Express to Success

June 2016


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In an effort to raise Māori achievement rates for NCEA Level 2, the Ministry has partnered with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to provide five learning support hubs.

Māori achievement rates for NCEA are improving. Ministry data shows that just under 68 per cent of Māori students achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2014 compared with 57 per cent in 2011. In 2009 it was just over half. Everyone wants to see this trend continue, but how?

The ‘Express to Success’ homework hubs initiative is the latest government initiative at targeting Māori achievement.

Five new learning support hubs are being established around the upper North Island to assist 16- to 18-year-old Māori with their learning. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa will run the Express to Success hubs from its campuses in Kaikohe, Mangere, Hamilton and Gisborne as well as from Tarawera High School in Kawerau. Further hubs are planned for Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu/Whanganui, and the South Island at a later stage.

The first Express to Success hub recently opened in Hamilton.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa northern region director Matiu Payne is keen to see students who are not achieving in the mainstream school environment receive the necessary support to re-engage them as learners and help them achieve NCEA.

“The partnership with the Education Ministry means more successful young ones are coming up. While mainstream schools continue to not meet targets for Māori and Pasifika, particularly kids in mainstream environments, we can assist through things like the homework hub,” he told Stuff.

“We’re making sure families know we’re here, not only for the adult students but also for the young ones, and we’re opening the doors for schools to come in and use our facilities.”

The hubs will usually run for one evening each week, and will feature other events such as marae stays.

Minister of Education Hekia Parata says the hubs will connect Māori parents and whānau with their children’s learning.

“We want the hubs to be fun and exciting places where young people can catch up or get ahead, and sharpen the tools and skills they need to attain NCEA Level 2,” says Parata. “Support will be tailored to the circumstances of each individual.

“It is really important for whānau to go along with their kids. The hubs will also offer activities for younger siblings at primary school and in early learning, and will give parents and whānau the tools and confidence to help their children at all ages.”

The hubs are not just for those still at school.

“In fact we specifically want to reach our young people who have left school without achieving NCEA Level 2,” says Parata. “The hubs offer those young people a chance to get back into education, with help and support.”

Steps to raising achievement

The Express to Success hubs initiative joins other programmes aimed at boosting achievement levels for Māori and Pasifika students.

The University of Auckland’s Starpath project has recently introduced an online toolkit aimed at helping more young Māori, Pasifika and first in family students proceed to university. As things stand, just 11 per cent of university students are Māori and eight per cent are Pasifika. The free toolkit includes checklists for NCEA attainment and University Entrance; embeds data utilisation skills among staff; enables better academic planning, and will help improve engagement with students and their families and whānau.

Count Me In is another initiative, aimed at helping Māori and Pasifika aged 16 to 18 who have left school without NCEA Level 2 to achieve a Level 2 qualification.

Similarly, Youth Guarantee initiatives also aim to improve the transition from school to further study, work or training. They point students in the direction of the Vocational Pathways to help them get the necessary qualifications and training for their chosen career.

Last year’s Pasifika Power Up for NCEA programme was another example. The programme started with an eight-week study course aimed at supporting people in their preparation for NCEA exams. Eight ‘power stations’ were established in churches, community centres and schools to help students and their families plan, prepare and study for NCEA.

Collectively these projects are hoped to help achievement levels for Māori and Pasifika young people continue their upward trajectory.

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