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PM Launches Study Support Centre

PM Launches Study Support Centre At Christchurch School


Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the establishment of government-funded study support centres throughout New Zealand would help to lift the educational achievement of thousands of primary school students.

Helen Clark was speaking at Wainoni School, in the Christchurch suburb of Aranui, where this afternoon she officially launched New Zealand's first government-funded study support centre.

Study support centres help senior primary students at risk of under-achievement to develop good study habits within a supportive, well-resourced environment.

"Study support centres are an excellent example of the type of proven, locally-driven initiative which the coalition is keen to support. In our first Budget we allocated $7.5 million for study support centres, which up until now have tended to be operated on a somewhat ad hoc basis.

”Wainoni School in Christchurch will receive $12,000 to run its study support centre for a year. It will cater for about thirty children – twenty per cent of the school's roll.

"I congratulate the efforts of Wainoni School principal Jack Morris QSM in setting up a homework centre at the school three years ago.

"These centres can make a big difference to the educational achievement of children attending low decile schools. Even by providing children with something to eat and drink after school, these centres can make all the difference to children's study habits.

"Government funding provides centres, like the one at Wainoni School, with more certainty, pays for qualified staff supervision, and will increase the information technology available to the students.

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"The government is committed to resourcing study support centres throughout New Zealand.

"The Ministry of Education is currently in the process of working through more than 50 proposals for study support centres. Several hundred other schools and organisations are known to be considering applications," Helen Clark said.


Questions and Answers About Study Support Centres

What is the study support centre initiative?

It is a way in which the Government can financially support schools and community groups to establish study support centres, also known as homework centres, which will provide additional educational support to senior primary school students who are at-risk of under-achievement.

What is a study support centre?
Study support centres will provide after-school educational support for students. They will do this by helping students develop study habits that will assist their learning and achievement. This could involve helping with homework, helping students to catch up work missed through illness, or helping them adjust if they have recently changed schools. Study support centres will provide students with additional learning resources.

What sort of resources will study support centres have?
The most important resource will be a registered teacher, but there may also be other supportive adults. All study support centres will have access to computers, the internet and other suitable resource material such as reference books.

Who can set up a study support centre?
Schools or community groups with an interest in assisting students from disadvantaged areas to achieve their potential. Preference will be given to joint applications from community groups and schools, or to groups of schools that work co-operatively to meet community needs. Schools that apply, need to be those that teach senior primary school students (this will normally mean year 5 to 8 students). They will also need to be decile 1, 2 or 3 schools, and have a roll size over 100 students.

Does this mean that small schools cannot get financial support for study support centres?
No, provided the small school makes a joint application with another school, or schools, its application will be considered.

What about isolated and rural schools?
The Ministry will work with interested groups of schools to investigate how ICT technology can be used to provide study support centres to students in isolated areas.

How does a school or community group go about setting up a study support centre?
To be eligible for Government funding assistance, the school or community group must apply to the Ministry of Education using the attached application form. Your application needs to explain how the study support centre's programme will operate to meet the needs of students at-risk of under-achievement. This includes hours of opening (which must be regular and for a minimum of six hours a week), supervision arrangements, and an assurance that the study support centre will meet minimum requirements. Further information is available from the local offices of the Ministry in Auckland, Hamilton, Wanganui, Lower Hutt, Christchurch or Dunedin. (Alternatively, you can phone the Ministry’s National Office, 0-4-463 8000 and ask for National Operations Student Support.)

Why does a community group or non-school provider need incorporated society status?
If the funding under this initiative is not going to a school, then the Ministry of Education is required to recognise the body/provider being funded under Section 321 of the Education Act. This means that body corporate status is required before approval to fund a study support centre can be given.

What are the minimum requirements for funding?
The minimum requirements are: a supervisor who is a registered teacher; suitable facilities for students to study which are comfortable and welcoming; adequate computers and internet access; suitable learning resources; and food and drink that students of this age normally need to provide an energy boost after school. Schools establishing study support centres need to show they could cater for at least 10% of their senior primary aged students.

How much money will a study support centre get?
This depends on the nature of the application. Applications need to be reasonable, but study support centres that operate for longer hours or for larger numbers of students can expect more financial assistance than other applicants. The Government expects to provide assistance to over 150 study support centres throughout the country. The decision on the level of funding provided will be made by the local Ministry of Education office.

What can the money be spent on?
The Government's contribution can only be spent on running costs such as staffing or day-to-day expenditure. It cannot be spent on capital items such as buildings or computers.

Why can't study support centre funding be spent on buildings?
The Government wants this funding to be spent in ways that help students learn. Most areas have spare buildings somewhere in the community, or in schools themselves, that can be used. Study support centre funding could be used to rent a building, if this was necessary.

Do students have to spend their whole time studying?
No. The aim of this initiative is to foster study skills and habits, however, study support centres will be encouraged to assist students to access other activities that broaden their horizons and increase their potential.

Why can't secondary schools get the benefit of study support centre assistance?
Secondary schools will indirectly benefit from study support centres. The purpose of the initiative is to help students establish good patterns of learning at a young age. Good learning habits, if established early in life, will carry over into secondary school. Study support centres are about establishing sound foundations.

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