-old started reading this year the difference in technique and effectiveness with structured literacy. Instead of ‘exposing’ him to books with words he can’t read, he gets to learn all the sounds and strategies first, then take a book home able to read it.

“Each stage is celebrated too, which gives him confidence and a new sense of pride in himself and what he has achieved. I honestly think if my 12-year-old had the same opportunity, he would not continue to struggle with reading.”

Future of literacy

Looking ahead, Tauraroa Area School remains committed to refining its structured literacy approach spanning all year levels.

As an area school, they have a long-term, 13-year commitment to student learning and achievement right through to senior secondary years. Principal Grant Burns states, “We have students entering the school at all year levels and literacy abilities. In addition, we have a hardworking learning support coordinator who is involved in getting all students ‘up to speed’ with their reading and writing.

“We will continue to build on the very successful foundations laid in the junior primary classes further up the school.”

Piece of the puzzle

Structured literacy is just one piece of the puzzle for Tauraroa Area School. Grant shares other ways they encourage good literacy practice and reading habits.

“Our library is a very important facility in the school, with a team of committed staff and student librarians who actively promote reading through creative displays, newsletters, book character days and more.

“The other side of the ‘literacy coin’ is writing.

Tauraroa Area School is committed to effectively using The Writers’ Toolbox, throughout primary and secondary year levels, having started this journey more than 10 years ago.”

10 Education Gazette
Charlie (Year 1) reading a decodable text.

Supporting Schools to Implement Structured Literacy

For more than eight years, Learning MATTERS has been a trusted partner for schools and educators across Aotearoa, supporting Structured Literacy implementation and empowering educators with evidence-based practice.

We have done this by providing: professional learning featuring practical, motivating sessions facilitation by passionate, knowledgeable consultants a consistent implementation plan for Structured Literacy coverage of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 the iDeaL Approach, developed specifically for the New Zealand educational context by the Learning MATTERS team.

11 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
Bentley and Bodhi (Year 1) enjoying an explicit lesson on handwriting.
Professional Development Consultancy The iDeaL Approach LMIT Certification Resources
A range of professional learning opportunities Guiding schools with implementation of a Structured Literacy approach The tools and resources to deliver a comprehensive Structured Literacy approach Specialise in evidence-based Structured Literacy intervention A range of resources to support teaching a Structured Literacy approach
out more at:
Today, the iDeaL
to Structured Literacy is used in more than 600 primary and secondary schools across Aotearoa.

not a programme as such. It’s a kaupapa, a way of being, a way of working.”

Gene Bartlett
Ako Solutionz tumuaki Susan Ngawati Osborne and Te Ara Wakamana director Nigel Marshall.

Empowering social and emotional literacy with Te Ara Whakamana

Pūrākau, the rich stories of Māori origins, are a key tool in fostering positive communication and relationships within Te Ara Whakamana: Mana Enhancement, a tool designed by Ako Solutionz. Schools across the motu have adapted this framework, demonstrating the power of meaningful interactions and storytelling.

Masterton Primary School is using innovative frameworks to foster positive communication, relationships, and a strong sense of identity among its ākonga with a ‘mana wheel’ tool.

Central to this shift is Te Ara Whakamana: Mana Enhancement, rooted in Māori cultural principles, which helps schools nurture and enhance the mana (core value) of ākonga and kaimahi.

Tumuaki Gene Bartlett says Te Ara Whakamana has been crucial for advancing the school’s social and emotional literacy.

“We’ve been a Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) school for many years, but it lacks the cultural responsiveness we need. Te Ara Whakamana will be PB4L for our school.”

By integrating pūrākau, ākonga and kaimahi connect with and embrace the different sides of kaitiaki (guardians) to develop mutual understanding and meaningful interactions.

Deputy principal Jo Lennox says, “The mana wheel shows the duality of kaitiaki. They have their positive and negative sides, and we reward students for showing the positive traits. Gene developed the taiaha in the centre of the mana wheel to help students express their feelings.”

Intrinsic value

Te Ara Whakamana is a holistic approach that prioritises empowering and uplifting individuals by recognising and nurturing their intrinsic value.

The model draws on traditional Māori concepts and narratives, particularly pūrākau, to build a framework that promotes personal growth, positive communication, and strong, respectful relationships.

It was developed in 2012 by a group of multi-disciplinary experts led by Nigel Marshall (Ngāti Ingarangi, Tangata Tiriti), a tenured teacher in special education with a focus on learning and behaviour.

Nigel’s aim was to find a better way to address issues that were prevalent at the time around extreme behaviour and the over-representation of ākonga Māori.

“At that time there were several programmes being introduced from overseas and you could see that there were some good aspects in them but there was no cultural context. They didn’t speak of our own country at all,”

Nigel recalls.

Nigel and his group wanted to move from the technical jargon of these programmes and recentre the approach to the relational pedagogy that works best for the Aotearoa New Zealand context.

Agency to express themselves

Susan Ngawati Osborne (Ngāti Te Ara, Ngāti Kopaki, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha, Ngāpuhi) is the tumuaki of Ako Solutionz, the organisation who has provided the training for Te Ara Whakamana to over 100 schools across Aotearoa to date.

Susan emphasises the importance of Te Ara Whakamana having its roots in te ao Māori and how the pathway to creating the model became seamless once this came into focus.

“As we were developing the model, we knew that because it was based on te ao Māori, centred in the Māori creation story, it would just keep on giving. The more we explored, the more we realised how powerful and perfect it was for the model we were trying to create,” says Susan.

