Opunake Coastal News Column - Raising achievement in schools

Columns
Thursday, February 11, 2016

e are well into February and wasn’t it great to hear that we had won the most sunshine hours for New Zealand in January! I think we all knew we had that in the bag with all the incredible weather we have been having this summer.
As we head into a new parliamentary year I am looking forward to working hard again for this region.  It was fantastic to hear the announcement of the SH3 project getting the green light, which will see up to $90 million spent on Mt Messenger and up to $15 million on the Awakino Gorge Tunnel.  With many of us driving north, this will a much safer route for all, including the many trucking companies and the tourists that are coming to enjoy our region.
With many of us being back at work for quite some time, our kiwi kids are now back in the classroom for the new school year.
National is working hard to ensure all our kids have the opportunity to engage in learning that meets their needs.  We want to make sure they’re getting the best education they can.
We want to see greater collaboration between schools, improved transition through the education system for children, and better career pathways for teachers.
National’s $359 million education initiative will achieve that through Communities of Learning. These involve groups of schools working together to improve educational outcomes.
Kids will benefit from shared teaching practices and expertise, with teachers working alongside each other on goals to help improve outcomes in the classroom.
There are Communities of Learning now working together across every region in the country with students from primary, secondary, intermediate, and area schools.  There are 96 communities involving 793 schools and more than 250,000 kids.
We’re also providing the infrastructure to support our schools.  Part of ensuring every child gets the best possible education is providing modern learning environments. 
The Government has invested more than $4 billion in school property maintenance, growth, and modernisation over the past seven years – more than a 30 per cent increase on the previous seven years.
The Government has also invested in and rolled out fibre connections to 90 per cent of schools so far, connecting them to the Network for Learning.  The network provides fast, reliable internet complete with uncapped data, web filtering, and network security services.  The remaining 10 per cent of schools will be able to connect this year.
National is harnessing the latest technology to deliver the best learning opportunities for New Zealand children. Better internet access and connectivity with the world will prepare students for living and working in the modern world. 
We are working hard to ensure all Kiwi kids have the resources and support they need to engage in learning and succeed.
This wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated teachers, our school leaders, and parents and whanau who make sure their kids are getting to school on time and doing their homework.
Together, we’re all making sure Kiwi children have the best shot at achieving in school and going on to lead happy, successful lives.