Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards 2019 finalists announced

Issue: Volume 98, Number 11

Posted: 27 June 2019
Reference #: 1H9vY0

Outstanding work is happening in early learning services, kura and schools across the country, as evidenced by the finalists in this year’s Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards celebrate and share the stories of great teaching that makes a difference not just to learners but to their whānau and the wider community. 

This year’s finalists succeeded by working in partnership with their students, whānau and communities to significantly improve learning outcomes for children and young people. 

Elstree Kindergarten, Rotorua

Excellence in Engaging 

This kindergarten developed a strong partnership with its local marae and a shared vision with its community, to ensure tikanga is strongly embedded in children’s learning. This formed strong relationships between tamariki, kaiako, whānau, and the marae, with te reo, waiata, pakiwaitara, karakia and māra kai becoming an integral part of the programme.

The relationship with the marae has ensured mātauranga Māori and te reo are evident in teaching and learning, in ways that reflect the identity and language of Māori children and their whānau. 

The children, with the support of their whānau, have become culturally competent, confident and connected, and have developed positive attitudes towards hauora through a community garden project.

Fairhaven School, Toitoi Manawa, Te Puke

Excellence in Leading
Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Education 

Toitoi Manawa is an immersion unit at Fairhaven School, which offers a whānau-led and established Māori-medium setting where tamariki are succeeding as Māori. Toitoi Manawa delivers localised relevant learning experiences that enhance Māori success.

Kaiako undertook professional development and aligned best practices. It also reviewed the support needed for the students and included relevant services as part of that support. Consultation with kaumatua, iwi and whānau is a key part of the unit’s success.

The improvement in academic outcomes has been significant, particularly in literacy. There has also been a huge improvement in student and whānau engagement with the school. Whanaungatanga and kotahitanga underpin Toitoi Manawa’s holistic approach to Māori education.

Halswell Residential College, Christchurch

Excellence in Engaging 

Halswell Residential College focused on modernising its programme to provide a 24/7 educational environment, and developed a joined-up, intensive intervention and wrap-around programme for its students.

The college used research to achieve and sustain improved outcomes for students by developing active and powerful connections with Te Kahu Toi Intensive Wrap-around Service (IWS), the students and their whānau. 

It also deepened its professional knowledge, distributed its leadership structure, invested in staff wellbeing, developed a culture of collaboration and reflection, operated a restorative model and introduced therapeutic elements into its practice. 

This resulted in deep engagement in student learning, self-management and enhanced ability to develop positive relationships.

The programme saw improvements in academic, social and emotional outcomes. 

Holy Family School, Porirua

Excellence in Engaging 

Whānau and family engagement, and capacity building have been at the forefront for Holy Family School for the past four years. The school has identified multiculturalism as one of its strengths.

It focused on meeting the needs of all students, particularly on transforming relationships between home and school, through a programme called The Family So’otaga. 

It has developed a professional development framework focusing on connecting learners with their whānau. Its mantra of going above and beyond for whānau is embedded across the school. 

The school’s roll has increased, educational outcomes for children have substantially improved, and positive connections with families have strengthened learning partnerships.

Manutuke School, Manutuke

2019 Education Focus Prize – Excellence in Māori-medium Education

Manutuke School developed an innovative programme, Taki Akina, an effective intervention strategy and teaching tool to improve te reo Māori skills and competency of their kaiako and tamariki and enhance learning outcomes across the school. 

The school examined selected texts and children’s reading levels when retelling these texts, to assess progress. They also ensured that all kaiako and whānau were actively involved in Taki Akina. 

There has been a significant improvement in oral language acquisition and competency in te reo Māori, for both kaiako and tamariki across the school. 

Three other schools are involved in the project: Tolaga Bay Area School (Uawa), Waikirikiri School (Gisborne), and Wairoa Primary School.

Nayland College, Nelson

Excellence in Leading

The college has been on a transformational pathway for the past five years. It reflected on leadership, attitude, values and entrenched systems and initiated a values-based approach to teaching and learning. It localised the curriculum and made a research-grounded shift in teaching practices which has transformed learning across the school. 

The implementation of cultural responsiveness and relational strategies has ensured the college is a safe, supportive and respectful environment for all learners. Learning is now a true partnership between home and the college.

The result has been an increase in the school roll and retention of students in the senior years. Achievement levels have significantly increased, particularly for Māori students.

Ōpoutere School, Coromandel

Excellence in Teaching and Learning 

This school has developed the Adventure Learning Programme, an innovative and unique approach to teaching and learning that aims to build on the potential of its learners and improve engagement with students and their whānau.

The approach focused on expanding success for Māori learners through challenging outdoor experiences.

The school engaged a specialist teacher and shifted its teaching practices to develop competencies that enable lifelong learning. This includes fostering connections with students and with their local environment, providing opportunities for leadership and service to others, and setting high expectations.

Students’ key competencies have improved in relation to thinking, use of language symbols and text, managing self, participating and contributing, and relating to others.

Rotorua Boys’ High School, Rotorua

Excellence in Leading
Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Education

Through effective leadership and culturally responsive teaching and learning, this high school focused on a journey of achievement for students living in its hostel – Tai Mitchell House. Teachers as housemasters and strong involvement with whānau have provided increased educational opportunities for the students.

The school and hostel set out to remove the disparity of educational achievement by focusing positively on Māori potential. Māori enjoying educational success as Māori has led to outstanding academic results.

Te Kauwhata College, Te Kauwhata

Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Education 

This college recognised the need for powerful sustained connections with parents and whānau and formed a group called Manaakitangata to support students. It made connections with the local community and worked collaboratively and creatively to find solutions. 

