In 2017, three Napier based Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako came to the Ministry of Education with concerns about the high levels of disengagement observed in some children, in the age group where there are very few options for supporting their education outside of existing mainstream schooling options.
These three Kāhui Ako, supported by the Ministry of Education, commissioned a report from the University of Waikato to investigate disengagement in the Year 5-8 cohort. The researchers found persistent themes of disengagement, including high transience, low attendance, high rates of suspension and exclusion, and students that were not enrolled in any school.
“There is no doubt that students in the 26 schools represented in this report have access to good quality education.
For most students, school is a happy place and they are able to engage in learning and progress. However a small number of students, for a number of reasons, were disengaged from their learning and from achieving their potential.”
“Students at risk of being suspended or excluded, leave the school to attend another school before this occurs, resulting in the underlying problems not being addressed.”
– Poutama Pounamu, University of Waikato report
As a result of this report, the Kāhui Ako brought together local social sector agencies and whānau representatives to come up with options for supporting students within the Napier area. Te Tupu Managed Moves was born.
We engaged Springboard Trust to help us write a Project Plan that would address the recommendations from the University of Waikato report. Based on the evidence, the cohort was expanded to include Year 3 and 4 students.
The Associate Minister for Education, Tracey Martin, was visiting William Colenso College as a result of their Prime Minister’s Excellence Award for Inclusive Education. The principal, Daniel Murfitt, invited Te Tupu Managed Moves steering group to meet with Minister Martin at the school. We shared with her our journey and our vision to support Napier students in Years 3-8.
Late 2018, early 2019
Minister Martin was impressed by our Project Plan, and our community response to the situation. She advocated for the Te Tupu Managed Moves project at Cabinet, and secured $1.086 million to implement and evaluate the service.
“I met with a group of people from the consortium in Napier last month and they said that a growing group of primary aged students were at risk of being disengaged from the learning process and even the school environment more generally. What they also said, however, was that they had a solution – and I was very pleased, along with Education Minister Chris Hipkins, to be able to take a proposal to cabinet.
“Learners need support before they become disengaged. That support needs to be relevant and tailored to individual students and I believe this service will achieve these aims. We want to help kids stay in school and to take the pressure off classrooms.”
– Associate Minister for Education, Tracey Martin, 18 December 2018
With funding secured, we were able to put our plans into action.
Damien Izzard was appointed to the role of Te Tupu Managed Moves Coordinator, and our fabulous learning environment was provided by Richmond School in Maraenui. Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, the Correspondence School, supported us with teaching staff and the curriculum. We were ready to accept our first students.
Our first cohort of 9 students began with us in Term 3, 2019.