Parent: It’s about everyone having an input on a whole. It’s not just the teachers are there, the whānau's there, we are all one unit working together hopefully.
Principal: Kia ora I’m Sue Ngarimu-Goldsmith and I’m the principal at Te Kura o Hiruharama up here on the east coast.
We went through a process of engaging our whānau to identify what their priorities were. The driving force behind this was that our new board of trustees recognised that our school charter needed to be updated and refreshed.
The board of trustees designed a series of questionnaires and surveys. There were six of them and they were sent out one questionnaire or survey each week for a period of six weeks. I was tasked with the, it was quite a daunting task actually, of having to aggregate all of the information from the surveys and questionnaires to find out what sorts of things is important to our whānau and their responses to the board’s questions.
Parent: There isn’t really a definition between whānau and the management of the school, the teachers, we’re all one unit, and we all work together, we are all involved in all aspects of our children’s learning and we make the decisions together.
Principal: For somebody who was a reasonably new principal at the time it was a wonderful thing for me to do because I could actually see what everyone was thinking and what they wanted for their children. After that was done what we did as a board is we called a series of whānau hui. And each whānau hui had, there was its own little kaupapa for each whānau hui, and one of the first ones was to take back the information and data that had been collected and aggregated from all the surveys and questionnaires and to get the big picture and feed back that to our whānau to make sure, is this correct? Are these things that we’ve identified correct? Is this what you’re saying to us?
We did a lot of brainstorming and discussion in small groups around a graduate profile. What we posed was what does an ideal Hiruharama graduate look like? What sorts of skills do they need? What sorts of attributes do they have? What knowledge would they possess? What kind of person would they be?
That was done with whānau it was also done with staff and there were discussions held with children. And then all of that information came in together to see where the alignments and the commonalities were with what do we want for our kids here at Hiruharama, what does our graduate look like. And that whole concept of the graduate profile came out of early explorations of the Marautanga, we need to be using both of these documents.
It took quite a while to go through that series of questionnaires, surveys, hui, but at the end of that process, come the time when the charter and our strategic direction had to be redone it was really really easy for the board and myself to work through that because we were so thoroughly informed about what’s really important, what do we want, what are the non negotiables here, that the charter just came together really easily and really quickly. And it was, you know, I’ve always felt that because it was informed by our whānau then it is a really meaningful document for us. There were some quite big changes that happened as a result of that process. Probably the biggest change that happened was our school mission statement was changed, that’s the only word that I can use, and there was realignment of the vision statements so that those vision statements made a connect into the curriculum, and but also really connected strongly to what our whānau had been telling us that they wanted. So that was, that was quite a big change. And then as we continued to work through our strategic direction things at school started to make shifts and changes.
Now of those three key priorities, one of them was around Hiruharamatanga, around identity, around children knowing who they are, where they’re from, how they connect with each other, understanding about their history, what does it mean for them today and in the future, te reo, tikanga, so that cultural aspect.
Student: I like learning about my ancestors because it makes me proud like sometimes it gives you a wake up call, like you’re like finding out all this stuff, and then you’re like, oh that’s my papa, oh that’s my nanny, it’s like cool.
Student: I like learning about my tīpuna because I get to know more of how they lived then, things like that, and how poor they were, just makes me feel like we’re lucky today with all our resources.
Principal: A second thing that was really important was that our whānau are really values driven people. They want their kids to be people of character, good citizens, they want them to be making positive contributions in their future lives. It means about being good to other people, being kind, being generous of spirit, and to have some real key values entrenched into them.
Parent: It’s not just about the learning, it’s about being together whakawhanaungatanga, we bring food, we eat together, because sometimes that’s where all the good kōrero comes from, sharing those things, but it’s about being really involved in our children’s learning.
Principal: The other thing that shone through really clearly was that it was important for our whānau for the kids to be literate, to be numerate, to be achieving, making progress, to be doing things that help to realise their inherent potential and to love learning.