Another key aspect in its success is the agency it gives children to express themselves.

“It’s 100 percent agentic. This is another part of the model that resonates with whānau. The children get to define who they are, who the people are in their lives that they appreciate, their interests, things that are precious to them and their own ways to interact with others,” explains Susan.

The mana wheel

One of the pivotal tools within the Te Ara Whakamana model is the mana wheel.

The mana wheel is a visual and practical tool designed to help individuals and groups reflect on and enhance their mana. It has various domains that contribute to a person’s overall sense of wellbeing and dignity.

13 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
14 Education Gazette
Top left: Te Ara Whakamana influence in other schools – Jacqui Wrigg, deputy principal/SENCO at Papakura Normal School, presents a kaiako mana wheel that represents their full staff of 60. Bottom left: Ākonga at Masterton Primary School familiarise themselves with the attributes of each kaitiaki through a game of Go Fish! Right: The mana wheel has proven to be a successful tool to connect ākonga and kaiako at Masterton Primary School.

After attending a national conference held by Melville Primary School in Waikato, Gene and Jo got to work on adapting this tool to their learning environment.

“We received funding through the Masterton Trust Lands Trust to implement this programme for Masterton Primary School and Masterton Intermediate School with a focus on resilience, social and emotional regulation, with a transition phase [between primary and intermediate] in there too,” recalls Gene.

Even though Masterton Primary only implemented the mana wheel last year, Gene and Jo express that it has been a positive learning journey for both ākonga and kaimahi.

By integrating the mana wheel into their curriculum and daily practices, Gene and Jo say their ākonga have been provided with a comprehensive framework for self-reflection and growth.

“Identity is a really big factor, especially in relational pedagogy. I think the model just gives that a process. It supports and strengthens positive identity, and that identity is known by teachers.

“The process of enhancing mana is at the centre of it all and that mana doesn’t just apply to Māori. Everyone has mana,” reinforces Susan.

“It’s 100 percent agentic. This is another part of the model that resonates with whānau.”
Susan Ngawati Osborne

A new way forward

The implementation of Te Ara Whakamana and the mana wheel at Masterton Primary is yielding infinite benefits.

Ākonga are developing a strong sense of identity, and there is positive communication and mutual respect among ākonga, kaimahi, and whānau.

The focus on mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing has led to a more balanced and fulfilling educational experience.

“This is the centre for which we will hang all of our kaupapa off,” says Gene.

“It works across all curriculum areas. It just fits into lots of things, which is helpful when implementing an integrated curriculum,” adds Jo.

Masterton Primary’s successful integration of this model demonstrates its potential to enhance educational experiences and outcomes profoundly.

“At its core it’s culturally responsive. It also works because we’re passionate about it, we know it’ll make a difference for our children. It’s not a programme as such, it’s a kaupapa, it’s a way of being, it’s a way of working,” concludes Gene.

15 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024

will face challenges and problems in many aspects of their lives, and the technologies process makes them more confident that they can tackle them.”

Pāpāmoa College student Seth, who is using his passion for music and technology to address some of the challenges music students face.

Product design students connect passion with purpose

At Pāpāmoa College, product design technology isn’t just about crafting projects for the sake of it, it’s about empowering ākonga to become real-world inventors and designers who can solve tangible problems.

Students at Pāpāmoa College in the Bay of Plenty are not only learning about technology but also actively engaging in its application to solve real-world problems within their community.

Under the guidance of dedicated educator Mike Wright, the technology programme at the college has become a hub of innovation and hands-on learning.

One student, Seth, has exemplified this approach by merging his passion for technology and music into innovative design solutions, addressing some of the challenges faced by music students.

He says combining his two favourite subjects provided extra motivation for him to see the project through.

Concept to creation

Seth began with a deep dive into understanding the needs of the music department through observation, interviews with stakeholders, and rigorous evaluation.

“Collaboration with Kurt the guitar teacher was most useful as he uses the space the most. Talking with Kurt allowed me to truly understand what was needed in the design,” says Seth.

He identified existing challenges with furniture use

and storage solutions. With a clear understanding of the problems at hand, Seth then embarked on a comprehensive design process, from brainstorming to prototyping and testing.

His solutions, aimed at tackling issues like using a chair as an amp stand and the lack of guitar storage, were not only functional but also aligned with the practical needs of end-users.

“The main challenge I had was learning how to design a product that would work in a school environment. I overcame this with rigorous testing and trying to put my prototypes through the kind of use they would experience in a real classroom application.”

This project demonstrates the transformative potential of hands-on, experiential learning. By integrating his passion for music with his technological skills, Seth not only engaged with curriculum learning areas but also created tangible solutions that directly impacted his school community.

“The most rewarding aspect of the project personally, was using the space that my project was designed to be in and seeing the way that the product improved the space. And for the school community it’s rewarding to have improved a space that is interacted with by many people.”

Products are designed to work in a school environment.

17 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024

“There are no instruction manuals for life. We must be equipped to tackle problems when they arise, face failure when it happens, and move forward intentionally and confidently towards a creative resolution”

of discovery and innovation.
Left, right and bottom: Design notes show
the journey

Empowering innovation

At Pāpāmoa College, product design technology isn’t just a subject, it’s a journey of discovery and innovation.

Mike explains that a good technology programme teaches students not to just make things and learn practical skills, but to creatively solve problems and be an active part of the solution.

“They will face challenges and problems in many aspects of their lives, and the technologies process makes them more confident that they can tackle them.”

