Connecting Education and Communities
Whilst most of our funds are distributed in response to applications, in recent years the Trust has set aside some of its resources to work proactively – to focus on a certain issue and address this in a variety of ways, of which grant making is only one. We have other “tools in the toolbox” besides the cheque book – collaboration with other funders and organisations, inviting people together, research, work to improve public policy, and so on.
Following an initial survey of the issues affecting children and young people in New Zealand, we’ve set aside approximately $1.5 million over five years for proactive work around the theme of ‘Connecting Education and Communities’.
We aim to support activity which builds whānau and community engagement in education, supporting better educational outcomes for disadvantaged children. This may also incorporate community development centring on education.
We are taking a multi-level approach, aiming to:
- Support innovative, ‘on-the-ground’ work in a small number of communities
- Strengthen the field by bringing together people with expertise to share and pass on knowledge, and inspire others
- Improve the public policy context through advocacy/communications to affect public policy and change expectations.
So far, we have offered funding to three organisations:
North East Valley Education Council
North East Valley Education Council was started in 2007 by local educators in North East Valley, Dunedin, who wanted to better engage children in learning by addressing the root causes of disengagement, building community in the area served by local schools. Our grant has funded the appointment of Stephen Alexander as a Child and Family Facilitator. Stephen’s role includes coordinating the connections between schools, preschools and the community; developing and managing a volunteer database; and supporting the Education Council.
Horowhenua Pasifika Education Initiative
The Horowhenua Pasifika Education Initiative in Levin is focused on engaging “hard to reach” Pasifika families in early childhood education and throughout their transition to school. The initiative employs two coordinators, Joh Lomu from the Tongan community and Vasega Talai from the Samoan community, to provide appropriate support so families can make informed decisions, leading to on-going success in education and further learning opportunities for their children.
Te Huarahi in Pukekohe was started in 2009 with an overarching vision of “schools and whānau working together to improve educational outcomes for Māori”. Te Huarahi have developed a PATH to achieve this vision, setting out five objectives:
- Every 5 year old Māori child will have accessed some form of Early Childhood education.
- The partnership of schools would offer at least 8 educational opportunities each year to the whānau in our area.
- All schools will participate in a celebration of culture with the Te Huarahi project publishing celebrations of success at least 8 times per year.
- Schools will make face to face contact with every Māori family attending their schools. Treaty of Waitangi workshops will be included in school professional learning plans. Staff will be offered to opportunity to participate in the Mauri Ora programme offered by Te Wananga o Aoteroa.
- 100% of Maori children will be achieving at age appropriate benchmarks and/or personal potential.