More Funding To Improve Literacy In Mangere And Otara

  • Wyatt Creech

Schools in Mangere and Otara are in line for over $6 million extra investment to improve student literacy and strengthen the relationship between schools, early childhood education providers and the Mangere and Otara communities.

The Government has approved the release of up to $6.5 million over three years from its extra Schools Support funding for school-based initiatives to strengthen education in Mangere and Otara.

"The new concept 'Communities in Schools via Literacy' will see communities, schools and early childhood centres working in harmony to improve literacy and student achievement.

"It will strengthen community relationships with schools and bring about better governance, management, leadership and curriculum delivery."

The funding is over and above the $19.5 million the Government recently made available to improve literacy and numeracy nationwide. It is also in addition to the $9 million for the three business plans for Southern Cross Campus, and Tangaroa and Hillary Colleges.

37 schools in Mangere and Otara will be able to tap into the money which will pay for school-based proposals to improve student achievement.

"The Ministry of Education's team in Mangere and Otara has been working with the boards of trustees, school staff and communities in a rigorous process of identifying student needs and analysing approaches for improving student achievement.

"Each proposal will be tailored to the specific needs of the school, providing the catalyst to sustained improvements well into the future."

Rongomai Primary School is the first of the schools to get the go ahead for their project to improve literacy standards. Proposals from Mangere East Primary School and Dawson Road Primary School are next in line for approval.

"Today's announcement opens up opportunities for the Mangere and Otara communities, their schools, and agencies to engage in a positive, co-ordinated approach towards strengthening education. Blaming schools, communities or agencies for problems has not been useful in finding a solution for low literacy levels in recent years.

"'Communities in Schools via Literacy' will help the various groups to accept that low literacy levels are the problem, and to recognise that each group has a responsibility to contribute to the solution."

Increased involvement by families in the schools will invite the values of the Maori and Pacific Islands peoples into the classrooms of Mangere and Otara. Specialists implementing the proposals will train families as well as teachers and administrators.

A new balance in learning opportunities will increase family involvement in literacy programmes. School staff and specialists working with, rather than on behalf of, their communities will find new ways to support student learning in the school and in the home.

"The genuine efforts to put in place school based proposals will contribute towards a better future for the students of Mangere and Otara. The communities and their schools are beginning to support each other in their attempts to create a sustained solution to improve literacy and celebrate the successes."

Mr Creech said the collective efforts of the communities and their schools in Mangere and Otara to strengthen schooling were a delight, and he looked forward to a growing list of success stories as more school-based plans were brought into action.