A wellbeing survey of students helped the college to identify areas of risk.
A risk register was created, and this was further developed into a wellbeing register so the college’s most at-risk students can access the support they need to enable them to reach their potential.

A Kaitiaki Hauora role has been established to support Māori students in a culturally sensitive way.

As a result, students can cope better, build resilience and develop a positive disposition. Students have become proactive in seeking the support they need and are attending classes. 

Te Kōhanga Reo ki Rotokawa, Rotorua

Excellence in Teaching and Learning
2019 Education Focus Prize – Excellence in Māori-medium Education

This kōhanga developed Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho, an assessment approach that uses wānanga and is grounded in kaupapa Māori principles. The approach empowered kaiako to document, analyse and present progress and achievement in a Māori way while acknowledging the important role of whānau.

Tracking progress through Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho has resulted in mokopuna becoming more confident, creative and connected in te reo and tikanga Māori.

Connections with whānau have also been strengthened, and whānau now assume a shared role in identifying and analysing learning for all kōhanga reo mokopuna.

Tiaki Early Learning Centre, Rotorua

Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Education 

The kindergarten set out to connect with its local community and its history and culture, so that the children can access the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional benefits these connections offer. 

The centre reviewed its vision in consultation with whānau and local marae and made connections with local schools. It wanted the children to benefit from a strong relationship with the land to enhance their health and wellbeing and that of Papatūānuku (Mother Earth). The programme includes environmental activities with an aim towards zero waste, and plant-based meals for their learners, supported through the development of vegetable gardens. 

The centre, which values place-based education, initiated a Tangata Whenuatanga day in the community involving all the children, and a visit to their marae every week.

There has been significant growth in the health and wellbeing of the children. Learners have also developed respect and appreciation of Papatūānuku. The children have gone on to display these characteristics when they start school.

Te Kōhanga Reo o Tarimano, Awahou-North Rotorua

Excellence in Engaging
2019 Education Focus Prize – Excellence in Māori-medium Education

The focus was on getting whānau fully engaged, to enable the kōhanga to reach its full potential, and to improve and sustain positive outcomes for tamariki as well as the iwi of Ngāti Rangiwewehi.

The kōhanga looked at the level of awareness of whānau, accessibility and barriers to attending hui, and whānau perception of the benefits of kōhanga for their tamariki. 

To streamline processes, the leadership structure was changed, and one management committee created for whānau. Online tools are now used to engage whānau with tamariki learning and curriculum design. Collaboration with the wider iwi ensures that iwi supports and contributes to the success of the kōhanga. 

The kōhanga has also increased its engagement with the wider Ngāti Rangiwewehi community through various community projects, creating a stronger community.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae, Auckland

2019 Education Focus Prize – Excellence in Māori-medium Education

The kura implemented Te Kete Uru Ao, a programme that ensures every learner is equipped with the tools to be successful in their chosen pathways. 

Te Kete Uru Ao offers the students practical skills and qualifications to prepare them for adult life and work. This involves a kaupapa Māori learning environment, culturally empowering teaching practice and relevant learning programmes. It also involves strong connections with whānau, tertiary providers, industry and employers. 

Students are leaving the kura with positive attitudes to lifelong learning, work skills, resilience and a willingness to learn.

Waimairi Primary School, Christchurch

Excellence in Leading 

This school focused on smoothing children’s transitions from early learning services to the school. It developed a new way of teaching and learning that incorporates Te Whāriki early learning curriculum. 

Programmes have become more child-focused, with opportunities to further improve through feedback and continuous engagement. The result is happy, engaged children who settle into school easily, are involved in learning and enjoying their own progress. 

Winton Kindergarten, Winton

Excellence in Teaching and Learning

This kindergarten’s nature-based programme aims to support learners to develop a strong sense of ecological identity and participate as active citizens of their community. 

As a result, children are making strong connections with the land, with strong connections also being developed between kaiako, tamariki, whānau, and the local community. The children thrive in an environment where their language, culture and identity are valued and are reflected in the curriculum design. 

Award categories

The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award

Selected from the winners in the award categories and determined by the extent of improvement and impact on education outcomes.

Excellence in Engaging Award 

Celebrates working together as a community to transform relationships and strengthen achievement, leading to improved and sustained outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence in Leading Award 

Celebrates leadership and its influence on strengthening professional capability and creating a change in conditions, leading to improved and sustained outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award 

Celebrates teaching that transforms the learning of all children and young people, and achieves improved and sustained outcomes.

Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Education Award

Celebrates practices that enhance the health and wellbeing of all children and young people, and achieves improved and sustained outcomes.

2019 Education Focus Prize – Excellence in Māori-medium Education

Celebrates Māori-medium education in kōhanga reo and ngā puna kōhungahunga (early learning services), kura, schools and wharekura that delivers excellent outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi. 

The Education Focus Prize is a stand-alone prize, the theme of which changes every year. It is not eligible for the Supreme Award Winner prize.

More on the Awards

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Wellington, in September.

Winners from each category will receive $20,000 and a professional development opportunity. 

The Supreme Award winner will receive an additional $30,000 and an opportunity to represent New Zealand at an international education conference. 

Members of the independent judging panel of education experts are visiting the finalists between June and August to see their work and speak with all those involved. 

A video of each finalist group is made which details the programme from their entry, allowing their story to be shared and enabling others to find out more and follow in their footsteps. 

Go to the awards’ website(external link) to be inspired by the stories of our past finalists and winners and to find out more.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:45 am, 27 June 2019

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