Mike explains that using this process, students can break down seemingly challenging problems into smaller parts and resolve them creatively.

“Giving students complicated or unusual problems to solve will include empathy, working with a client, ideation, testing, failure, rejection of ideas, analysis, improvement, more failure, and progress towards a resolution.

“If a student never picks up a saw or uses a welder again in their life, the takeaway is that they have become a confident, creative problem solver who can work with people.”

Agency and collaboration

The programme mirrors real-world creative industries, with students leading projects, managing resources and deadlines, and experiencing failure and improvement cycles – all of which empowers them as experts in problem solving.

“They will experience failure during the design and development process and some of their ideas will be rejected or will not work. They will then need to evaluate and improve.

“These are all valuable lessons for their lives after school, and a key component of most jobs in the creative sector,

regardless of what exactly it is they are creating.”

When asked what sets this approach to learning apart from traditional classroom methods, Mike says it’s the agency it gives ākonga.

“In many teaching scenarios, the teacher is the expert. In this scenario, the student is the expert. The stakeholder (usually an adult and often a teacher) needs the student and benefits from them, not the other way around. This is very empowering for young people.”

Agents of change

Students have been actively contributing to the community for the past decade, and the school has plans to further expand impact through new facilities and resources.

“We are eagerly awaiting the completion of our new technology centre, which should be operational by term 3 this year. This will expand possibilities and allow students to tackle problems they previously may not have been able to resolve.”

Mike hopes students will continue to learn that they can be agents of change and make a real difference in the community, and in people’s lives.

“There are no instruction manuals for life. We must be equipped to tackle problems when they arise, face failure when it happens, and move forward intentionally and confidently towards a creative resolution.”

For Seth, the product design technology process helped him realise his passion for the future.

“Doing this project made me realise my passion for design and problem solving, and it influenced my decision to go to university.”

19 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
One of the design solutions created by students at Pāpāmoa College.


Addressing the challenges of disengagement

In this Q&A with Tawa Kāhui Ako, Education Gazette explores the evolving challenges of student disengagement and the holistic, community-driven approach being implemented to improve attendance and support student wellbeing.

20 Education Gazette
Jo Keats works with students who have a pattern of low attendance.

Tawa Kāhui Ako is made up of one college, one intermediate, and six primary schools in north Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

In 2022, the kāhui ako sought a new way to address attendance by creating a position dedicated to supporting ākonga who were not engaging with school.

Kāhui ako lead Zac Mills says this is an example of a role and service which individual schools could not afford independently but is made possible by working collaboratively across all schools and with the Ministry of Education.

“If students are not attending school or are not well, it is hard for them to achieve academic success.”

Education Gazette published an article at the beginning of this journey, with then re-engagement officer Mariah Scott. Now, with additional funding from the Ministry to continue this important mahi, the reins have passed to Jo Keats.

Read what Jo has to say about the evolution of this role and its impact on student attendance and engagement today.

The challenges

Q: What are the specific challenges faced by students in your kāhui ako who are not engaging with school? How does the re-engagement officer aim to address these?

I work with a small number of students who have disengaged and/or have a pattern of low attendance. We find that the more a student misses school, the harder it is for them to re-engage.

Anxiety plays a huge role in re-engagement. Students feel lost in class and, at times, find that their friend group

has connected to others because the student has been away so much.

In these cases, we not only have to identify the barrier and work towards eliminating it, but we have to add a level of support to assist with the anxiety issues that have developed due to the length of time off school.

For all students, whānau is involved – low attendance is not a problem but a symptom of a bigger issue.

Quite often, a student’s absence or disengagement from school is a result of challenges facing the entire whānau.  These challenges can range from resistance to parenting styles or be more complex issues such as mental health, family violence, or financial insecurity. It takes a whānau approach to identify the barrier or barriers and put support in place for the students – as well as the whānau, if needed.

Q: Given the diverse range of challenges students may face, how do you navigate the process of making referrals to other services?

It’s all about student and whānau voice. I make a lot of home visits – I find it’s less formal and provides a better opportunity to build trust. I regularly meet with students just to touch base and see how things are going. Once trust is established, both students and whānau are more likely to disclose the challenges they are facing. This then allows me to find the specialised support that they need.

When a student’s engagement improves in the short term, I continue to monitor and meet with them to ensure that the engagement is consistent. I also liaise with support agencies and we work together to provide a wraparound approach.

“For all students, whānau is involved – low attendance is not a problem but a symptom of a bigger issue.”
Jo Keats
21 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
Jo Keats is a re-engagement officer for Tawa Kāhui Ako.

Evolution of the role

Q: How has the role of the re-engagement officer evolved since 2022? What learnings, challenges, and successes can you share?

I have only been the re-engagement officer for the last year, but what I can see is that the number of students referred to me is ever-increasing. There are more and more referrals and some are very complex involving a variety of agencies and support teams.

At the same time as addressing the most severe cases, we are also proactively working to identify patterns of mild to moderate absenteeism so that we can work with these students earlier – before the patterns have become much more ingrained. When I receive a referral, I first gather information about potential siblings across the schools so that all tamariki are included and all schools are involved in the re-engagement process.

In addition to attendance issues, I can get referrals for whānau who need support due to mental health issues, family crisis, or other challenges. Because I have a connection to many service providers, I can easily refer families to get support. I try to offer support before it potentially leads to school disengagement.

The Ministry recently provided additional funding so that I could add a third day to my week. This has helped in managing my workload, but I still struggle to handle the large number of cases referred by all the Tawa schools. The role and the community would be better served if it was funded full-time, but I do the best I can with what I have.

