Te Kura programmes expanded to support ākonga in Auckland

Issue: Volume 99, Number 19

Posted: 19 November 2020
Reference #: 1HAEbF

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) is expanding its Big Picture and NCEA catch-up programmes in term 4 and over the summer to provide additional support for Auckland students following this year’s Covid-19 disruptions.

In an unsettling and stressful year, it’s heartening to know additional steps are being taken to support Auckland ākonga affected by disruptions due to Covid-19.

Across the region senior students are facing a range of challenges. Some have already left school or are significantly behind and at risk of disengaging, others have faced barriers to participating in learning this year. There are also ākonga who may only need a few additional credits to gain an NCEA or University Entrance.

To support these students the Ministry of Education has partnered with Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) to expand its programmes in term 4 and over the summer.

Te Kura Chief Executive Mike Hollings says the temporary expansion of its Big Picture and NCEA catch-up programmes to accommodate more students will provide an opportunity to have a positive impact for Auckland ākonga who enrol.

“We are pleased to play a part in the joint effort of the Ministry of Education and other educators, schools, and kura to support students and whānau affected by Covid-19.”

Maintaining contact, engagement and wellbeing

Big Picture learning, introduced at Te Kura a decade ago, is an approach that puts the student at the centre of their learning –
it’s highly personalised and based on the student’s interests, passions and potential.

Te Kura educator Evan Shewchuk says Big Picture meets a specific need for students, with its kaupapa of supportive positivity.

“The pandemic had a mixed impact on our students. Our focus during the lockdowns was around maintaining contact and engagement, and ensuring ākonga wellbeing through regular online huinga ako that allowed us to interact as a group along with one-on-one contact with ākonga and their whānau through individual virtual catch-ups.”

“Overall, we worked hard to meet the needs of our ākonga in very trying and disruptive circumstances, and now we’re expanding that approach to help many more ākonga who have not re-engaged for one reason or another since the lockdowns ended.”

Pathway to an exciting career

This approach has taken one of Evan’s students on an inspirational journey towards a career in the outdoors.

Liam Amanono says being part of the programme has kept him interested and engaged. He lives in Massey with his whānau and is now in his final year.

Liam’s advice to anyone considering enrolling is “Go for it – give it a try! I’ve found it good for me, it’s helped me develop my confidence and being able to work at your own pace is good. Keep an open mind, try new things!”

Liam enjoys the flexibility of Big Picture learning, saying it keeps him motivated as the focus is on things he enjoys including outdoor activities. This focus has helped shape his career aspirations.

“I’m close to achieving NCEA Level 3 and next year I’m going to Unitec to do a Diploma in Outdoor and Adventure Education at Adventure Works.”

Passion projects help maintain motivation

Big Picture has also helped Kaitaia student Dawid Steenkamp decide what he might do next. When he talks about Big Picture’s ‘passion projects’ it’s obvious Dawid is passionate about the programme and what the future may hold for him. He’s still working through his options, perhaps a building apprenticeship or a blacksmithing course so he can build on his Big Picture learning.

“I love practical projects! They’re good fun and you learn faster than with paperwork projects. I love anything hands-on, like farming, horticulture, woodwork, blacksmithing and knife-making.”

Dawid discovered the art of knife-making through a Big Picture project. An interest in metalwork led to an interest in blacksmithing and learning how knives are made.

“Big Picture helps you continue with your passion whatever that might be. For me that became knife-making. I loved that project because I could also show other people how to make a knife. I like to share my skills with others!”

Covid-19 meant Dawid couldn’t see his friends or go to the beach, but he decided to look on the bright side of the situation.

“It’s good to take up a new challenge so I thought of it as an opportunity to try new things. Doing all my learning online was harder – it was challenging but I could see how my teachers persevered. I also like learning from the other students – it’s a really cool experience. When you first meet someone you only see the outside of them but then you get to see the inside of them when they talk about something they are interested in, whether it’s beekeeping or surfing, novel writing or clockmaking.”

Ākonga working at their own pace

With Te Kura’s targeted dual-tuition programme, eligible students remain enrolled at their school while accessing targeted support from Te Kura in one or two NCEA subjects. This allows students to choose a few standards to focus on and work through their courses at their own pace.

Ākonga enrolled in this programme also have the option to continue their studies during Summer School, so they can access further support to catch up on their NCEA goals.

Offering flexible, highly personalised programmes based on each student’s interests, passions and potential means motivation remains high, even in challenging times. Te Rina Leonard, Te Kura’s Deputy Chief Executive: Learning Delivery says many young people have faced – and continue to face – multiple challenges due to Covid-19 disruptions.

“Te Kura is committed to doing whatever it takes to support these students to re-engage with their learning and reset their journey back into education.”

At a glance: Te Kura supporting Auckland ākonga

Te Kura 400 learning programme (a version of Big Picture) is for students who are disengaged, or at risk of disengaging from education. There are 400 additional places in this programme for Auckland ākonga in term 4, with online and face-to-face learning available at locations all around the Auckland region. Eligible students can either enrol full-time with Te Kura or stay enrolled at their school while they participate in the Te Kura 400 learning programme.

The targeted dual-tuition programme is aimed at senior secondary students in Auckland with some engagement in learning, but who are at risk of not achieving their NCEA goals for the year. There are up to 3,000 additional places in this online programme in term 4 for ākonga who need additional support in one or two subjects.

Summer School is for students throughout Aotearoa who, at the end of term 4, need up to approximately 10 additional credits to achieve an NCEA or University Entrance and progress to further study, training, or employment. This programme is delivered nationwide, with extra places available to support Auckland ākonga. Summer School runs over the summer break from 21 December. Registrations are now open.

Want to know more

More information about the Big Picture and targeted dual-tuition programmes(external link) is on the Te Kura website or email Akl2020.Tekuraresponse@education.govt.nz(external link).  

Information about Summer School(external link) is also available on Te Kura’s website or email summerschool@tekura.school.nz.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 11:54 am, 19 November 2020

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