From tots to teens – the 2016 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Award winners

Issue: Volume 95, Number 11

Posted: 20 June 2016
Reference #: 1H9d2Q

A young parents’ college with its own early childcare centre, a boys’ school, a Māori immersion early childhood centre, New Zealand’s largest secondary school and a girls’ Catholic high school were all winners at this year’s Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

McAuley High School, from South Auckland, were the big winners on the night, taking home the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award/Takiri ko te ata plus the award for Excellence in Engaging/Atahāpara

Winners were announced at a ceremony held at Auckland Museum on the evening of 13 June.

McAuley High School in Auckland was the big winner, taking home the Supreme Award and the award for Excellence in Engaging.

The judges praised the school’s cohesive values and emphasis of care on every student and their family, with a relentless focus on individual potential and the refusal to give up on any student.

Deputy Principal Curriculum Rachel Williams praised the hard work of staff.

“This is testimony to the hard work put in by all staff members over a sustained period of time. It is also a wonderful acknowledgement of the commitment that the wider McAuley High School community has made to the education of our young Catholic women.”

The Education Focus Prize went to Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College and Early Learning Centre, based in Canterbury. The focus this year was on health and wellbeing.

Former student at the college Amanda Anthony explained what Karanga Mai means to her.

“With the birth of Katie came a great selfless love which drove me to be more than I could have ever been without the opportunity to succeed here at Karanga Mai. With dedication and determination, from staff and students combined, it really is a place where dreams become reality.”

The award for Excellence in Leading went to Rotorua Boys’ High School, which was described by the judges as a “role model of transformation”. They praised the outstanding lift in achievement that’s underway, demonstrating how a shared vision and focus on respecting the ability and character of each boy transforms their learning.

Principal Chris Grinter praised everyone who’d supported and contributed to the boys’ stories of success.

“It has been a team effort and immensely rewarding to see our students enjoying great success as young Māori men. We are proud to be a winner. Whaia te iti kahurangi.”

Te Puna Reo o Puna Kaiti is a Māori immersion early childhood education centre based in Gisborne. The judges chose the centre as winner of the Teaching and Learning award, acknowledging how this Puna Reo based teaching and learning on their local iwi identity of Poroutanga so that the mana of each child and their whānau is respected and enhanced.

Erana Haerewa said they are honoured to receive the award.

“We have strived to deliver a curriculum authentic for our tamariki so they can stand tall as Māori leaders of the future instilled with values and tikanga.”

Awarding Rangitoto College the Excellence in Governing award, the judges praised the governance of the Board of Trustees at Rangitoto College for showing them to be masters of complexity in scale and in culture.

Vice-Chair of the Rangitoto College Board of Trustees Mike Shaw said, “I’m passionate about school governance and the important role it plays in setting the direction and expectations for schools. The Awards have been a great way of examining the impact of our decisions and in demonstrating to our community the strength of the governance and leadership present within the school.”

Winners from each category were awarded $20,000 and a professional development opportunity. The Supreme Award winner received an additional $30,000 and an opportunity to represent New Zealand education.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the record number of award entries demonstrates the great work being done across New Zealand. “The winners and all the finalists are a credit to the teaching profession. They showed the difference that great teaching and great leadership backed by strong governance make to kids’ lives.”

This was the third Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards and attracted more than 200 entries.

Lisa Rodgers, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement at the Ministry of Education, praised the calibre of all the finalists.

“These awards are designed to celebrate the high quality of teaching and education practice in New Zealand. This year’s winners are testimony to the hard work being done by staff and students, from early learning to senior school every day, right across the country.”

For more information please visit the Prime Minister's Awards website(external link) 

We’ll be providing coverage of each of the winners in future issues of Education Gazette.

Award categories

The Awards concentrate on qualities that are internationally recognised as critical to raising student achievement. There are four award categories as well as the 2016 Education Focus prize.

One of the winners from the four award categories is selected for the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award.

Prime Minister’s Supreme Award
Takiri Ko Te Ata Award

  • This award is selected from the winners in the Award categories and determined by the extent of improvement and impact on education outcomes.

Excellence In Engaging Award
Atahāpara Award

  • This award celebrates working together as a community to transform relationships and achievement, leading to improved and sustained outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence In Leading Award
Atakura Award

  • This award celebrates leadership and influences that have strengthened professional capability and created a change in conditions, leading to improved and sustained outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence In Teaching And Learning Award
Atatū Award

  • This award celebrates teaching that transforms the learning of all children and young people, and achieves improved and sustained outcomes for them all.

Excellence In Governing Award
Awatea Award

  • This award celebrates governance and management that create the conditions for leading and teaching that improve and sustain outcomes for all children and young people

2016 Education Focus Prize
Takatū Prize

  • The 2016 prize celebrates a focus on collaboration along the whole education pathway to improve health, wellbeing, and learning success for every child and young person.

Ngā Puna O Waiorea kapa haka group kicked off the ceremony with a stunning waiata and haka

Sir Graham Henry spoke via video on behalf of the judging panel. He noted the pride, passion and ability to connect with young New Zealanders that was evident in the award entries

Students from Rotorua Boys’ High School accept the award for Excellence in Leading/Atakura from Prime Minister John Key and Education Minister Hekia Parata

Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti from Gisborne took home the award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning/Atatū

The Education Focus/Takatū award was won by Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College and Early Learning Centre in Kaiapoi, Canterbury. The focus prize celebrated collaboration along the whole education pathway to improve health, wellbeing, and learning success for every child and young person

New Zealand’s largest school, Rangitoto College from Auckland’s North Shore, claimed the Excellence in Governing/Awatea award

Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti performing a waiata when accepting their award for Teaching and Learning/Atatū

Rotorua Boys’ High School won the award for Excellence in Leading/Atakura

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 5:47 pm, 20 June 2016

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