Enhanced support and strategies

Q: With the extended tenure of the re-engagement officer position, how has continuity and consistency in supporting attendance been enhanced?

The extended tenure means that I can track students who have been identified in primary or intermediate level as they move on to college. The role is much easier when there is consistency each year so that strong relationships can be established with whānau and staff at the various schools and students can be monitored throughout their school years.

Q: What new strategies or approaches have been introduced by the re-engagement officer to address attendance issues?

I think the best approach is a team approach. It is true that it takes a village. My approach can’t be successful if I work

22 Education Gazette
Student and whānau voice is key to re-engagement for Tawa Kāhui Ako.

in isolation – it takes a team to reduce the barriers to engagement. This includes school staff, and at times, outside support and government agencies to support our students and whānau.

Each term, I create a report that shows the number of referrals carried over, the number of new referrals, the number of referrals closed, and highlights trends, challenges, and barriers.

Late last year, I collated a large list of service providers and shared it with the principals in my kāhui ako. This list is constantly updated so that I can find as many support services as possible that work with the unique needs of each case. For Tawa College referrals, I work with the guidance team at the college so that we can collaborate and best meet the needs of the specific case.

Success stories

Q: Can you share any success stories that highlight the impact of the re-engagement officer’s interventions on student attendance?

The wide remit of the role and the variety of cases means that success can look very different for each student. Sometimes, success is just about getting a whānau to

“If students are not attending school or are not well, it is hard for them to achieve academic success.”
Zac Mills

engage in meaningful dialogue with the school when previously there has been a barrier.

We’ve had great success with some students in terms of providing them with some basic essentials so they can feel confident coming to school.

In some respects, linking whānau and students with the support they need is the first step to success. This is particularly true when mental health is a factor.

23 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
24 Education Gazette
Ōtāhuhu Primary School is among the 30 schools and kura within Ngā Manu Aroha participating in the FRIENDS Resilience Programme.


Auckland schools get friendly with social and emotional resilience

Increasing confidence, decreasing anti-social behaviour, and improving resilience are among the effects of a World Health Organization-recognised programme lifting social and emotional learning in the classroom and beyond.

With a focus on social and emotional learning and cognitive behavioural therapy, the FRIENDS Resilience Programme was developed in Australia in response to the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on students and teachers.

Ngā Manu Aroha – Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Cluster 9 purchased a three-year licence for the programme in 2022, due to a need in their schools linked to trauma and anxiety.

Ngā Manu Aroha are a team of 26 itinerant RTLB serving 30 schools and kura in the Auckland areas of Māngere and Ōtāhuhu.

The team lead in charge of wellbeing and FRIENDS, Violet Highley, says the reasons they investigated the programme included the effects of the Covid pandemic, poor attendance, kaiako stress, poverty, and housing needs in their cluster schools.

FRIENDS is an acronym for the skills taught throughout the programme:

» Feelings

» Remember to relax. Have quiet time

» I can do it! I can try! (Helpful inner thoughts)

» Explore solutions and coping step plans

» Now reward yourself! You’ve done your best!

» Don’t forget to practise

» Smile! Stay calm, stay strong and talk to your support networks.

25 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024

Learning and implementation

The school-based anxiety prevention and resilience programmes can be run by teachers as a wholeclass programme, or as a small group intervention.

Each teaches effective coping strategies, problem solving and emotional distress management such as for worry, stress, change and anxiety.

Programme founder Dr Paula Barrett ran an online Zoom session at a professional learning and development day run by the cluster for all RTLBs in Māngere and Ōtāhuhu areas.

“After that, all RTLB were required to complete the online training for FRIENDS Resilience, which was about eight hours in total. RTLB then received four certificates on completion for each of the stages of the programme,” explains Violet.

These stages are Fun FRIENDS (3–7 years) with a focus on positive social development, FRIENDS for Life (8–9 years) with a focus on confidence and emotional strength, My FRIENDS Youth (10–15 years) with a focus on positive peer and family relationship, and Adult Resilience (16 years +) with a focus on finding fulfilment and productivity.

A focus group consisting of 10 RTLB have been specifically involved with implementing the programme in schools and supporting other RTLB to do the same.

Additional teachers in the schools also completed the online training to add breadth and depth to the programme delivery.

Positive outcomes

Outcomes are proving positive, and not just for ākonga.

“We have evidence of several students bouncing back from setbacks and challenges. Teachers have observed a decrease in anti-social behaviour and confidence skills increasing,” says Violet.

Without exception, Violet says teachers have observed positive changes in their students.

“There have been distinct, positive shifts in attitude and outlook of students that have experienced trauma. They have been empowered to cope positively with common negative emotions.

And the impact this has had on teachers has been significant. One intermediate teacher in

“There have been distinct, positive shifts in attitude and outlook of students that have experienced trauma. They have been empowered to cope positively with common negative emotions.”
Violet Highley
26 Education Gazette
Students summarise what they have learned in the FRIENDS Resilience Programme.

the cluster commented on the improvement of the students’ behaviour, interpersonal relationships, engagement in classroom activities, and problemsolving abilities. In turn, this positively impacted on the overall learning atmosphere in the class.

“Students are now aware of personal life goalsetting skills, and this has also enhanced their problem-solving. Teachers found that behaviour management was easier and that there was a shared common language within the classroom,” says Violet.

She adds that teachers have also talked about adopting strategies from the programme and implementing them both in their teaching practice and personal lives.

