Petone school begins programme to help pupils learning in te reo
A PETONE principal who has been critical of national standards is hoping a te reo Maori adaptation will better serve his bilingual students.
Petone Central School is the only school in the area that teaches in te reo as well as English, and principal Iosua Esera is excited to introduce ‘Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori’ system into his school.
‘Nga Whanaketanga’ is a programme used to aid learning in te reo Maori between years one to eight.
It was designed for learning in Maori including Maori literacy as well as math skills.
Matua Iosua is optimistic about the first year with the system and is “expect[ing] our Maori students to do very well”.
The new system will suit the dual-language school well where two-thirds of pupils are of Maori descent and most of whom do their learning in Maori.
Matua Iosua, as he is known at the school, explains his criticism of national standards.
“It was almost seen by people that that was the cure to lifting the performance by [Maori and Pasifika kids] that are not suited by the system.
“It was not the silver bullet it was sold to be.”
The Samoan-born principal feels though that standards are far from the key to a child’s education.
“Quality teaching in the classroom, 90% of the answer lies there.”
The quality of teaching at Petone Central is of high importance to the principal also.
“I’ve got a lot of students here that if we don’t do a good job at school they’ll be on the street.”
The Maori population at Petone Central is much higher than in surrounding schools, the nearest being Wilford with only a third of the school Maori.
Matua Iosua believes that one of the reasons for this is that the school provides a good service for Maori students.