Inclusion from every angle

Issue: Volume 99, Number 3

Posted: 27 February 2020
Reference #: 1HA5wC

Manurewa Intermediate School in South Auckland approaches inclusion from every angle, looking not only at how to make students feel included, but also staff and whānau.

Manurewa Intermediate School saw a huge turnout from its school community for its recent night market.

"We talk about being strongly values-driven to encourage inclusion among our kids, so we should surely be carrying that out to our staffing situation as well,” says principal Iain Taylor.

The school employs 10 full-time learning assistants (teacher aides) on a salary basis at a rate above what teacher aides are typically paid. Not only does this give the learning assistants job security and satisfaction, but it helps to create productive and consistent relationships with the students.

“In my first few years here it was a real challenge trying to find staff at the drop of a hat,” says Iain, “So I investigated with the Board of Trustees and said, ‘it’s going to cost us a lot more than what we’re funded for but if we do this we’ll get good people, and they’ll be effective at their job’. 

“It also represents all the values that drive us to be an inclusive school. Our learning assistants all tend to be from within our community and live in the area so they’ve got connections into our whānau and families – and that is a huge advantage.”

Iain says whānau are encouraged to feel welcome at school. Smaller class sizes enable teachers to make connections with parents. In the first week of term, for example, every teacher rings every student’s family to help establish positive relationships. 

“It all enables us to be more adaptive to the kid, rather than making the kid adapt to us. And it’s working. They’re learning. They’re having fun. They want to be here.”

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BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:45 pm, 27 February 2020

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