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Minister welcomes Rotorua education initiative

Hon Hekia Parata

Minister of Education

24 May 2013

Minister welcomes Rotorua education initiative

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Rotorua MP Todd McClay have announced a major initiative aimed at improving the educational success of Rotorua’s children and young people.

Ms Parata says the new education-focused initiative is all about growing healthy, safe, well-educated children and young people in Rotorua.

“This initiative will provide a unique opportunity to explore how a community-led approach can work to enhance children’s learning. The programme will allow our communities to work with local schools and early childhood services to deal with the issues that affect their children’s learning,” says Ms Parata.

The Rotorua education initiative is the first of its kind in the suite of government Social Sector Trials which focus on improving social outcomes for young people in New Zealand. Six trials were launched in 2011 and a further 10 are being set up in other communities around New Zealand starting in July 2013.

“We know children’s learning is influenced by a range of factors. While quality teaching and educational leadership have the greatest impact on children and young people being successful learners, positive influences outside of this can add to increased success,’’ says Ms Parata.

“Education success requires everyone in a young person’s community to be actively involved. The responsibility must therefore be shared by early childhood educators, schools, families, whānau and communities.’’

Mr McClay says the Rotorua education initiative focuses on five important outcomes – getting more children into early learning; ensuring more children have strong literacy and numeracy skills; increasing the number of young people leaving secondary schools with NCEA Level 2; and making it much easier for them to enter into further education, training and jobs. It will also aim to reduce risky behaviour including alcohol and drug use, sexual behaviour and offending.

“The first Social Sector Trials brought communities together to find local answers, to their local problems and issues. The first trials have shown that they are a useful way to make the most of community resources and rally the community behind getting better results for their young people,” Mr McClay says.

Mr McClay says Government had committed significant resources to enable communities to target specific local challenges in ways that are appropriate for each community. Like the Children’s Team underway in Rotorua, professionals from the education, health, justice and social services sectors will work together to implement the trials in partnership with the local community.

“The Rotorua education initiative is focussed on children and young people aged 0 -18 years. It will be led by a contracted local community organisation or individual employed by the Government. This is a huge opportunity to lead and focus the resources of the Rotorua community on ensuring better educational success of our children.

“Its success will rely on everyone putting children and young people, and their learning and education first, and working together to make this happen,” says Mr McClay.

Ms Parata and Mr McClay agree that a successful model in Rotorua could lead the way for similar approaches in other communities.

ends

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