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Te Kura’s Big Picture Learning Pilot finalist for PM's Award

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Te Kura’s Big Picture Learning Pilot finalist for Prime Minister’s Award

A programme with the motto ‘one student at a time in a community of learners’ is a finalist in the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards for the Education Focus Prize – Takatū. The Prize celebrates outstanding inclusive practices that enable all children and young people to succeed.

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura)’s Big Picture Learning Pilots were established in 2014 at six sites across New Zealand. Eighty of the school’s most at-risk students and their whānau were invited to join the initiative, which delivers personalised and authentic learning programmes. The Pilots were requested and supported by the Ministry of Education.

Te Kura Chief Executive Mike Hollings says, “Big Picture Learning originates in America, as a response to students increasingly becoming disengaged from school because they couldn’t see the relevance or purpose of their learning. This model is a way to fully personalise learning for each student with plans that focus on each student’s interests and passions and, importantly, their potential.”

The participating students’ wellbeing, engagement in learning and achievement have improved over the four years of the Pilot. Their individual learning programmes include setting goals, pursuing their passions and exploring career options through internships. Members of the wider community have been an important part of these Pilots, mentoring students and connecting their learning goals to the world beyond school.

“Everything I learnt through Te Kura has supported me and helped me get to where I am, so I am pursuing all of my passions. It’s so rewarding to work in this industry because everything I do I see results for.” says former Pilot student Rhiannon Treadway. Rhiannon’s interest in animals led to a placement with Carlyle Veterinary Clinic in Napier. She’s now working for the Clinic and training to be a veterinary nurse.

Mike Hollings says Big Picture Learning also offers opportunities for the wider school, “As a distance education provider with a cumulative roll of well over 20,000 students a year, we were already teaching one student at a time rather than classes or cohorts. Many of our students come to us after a period of being disengaged from learning. We need to make their education relevant and personalised, celebrate their strengths and provide them with the support to reach their potential. Big Picture Learning enhances this approach.”

Te Kura is one of three finalists for the Prime Minister’s Education Focus Prize – Takatū. Mike Hollings says, “It’s great to have this recognition for the students, their whānau, the educators and the wider community who have participated in these Pilots. They have shown real commitment and passion.” The winner of the Award is announced at an event on Tuesday 3 July.

The following video features Te Kura Chief Executive Mike Hollings, Te Kura Hastings Big Picture Pilot students, whānau, educators and community mentors:

watch the Big Picture Learning video on YouTube


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