Culturally responsive

A culturally responsive approach supported the programme to be appropriate for students of all cultural backgrounds.

“We needed to be sensitive to the dynamics and cultural diversity of the class, as well as individual student needs, when considering which activities to include (such as if there are neurodiverse students in the class),” says Violet.

The team created lesson plans that took this diversity into consideration, and the importance of building positive relationships between teachers and Māori and Pacific learners.

“Working in a te reo Māori bilingual unit, we integrated the four dimensions of hauora into the FRIENDS lesson planning and teaching.

“Similarly for a predominantly Pacific class, we referenced the fonofale health model and other Pacific frameworks.”

The cluster schools are now into their third year of the programme and Violet says there has been a growing interest in their work.

“The goal now is for RTLB to release the responsibility of implementing the programme to the schools,” says Violet.

“When teachers are fully trained in the programme, they are better able to sustain the positive effects of this.”

The long-lasting benefits are immeasurable, but Violet knows their importance cannot be underestimated.

She says some of the skills they learned from the programme include self-reflection, relaxation techniques and mindfulness, awareness of their own feelings and positively expressing them, as well as the opportunity to further develop collaborative working relationships with school staff.

“Skills we learned from the programme are lifelong and will unquestionably help students and teachers now and in later life, such as navigating life’s challenges, managing stress, regulating emotions and skilfully approaching ordeals.”

10 June 2024

Student voice in winning formula for NCEA achievement

NCEA literacy and numeracy assessment results for Wellington High School and Motueka High School have increased due to strategies designed to maximise success.

28 Education Gazette
NCEA Nich Campell is the across schools teacher at Motueka High School for Kāhui Ako ki Motueka.

Student agency is more than a buzzword at Wellington High School. In fact, it’s one of the deciding factors when a student is entered for the NCEA literacy and numeracy tests.

Although standardised test results and teachers’ judgement are taken into account, the school has decided that students sitting lower on the stanine scale can choose whether to sit the NCEA tests this time around.

“Students at stanine 5 and above will almost always be entered, but students who are at stanine 3 or 4 in the progressive achievement tests should have a choice. If they want to have a go, they can. If they don’t want to, they don’t,” says assistant principal Caroline Lewis.

Progressive achievement tests (PATs) are a series of standardised tests used to determine what level students are at in mathematics, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and listening comprehension. They are an indicator of where ākonga may need extra help – the lowest performance level is stanine 1 and the highest is stanine 9.

“We think that PATs plus teacher judgement are a good indicator of whether a student is ready to sit the literacy and numeracy tests,” says Caroline.

“If we don’t think a student is ready and they’re going to be totally knocked out by not passing then they should not be entered.”

Literacy and numeracy a priority

Starting this year, all students now need to achieve a 20-credit co-requisite specific to te reo matatini or literacy and pāngarau or numeracy to be awarded any level of NCEA.

During the transition period in 2024–25, students can achieve this co-requisite either through the NCEA literacy and numeracy common assessment activities (CAAs), tūmahi aromatawai pātahi (TAPA), kete manarua portfolio assessment option, or specific achievement and unit standards.

The CAAs and TAPA are offered twice a year, and students can have multiple attempts over several years.

“I think many students get unnecessarily stressed and nervous by thinking the CAAs are big, scary exams,” says Nich Campbell, the across schools teacher at Motueka High School for Kāhui Ako ki Motueka.

“So we talk to the students and write to parents to help them understand the importance of the CAAs for NCEA. Failing the CAAs is not an indictment on them and does not mean they will not achieve success throughout the year.”

Like Wellington High School, Motueka High School uses a diagnostic tool – the e-asTTle – and teacher judgement to determine when students might be ready to sit the CAAs. Students who score 4A and above on e-asTTle are entered to sit the literacy and numeracy assessments.

29 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
30 Education Gazette
Caroline Lewis, assistant principal at Wellington High School, with two students.

“We also talk to the deans for each year level, learning support coordinators and SENCOs so we can identify the students who are far behind where they need to be and support them,” says Nich.

Both Wellington High and Motueka High have two years of experience using the new literacy and numeracy standards, having taken part in the 2022 pilot and the opt-in year in 2023.

Insights from experience

Insights from their experience have led both schools to work towards integrating literacy and numeracy in the teaching of all subjects.

“Developing students’ literacy skills has always been a high priority for us,” says Caroline. “We know that students with levels of literacy below for their age will not be able to access the rest of the curriculum.”

At Motueka High School, literacy and numeracy coordinators have been appointed to upskill all teachers in Years 9 and 10 so they can integrate literacy and numeracy across all subjects.

“We have not nailed it yet, but we recognise that it’s an absolute priority,” says Nich.

Maximising students’ chances of success

Apart from embedding literacy and numeracy across the curriculum, both Wellington High School and Motueka High School offer a range of support to maximise their students’ chances of success in the CAAs.

Motueka High offers ’literacy boost’, a Taikura core class for Māori students, and a senior literacy support class for students in Year 11 and above who have not yet achieved the literacy component of the co-requisite.

With strong ties to 14 feeder schools in the Tasman District, the school can identify and provide literacy and numeracy support to students who need it from Year 9.

Starting this year, the school is also hosting primary school teachers from across the district to observe Year 9 English and maths classes during its “open door” week.

Nich says observing the classes enables the primary teachers to tailor their teaching to the students preparing to transition to secondary school – ultimately strengthening literacy and numeracy skills.

At Wellington High, extra literacy and numeracy support includes an after-school homework club staffed by staff and students from Years 11–13 as tutors.

