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National Strategy For At Risk Kids

Trustees Work Together On National Strategy For At Risk Kids

School trustees are being urged to bring some concrete ideas to the table to help form a national strategy to help deal with at risk children.

The brainstorming workshop sessions will take place at the New Zealand School Trustees Association annual conference in Hamilton this weekend.

NZSTA national executive member Lorraine Kerr, of Taupo, is hosting the workshops and wants trustees from all around New Zealand to bring positive ideas.

She says New Zealanders need to look beyond blaming anyone for the problems “at risk children” are facing. But she says first, trustees need to identify what’s going wrong for children in their schools.

“I think the main problems faced by kids today are the huge changes in society and attitudes. For Maori, it’s that they are realising they do now have a say as opposed to allowing others to speak for them.”

She says human nature has a tendency to spring towards negativity and she is hoping trustees working in a group situation can come together and work towards putting together positive statements.

After brainstorming with other trustees, Lorraine Kerr says she will use all the ideas to formulate some form of policy that can be used for at risk children.

“I will distribute the policy to all interested parties, for example the Commissioner for Children, the NZSTA head office, the Ministry of Education and anyone who has an interest in students and education,” she says.

Lorraine Kerr says the strategy is aimed at helping to implement programmes to help change attitudes.

“As a board member I sit in on disciplinary hearings where children come before a board for a huge range of reasons. It is a difficult and intimidating process for these kids and their parents, and maybe one way to help at risk kids is to work on making that process less intimidating.”
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Lorraine Kerr says implementing a national strategy for dealing with at risk children would have a big impact on most schools.

“At the moment schools just deal with their ‘at risk’ students as they see fit, using Ministry of Education guidelines. But I want to see a more human approach – these kids are our future – they deserve the best.”

[ends]

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