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Tana Umaga appointed education ambassador

3 February 2005

Tana Umaga appointed education ambassador

Tana Umaga has been appointed as an education ambassador to front a new long-term information programme aimed at encouraging and helping parents to get more involved in their children’s education, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

“I’m incredibly pleased Tana is on board to offer inspiration and help to get information to parents that will enable them to get more involved in their children's education, and help them to learn," Trevor Mallard said at the launch of the project at Wellington's Lyall Bay School.

"Who better to promote this message than a successful Kiwi role model like Tana. He is not only a parent himself but also an inspiration to many people - young and old - because of his commitment, and determination when it comes to rugby. They're qualities that are just as important when it comes to education.

“Like many parents, Tana is passionate about the importance of education for our young people and for our country as a whole," Trevor Mallard said.

"Research clearly shows that parents who are involved in their children’s learning and who encourage their children to be the best they can be, make a real and positive difference to how children learn.

"Families have a role in their children’s education that no one else can play. The influence and involvement of parents, in addition to effective teachers, has a significant and incredibly positive impact on how children achieve. As a government we have focused on and invested heavily in supporting teachers and quality teaching. Now we want to focus on helping parents to get more involved."

Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope said the project was a fantastic opportunity for the Ministry of Education, with Tana’s help, to give parents, families and communities the necessary support and information to get involved in their children's education.

“The government is committed to lifting the education standards of every single student and we are intent on using all the means possible to do this. Parent involvement is crucial and that’s why we’re investing $15.9 million over five years in this project.

"The success of the Te Mana campaign, in using role models to encourage kids to stay on at school, shows the potential of a high profile information campaign in changing attitudes and behaviours," he said.

Trevor Mallard said the programme would target three main areas.

"First, we want parents to have high and accurate expectations about their children's ability to achieve at each stage of their education - from early childhood education onwards. This would be tied into building their knowledge of how and what their children learn.

"We want parents to understand the positive contribution they can make to their children's education and future success, and encourage them to seek out the information that will help them actively support and get involved in their children's learning.

"Finally, we want parents to understand how the education system works and to be confident about interacting in a meaningful way with the teachers who teach their children."

The programme will be launched later this year once a detailed strategy has been developed by the Ministry of Education. It will include mainstream advertising and information and resources to help parents get involved in their children’s learning.

The programme will run alongside existing education information initiatives such as the Te Mana programme, the recently announced edCentre education sector portal and the assessment information that will be made available to parents in coming months which will help them understand how their children are doing at school.

Other government information initiatives for families include the Strategies with Kids Information for Parents (SKIP) programme managed by the Ministry for Social Development, and the Parents as First Teachers (PAFT) programme which helps parents to be more active in their children’s early development and learning.

ENDS

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