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Education Forum gets political!

Education Forum gets political!


A new group, the Porirua Education Forum, seeking to provide more support for and better overall co-ordination in the Porirua Education sector, is holding a public Education meeting with candidates for Mana and Te Tai Haurauru at Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

This year the Whitireia Community Polytechnic has been taking a lead in seeking to give more focus and voice to Education in Porirua. Earlier this year, Don Campbell, who took over as Chief Executive in September 2006, convened a small group of local educators to begin to find ways in which teachers, early childhood centres, schools, and the polytechnic could work better together.

Called the Porirua Education Forum, the aim of the group would be find ways for educators to assist each other, to strengthen what is done, to do some research to better assess what is going on and how that might be improved. Co-opted to the group were Dr Roger Blakeley, Chief Executive Officer at the Porirua City Council and Russell Marshall, a former Minister of Education and of Pacific Island Affairs, now living in Paremata.      

Three months ago, in July, about 70 educators people gathered for the Forum’s first event at Whitireia’s new Wikitoria Katene building. After presentations from speakers representing Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sectors and from Dr Blakely, those present spent some time brainstorming about issues they would like the Forum to consider in an endeavour to assist in an improvement in support for local education and educators.    

The July meeting was chaired by Russell Marshall, who will also chair the Candidates Education Meeting. He notes the unusual mix of schools in the Porirua community. ‘We are in the rather strange position that our schools are generally at the ends of the spectrum, in that they are almost all either Decile 1 or Decile 10, with very few anywhere between. This means that Porirua schools are generally in either some of the country’s most affluent or some of its poorest neighbourhoods.’ Marshall acknowledges that the way in which funding and support systems have evolved mean that schools in poorer communities receive much more assistance than those in wealthier suburbs. ‘ The  Ministry of Education funded Achievement Porirua has also given a considerable lift to local schools, not least in areas such as numeracy and literacy.’ 

Nevertheless, Marshall believes that there is still room for improvement in the support given to schools, including those which struggle to recruit and retain teachers and which always have difficulty in finding parents able and willing to serve on Boards of Trustees. He says that the Forum is well aware that there have previously been a number of such initiatives. ‘Something has been learned and some things achieved each time. We hope to build on progress made and lessons learned from those earlier activities.’     

The Forum has arranged a meeting on October 30 for local election candidates to listen to teachers talking about the issues which concern them, and for the candidates to give an idea about the responses their parties would make, if elected to office on November 8.  

This Education Election Meeting will be held at Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Lecture Theatre, Wikitoria Katene building on Thursday 30 October from 5pm to 7pm. It is hoped a significant number of teachers and trustees from early childhood centres, schools and other education providers, as well as interested members of the public, will attend. 

Candidates Education Forum

Whitireia Community Polytechnic

Lecture Theatre, Wikitoria Katene building



Thursday October 30, 5.00pm to 7.00 pm


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