“We try to build up our students all the time and say, ‘you’ve got as many chances as you like to pass this. It would be great if you could pass it the first time, but you can have another go later’,” says Caroline.

Building students’ confidence is key, so both schools ensure students in Years 9 and 10 do practice exams. They also teach them practical skills such as navigating a keyboard since the numeracy test may involve equations and formulas.

A formula for writing

To improve students’ writing skills, the English department at Motueka High School created a formula that has since been adopted by two other schools in the Nelson region. The formula is referred to as “PASTTV”: purpose, audience, structure, tone, techniques and vocabulary.

“It has become a part of our explicit teaching at all levels when we are planning and preparing student writing as well as our reading activities,” says Nich.

To help further reduce test anxiety, students at Motueka High sit the literacy-reading test before moving on to the literacy-writing test.

“Based on our experience, students who pass the literacy-reading assessment are most likely to pass the literacy-writing test, so we stagger the two assessments,” explains Nich.

Impressive results

The strategy is showing promise. Motueka High’s literacyreading results increased from 68 percent in 2022 to 88 percent in 2023, while its literacy-writing results nearly doubled from 44 percent to 86 percent over the same period.

Wellington High School also has impressive CAA attainment results in 2023: 91.3 percent in literacy-reading, 85.8 percent in literacy-writing and 81.5 percent in numeracy.

“Our numbers are quite high because we were pretty accurate with our assessment of who was ready to be entered,” says Caroline.

“Our achievement numbers are quite high because we were pretty accurate with our assessment of who was ready to be entered.”
Caroline Lewis
31 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024

Protecting your kura and school networks from VPNs

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can be a way to protect personal or business data online. In kura and schools they’re a potential security risk –they give students a way to get around firewalls and access inappropriate content. Together with Network for Learning (N4L), Education Gazette looks at how VPNs work, how they’re used and what support is available.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are marketed as a way to protect privacy and get around virtual blockades.

Some people use them as a sneaky way to get around region blocks and watch TV shows not available in New Zealand, others use them to protect their data while using public wifi, and some businesses set them up so remote staff can securely access work tools and data.

The technology works well for those purposes and, in most cases, it’s a relatively harmless workaround or useful tool. However, in schools and kura, the story is a bit different.

VPNs can be a way for ākonga to find a way around the filters, firewalls and monitoring you’ve set up to protect your network.

What is a VPN?

Usually when you browse the internet, your activity is routed through an IP (Internet Protocol) address linked to your home connection or a public network. When you access a site or app, it can ‘see’ your IP and know where your requests are coming from.

When you sign up and use a VPN, it creates a private digital connection between your device and a remote server, which hides your IP address and lets you sidestep online blocks. It’s often described as a digital ‘tunnel’ that lets you browse without exposing personal data or letting online monitors know where you’re located.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to use a VPN but for schools or kura trying to protect their networks,

32 Education Gazette
A VPN creates a private connection between your device and a remote server.

VPNs can present risks. A student who downloads a VPN on a school device or BYOD may access inappropriate content usually blocked by network security without your system flagging the search.

Another risk is the way VPNs function. When you download a free or paid VPN, your device becomes part of the wider VPN network managed by the provider.

This is known as peer-to-peer networking, which means traffic from other users may be routed through your device and IP address. In rare cases, this can mean inappropriate or even illegal content can be linked to your school IP address or devices.

Detection the best protection

How can you protect your school network against tech designed to hide browsing activity and sneak around security software?

This is where N4L comes in. Their Safe & Secure Internet service includes VPN blocking, which blocks any attempt to download a VPN from a known provider.

N4L subscribes to several services that actively search for new VPNs and add them to their block list, which helps minimise the risk of a student getting around your firewall.

Emerging VPNs can make things difficult, but in many cases, N4L can spot VPN usage on your network and alert you.

A recent story from one school illustrates the risks of VPNs and the importance of constant monitoring.

N4L’s security team detected malicious and inappropriate traffic on a school-owned computer. Oddly, the issue was happening outside school hours and well into the night when no students or teachers were on the premises.

With support from N4L, the school investigated the device and found a free VPN had been installed that used peer-to-peer networking.

Traffic from other VPN users was routed through the school device and IP address, making it look like inappropriate browsing was happening on the school network.

The outcome? The school was able to delete the VPN from the device, removing the threat to the network and stopping inappropriate content at the source.

Tech solutions

While they can’t spot every single breach, N4L network security includes built-in VPN detection, with constant updates to catch new threats as they emerge.

It’s not infallible, but it’s the best way to protect your network from risky or inappropriate content slipping through the virtual cracks.

Find out more about creating a secure network for your school or kura at You can also contact them via or 0800 LEARNING (0800 532 764).

Getting ākonga on board

As with any security issue in schools or kura, user behaviour is a factor. You can block and monitor all you like, but you can’t always prevent risky online behaviour, such as clicking on a suspect link or trying to view inappropriate content.

It’s important to educate both ākonga and kaimahi about online cyber risks – including risks with VPNs –and making mention of them in your user agreements.

For more information and support, visit

33 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
VPNs present risks for schools and kura protecting their networks. Auckland artist Sara Moana’s illustrations are throughout the report.


Young people share how an inclusive Aotearoa starts at school

In a new report, young people shared that their most common experiences of racism had happened at school, but it was educationfocused solutions that would be instrumental in addressing the issue.


This is one of the key messages from young people in a new report released by Mana Mokopuna – Children and Young People’s Commission.

