Takanini School

The Springboard Trust has made some exciting progress within Primary Schools of late specifically with Takanini School. The Springboard Trust appointed a new staff member in January, Peka also known as Woodie is no the Maori liaison officer for the School. It's the first time the role has been established at the school which was put in place to strengthen biculturalism and tikanga Maori. Takanini School has previously had a number of issues with the student's behavior in regards to disrespecting teachers and peers. Many children attending class with no intentions to learn or set goals. More than 50 per cent of the school's year 1 to 8 students are Maori. Pacific and Indian students also make up much of the role which is under 400 pupils. Woodie believes that helping children connect to their culture is essential and something that he feels very passionate about. Woodie worked in the police for six years as a South Auckland iwi liaison officer, due to this the children look up to him as a role model. Woodie has encouraged many of the students to get more involved in the school picking up extra curriculum activities which has proven successful so far, as the children feel they have more of a purpose within the School. Woodie has been working closely with newly appointed principal Margaret Aikman who believes that raising student achievement is the end goal which they are striving for. This goal is already becoming a reality with reports from teachers that students are concentrating more in class and they feel as though they are being treated with more respect. There was a time when the teachers did not feel entirely safe in the classrooms as they were unable to control the pupils. However since Woodie has started there have already been significant positive changes. Margaret and Woodie act as a team and attend the parent interviews together, they have been getting the parents more involved by discussing dreams and aspirations that parents may have for their children. Essentially without the support of parents it is harder for children to succeed in reaching thier goals. Work still needs to be done in the Takanini School but within only six months noticeable and significant changes are already showing within the School, it will be exciting to follow the School's progress over the next six months.

Brianna Green