Maramatanga - Perspective He pakaru a waka e taea te raupine mai A damaged vehicle can be repaired
E te whānau, ngā tumuaki o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou katoa
First, a very quick reminder that if you intend voting in the NZPF elections this year, make sure that you have paid your NZPF subscription. Only financial members of NZPF are eligible to vote. The last day for subscription payments is FRIDAY AUGUST 25th.
PLD Strategy Thank you for your very helpful feedback on developing a PLD strategy with the Education Council. I will ensure that it is passed on to Frances Nelson, who currently has a role with the Education Council to lead this work and brings the professional voice to the table. Many of you have expressed your concerns that current Ministry funded PLD offerings are all based on National Standards and you want that to stop. You want PLD opportunities for a range of different topics so that you can continue to support broad curriculum offerings in your schools. Your NZPF executive agrees with you and we have passed on these comments with your other contributions.
You can also contribute by filling in a brief survey. The link to the survey is included in a notice from the Centre for Education Leadership at Auckland University (below) in the section headed 'Useful Information'. The Leadership Centre has been engaged by the Education Council to conduct this survey.
Special Education Earlier this week, I visited the Halswell Residential College in Christchurch. I had never fully understood the role of this residential school and wanted to better understand the purpose and the work of the teachers and staff at the school. I also wanted to know the capacity of the school and whether it might be an appropriate option for more young people, given we are hearing about difficulties many of you are having trying to manage the behaviour of the severely challenged youngsters in your schools.
First I want to pay tribute to the work of Janine Harrington, the principal, Dave Turnbull the Board Chair and the outstanding teaching and support staff of the school. It is impossible to apply yourself to working at Halswell if you do not love and care deeply for the young people resident at this school and accept that they have such severe learning and behavioural challenges. There is no way these youngsters could function and learn safely in any other environment, at least not for the time being.
Not only have many of the Halswell residents been born with severe afflictions but life for many of them has dealt further abuse and neglect, compounding their already fragile states. These young people deserve the very best of everything we can possibly give them and the cost to us as tax-payers should not be a consideration. What I found at Halswell was a beautiful environment with very new, well appointed 'houses', each catering for 5 - 8 residents. The staff are expert in their fields and incredibly resilient. They are truly exceptional people. We should be reading each of their names on our country's annual honours list.
Equally impressive was the way in which, working together in a collaborative culture, the teachers and support staff were running academic, social and recreational programmes that these young people were completely engaged in. I do not believe that in any other place we have the mix of specialist expertise as I witnessed at Halswell. Equally, the gains these young people are making are giving them opportunities for their futures. The education they are receiving at Halswell, at all levels, means that a number of them may be integrated into the mainstream in the future and certainly many will be able to take their place in a society and workforce when the time comes.
Halswell Residential College has room for more young people who could benefit from the intensive specialist expertise available. The great fear is, however, that the Residential College is on a trajectory for closure. NZPF will be advocating strongly for the continuation of the school and indeed for expanding its capacity. As some have already said, we have not seen anything yet, until we feel the full brunt of the 'p-baby' (methamphetamine) generation coming through. So many of those children will, like the current residents at Halswell, be advantaged, if not saved, by keeping this option available.
Well-being - Hauora I have also just attended a very useful seminar on well-being research in Melbourne, where I met with Canadian and Australian researchers and school leaders engaged in well-being for school leadership. The issues facing school leaders world-wide are reflected in our own country. This is one of NZPF's strategic goals and we intend to put a paper together based on the research evidence which we can use in our work to address well-being issues for school leaders in New Zealand.
Thanks again for all your feedback and please keep it coming.