“Without racism Aotearoa would be better”: Mokopuna share their experiences of racism and solutions to end it is a unique snapshot of children and young people’s voices gathered from across Aotearoa New Zealand over a twoyear period, sharing both their deep lived experience of racism and their aspirations for a more inclusive future.

As all educators will know, racism is one of the big issues affecting the lives of young people, and one that they want to see positive action on. In this report, a vision for a more caring and fair future shines through, with a clear message: young people want to be part of this change, but we all need to take responsibility.

Elevating youth voice

To ensure a range of perspectives were heard, Mana Mokopuna talked to young people in various settings in the community including schools, at special events and in youth justice residences.

Some of these engagements were carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the National Iwi Chairs Forum, as an integral step in the development of the National Action Plan Against Racism.

The voices in the report warranted their own publication, to showcase the honestly described experiences and vision they expressed. These voices are reported verbatim throughout the report and arranged into five broad themes:

» we experience racism in lots of different ways

» racism is everywhere

» connection to my culture helps me feel that I belong

» we have aspirations for an Aotearoa that is free from racism

» we have lots of solutions to end racism, but action is essential.

Many of the young people shared that their most common experiences of racism had occurred in school and education settings. At the same time, they said it was education-focused solutions that would be instrumental in addressing racism.

Both Māori and non-Māori children said they believed the answers to a better society lie in te ao Māori.

Chief Children’s Commissioner Dr Claire Achmad is encouraging teachers and school leaders to read the report and have open conversations with ākonga about practical, actionable ideas to help end racism in schools.

“Our education spaces must be inclusive, celebrate difference and support all ākonga in their learning ... [Young people] are presenting practical solutions so their education spaces can be safe for learning, so they can thrive to their full potential.

“I’m encouraging every single educator in every school around the motu to jump onto our website and download this report and read it.”

Sharing the impact

Kingslea School principal Tina Lomax is responsible for a network of special composite schools, including those that serve youth justice and care and protection residences. Some of the voices in the report were those of Kingslea students, and she encourages teachers and principals across the motu to pay attention to what they have to say.

“As educators we often do things we think our students need and want, rather than what they really do. The perspectives shared in this report are quite enlightening.

“I think principals and their staff really need to unpack this report and see where they could do better in their schools. As school leaders, we’re in a very powerful position and you can’t deny these examples of what young people are telling us,” she says.

Tina says the solutions that young people offer in the report, especially those that are grounded in te ao Māori, resonate with her experience.

35 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024

“It’s not rocket science. What works well for Māori, works for all our ākonga. If we want them to succeed at school, they have to feel they belong there.”

Lucy Bristow says her students at Selwyn College are deeply aware of and engaged in social justice. As an English teacher, she would introduce the report as a component of a wide selection of related literature, such as poetry and short stories. She would take care to create a safe space for class discussion as well as personal responses to the theme.

“Young people are very aware of issues and especially those that impact their generation. Racism is a heavy kaupapa but it is an issue they are thinking, talking and writing about.”

Lucy agrees with Tina that the report could be a valuable resource in an educator’s professional development kete.

Listening for change

A crucial part of the work Claire does is to talk with children and young people across Aotearoa, listen to them and share their perspectives and ideas for change. In the report’s foreword, she invites readers to listen to them and act too.

“Every day of childhood and youth is precious. Let’s listen carefully to the voices of the children and young people of Aotearoa New Zealand, for their childhoods are in progress today.

“Let’s listen to their experiences, their pain, their aspirations and to their powerful calls for change – one that is for all of us.”

Claire acknowledges that racism is a sensitive topic and it can be very difficult to think, talk or read about it, especially for those who have experienced it.

“But it’s also something that children and young people have told us they want to be visible and brought into the light.”

“Without racism Aotearoa would be better”: Mokopuna share their experiences of racism and solutions to end it is available in both full and ‘at a glance’ formats, and in both te reo Māori and English. Printed copies of the report in te reo Māori are available to kura and schools on request by emailing

Mana Mokopuna – Children and Young People’s Commission is an independent Crown entity established on 1 July 2023, to promote and protect the rights of children and young people in New Zealand. They advocate for policies and practices that ensure children and young people have a voice in decisions that affect them and that their rights are upheld.

36 Education Gazette

Creating a more inclusive environment

The report outlines ideas directly from children and young people on how kura and schools can be more inclusive.

» “Make te reo Māori compulsory in schools, not just in Māori schools”.

» “(Hold a) culture day in schools to showcase all diversity in the school”.

» “Jump jam – bring back in te reo Māori”.

» “Schools and teachers should act when there is racist bullying”.

» “More Māori and Pacific parents needed on the school board”.

» “Hire teachers from other cultures, religions and backgrounds”.

» “Celebrate and integrate culture in all ways such as artwork through school, school architecture, speakers invited to school”.

» “Workshops – run by young people for young people – (to) talk about different cultures, experiences in a new country and belonging”.

» “Learn about Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.

» “Not just Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, extend (it) beyond the week”.

Further reading and resources

Facilitating conversations about racism must be done with preparation and care to create a safe environment where ākonga feel comfortable to participate in the conversation and share their perspectives.

Useful resources include:

» Race Unity Speech Awards curriculum resources and lesson plans:

» Human Rights Commission – Social Cohesion for Schools:

» Free 0800 What’s Up, free counselling for children and teens in Aotearoa New Zealand:

» Unteach Racism (Teaching Council of Aotearoa):

For more ideas and inspiration, read the Education Gazette series on inclusive education at gazette.

