Source: Te Kura – Correspondence School
Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) has welcomed a report from the Education Review Office which shows Te Kura is raising the achievement of the country’s most vulnerable ākonga (students).
And it says that Te Kura is increasingly being relied on to enrol ākonga whose needs are not being met elsewhere, at a time of rising rates of student disengagement and alienation from the education system.
However, it also recognises that the country’s largest school is stretched in being able to meet the high levels of unmet social, education and health needs under its current funding.
Te Kura’s chief executive, Mike Hollings, has welcomed the report’s recommendation to the Ministry of Education to review the school’s funding as a matter of priority.
“ERO quite rightly points out that Te Kura doesn’t have the same access to support and specialist expertise as elsewhere in the system.
“It is inequitable that some of our most disadvantaged and at-risk ākonga are accessing a part of the system that has the least support from the overall education system.”
He says despite those restraints, Te Kura is helping ākonga to succeed with its curriculum, Te Ara Pounamu, which provides personalised learning for ākonga, that is based on their interests and potential and is relevant to their real-world experience.
“They are also able to work in their own time and at their own pace.”
But with greater resourcing, Te Kura could do much more.
“We have wonderful kaiako (teachers) whose commitment and dedication is second to none. We also have a support system and processes that recognise that the wellbeing of our ākonga is all important if they are going to succeed.”
Te Kura has also welcomed ERO’s finding that ākonga who drop out of the system, should be enrolled as quickly as possible at Te Kura. That would mean there would be less risk to them falling completely out of the system, even if they do eventually return to their original school.
“It is unacceptable that sometimes these ākonga can be out of school for as long as two years.”
Mike Hollings says he’s encouraged the evaluation has highlighted a range of opportunities where Te Kura can play a wider role for at-risk ākonga.
“We are also very much looking forward to the prospect of working with the Ministry on some of the big questions facing the New Zealand schooling system and how we find ways to prevent and support the increasing numbers of our tamariki and rangatahi who are disengaged from education.”