By: Ruby Harfield

William Colenso College principal Daniel Murfitt. Photo/File

Public Achievement Information data released by the Ministry of Education shows Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne has the second highest rate of students leaving school with NCEA Level 3 since 2012 at 44.8 per cent.

Nearly a third of all Pasifika students in Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne are also achieving a vocational pathway award.

Between 2013 and 2016 Pasifika students achieving this award in the region rose from 13.9 per cent to 28.7 per cent which is more than a 106 per cent increase.

William Colenso College principal Daniel Murfitt said there were several reasons for these increases.

Firstly, schools in general were responding better to Pasifika students and engaging them in subjects of interest as well as working with communities and families.

At William Colenso, where 10 percent of students were Pasifika, there were a number of role models within the school community.

A former deputy head girl, who visited the school often, had just finished her Masters in Nursing and the current head girl, Tala Upumatu, is Samoan, he said.

There had also been good work in engaging students with the EIT Trades academy and students were staying at school longer.

“I fundamentally believe that what works well for Maori and Pasifika students works well for all.”

However, he believed that what works well for non-Pasifika students has not worked well for Pasifika students in the past, he said.

Hastings Boys’ High School principal Robert Sturch also believed the school’s relationship with EIT had helped as well as support from students of Pasifika families.

“I have noticed that Pasifika students stay in school longer than any other ethnic group, families put a lot of emphasis in education.”

Sixteen percent of students at the school were Pasifika and the school had spend more time making sure the students interests aligned with their subjects.

Subjects had also changed within the curriculum to ensure more opportunities outside of school in terms of further education and employment opportunities, he said.

“They see the relevance in staying in school.”

Tamatea High School principal Robin Fabish said although there was only a small percentage of Pasifika students at his school, over the past three years the number of those passing Level 3 had been pleasing.

“Although we’ve only got small numbers they do very well here at our school.”

There has also been a 3.4 percentage point increase in all students achieving National Standards in maths in Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne since 2012 and a 2.1 percentage point increase in writing.

Ministry of Education acting deputy secretary of Early Learning and Student Achievement Pauline Cleaver said primary school pupils in the Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne area have achieved the biggest nationwide improvement in National Standards in maths and writing.

“This is testament to the great work being done in the classroom by teachers in Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne.”

Pasifika students in Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne are also leaving school with the qualifications they need to either go on to further study or into the workforce, she said.

Education Minister Nikki Kaye yesterday released a plan to support schools and early learning providers to further lift achievement in maths and writing around the country.

Earlier this year the Government announced a new Better Public Service goal to have at least 80 percent of children in Year 8 achieving at or above the National Standard in maths and writing or reaching Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori expectations in pāngarau and tuhituhi, by 2021.

Source: Hawke’s Bay Today

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