The new report from

37 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024
Mana Mokopuna – Children and Young People’s Commission.

Assessing the privacy implications of new tech

Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster explores how kura and schools can protect student privacy when introducing a new system or technology.

Kura and schools should have existing systems in place to protect students’ personal information.

But what can be done to protect students’ privacy when a change is being suggested to a process or system? Education Gazette explores this question with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC).

Protecting privacy

Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster says when thinking about changing how to collect personal information, implementing new technology, or adding new software, school leaders should be aware of how to do this in a privacy protective way and meet their

obligations under the Privacy Act.

The OPC recommends factoring a privacy impact assessment (PIA) into existing processes as one way to achieve this.

“You don’t need to be a tech genius or privacy expert to do this as we’ve developed some tools and documents to help you succeed,” says Michael.

“It’s quite natural to think about the possibilities a new tool or tech can offer, especially if you’re at the end of a sales call, but as a teacher, or school staff member, you also need to dig further and really understand what it might mean for the children you look after.”

38 Education Gazette

Privacy assessments

Doing a PIA will help kura and schools assess any new systems and identify the privacy risks present and any mitigations to protect privacy.

“A PIA will also help you understand whether you are meeting your obligations under the Privacy Act. You just need to follow some basic steps to help you assess and address privacy risks,” explains Michael.

Schools and kura can also refer to Safer Technologies for Schools (ST4S), an initiative recommended by the Ministry of Education to help take some of the guesswork out of choosing technology for schools and kura.

ST4S provides a catalogue of reports on commonly used school software, which have been assessed against a comprehensive set of security and privacy standards. The reports identify any risks associated with requirements that are not fully met and advise as to how these might be mitigated.

A good example of new technology being increasingly used is artifical intelligence (AI). Michael says it can bring significant benefits, but it also introduces new risks that need to be managed to minimise privacy harm.

“It might be tempting to use AI for jobs like writing school report comments, and some schools are doing that. But let me caution that when you’re using AI (or AI systems like report writers) you still need to be complying with the Privacy Act.”

Policy and processes

There are several things kura and schools can do to make sure they are only collecting, using, and sharing personal information in a safe and transparent way.

“They should make sure their basic privacy policy and processes are firmly in place. That will set them up to think about privacy issues with their school community,” says Michael.

In the case of AI, kura and schools should let parents know what they are planning to do, then give them an opportunity to talk through potential benefits and concerns. If the school decides to go ahead, they could let parents who remain uncomfortable opt out of using AI for their children’s reports.

“Thinking about privacy is vital for using any new tool or technology well, so before making a change, make sure you are going through the correct processes to limit any privacy risk to children and young people.”

More information about the OPC’s privacy impact assessments can be found at

For more guidance on artificial intelligence and ST4S from the Ministry of Education, visit education.

Social media and privacy

Concern about social media use was one of the three themes raised by experts in an Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) survey on children and young people’s privacy in New Zealand.

The three key themes that emerged from the survey were:

» social media is a major concern, and a combination of guidance and regulatory changes are needed to manage this risk to children’s privacy

» more guidance is needed to help professionals, parents and children better understand privacy risks

» some regulatory changes could better protect children’s privacy, including changing the Privacy Act to include a right to be forgotten, introducing a requirement to consider the best interests of the child, or creating a code of practice.

The OPC is working to develop privacy guidance for people who work with children and young people, including professionals in the education sector. Further engagement and next steps will be announced in late 2024.

For teachers and school leaders interested in finding out more, see details of the project at

Privacy Week

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner marks Privacy Week each year to promote privacy awareness, inform people of their rights under the Privacy Act, and help educate agencies about their responsibilities. This year, it was marked on 13-17 May and included presentations on protecting children in the digital age, debunking the myth that young people don’t care about privacy, and safeguarding children and young people’s privacy.

Learn more at

39 Tukutuku Kōrero 10 June 2024

Do you have a vacancy that you would like to advertise to the education sector?

Place an advertisement in the vacancies section and reach both the passive and active jobseekers by contacting Jill Parker: 027 212 9277


Somerfield Te Kura Wairepo School, Christchurch. (U6, Years 1 - 6)

Our school is renowned for its commitment to building strong leadership and teacher practice, along with fostering excellence, wellbeing and creativity in its ākonga.

We have dedicated staff, a supportive Board of Trustees, PTA, wider community, and a vibrant learning environment. Somerfield is dedicated to preparing ākonga for success in an ever-changing world.

Position overview:

As the Tumuaki/Principal of Somerfield Te Kura Wairepo, you will lead a dedicated team of educators in providing an exceptional educational experience for ākonga. You will have the opportunity to shape the school's vision, inspire innovation, and promote a culture of collaboration, equity and excellence.

The successful candidate will demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities, and a deep understanding of teaching and learning practice and curriculum development. You will have a passion for nurturing the growth and wellbeing of every ākonga and kaimahi.

Join us in shaping the future of education at Somerfield Te Kura Wairepo Primary School.

Download an application pack from

Applications close 5pm, Friday 5th July 2024.

Apply today and embark on an exciting journey of leadership and learning!

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• Is strategic, agile, and can work in partnership to secure the best for the tamariki, whānau and community.

To learn more about our school, what we seek in a Principal, and to apply for this position, please visit:

Applications close on Friday the 12th of July at 5pm


Understanding Dyslexia

Your guide to the strengths and challenges of dyslexic thinking.

� How to identify and support dyslexic students

� Evidence-based strategies for reducing learning barriers

� Inspirational case studies from inclusive educators


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