Auckland children will be supported by the Government to get back on track with their learning for the remainder of 2021 and into next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti have announced.
“Restrictions in Auckland and long periods of distance learning will have impacted on the progress of some children and young people. We are providing nearly $15 million to help them to get back into learning in the classroom as soon as it is safe for them to do so,” Minister Hipkins said.
“The investment will help our older students who are returning to school and heading into exams, and support younger students to get back to face-to-face learning soon. We are currently speaking to primary schools and the wider sector about an indicative date of November 15.”
Minister Tinetti said the package will include a range of targeted support.
“It will include community-based support and targeted funding for schools, and be used for counselling, learning support and initiatives to encourage attendance,” she said.
“We want to help those students who are finding it tough to stay engaged with their learning through the remainder of term 4 and support them over summer so they return to school and kura next year.”
A $3 million Rapid Resurgence Fund will go directly to schools and kura that have identified students with immediate needs and who need support to stay engaged in learning at school.
“Schools and kura will be able to decide themselves how best to use the funds – for example to employ extra personnel, mentoring or other services to reach students and their whānau and support their re-engagement in school,” Ms Tinetti said.
“There will also be an extra 300 student places available for year 9 and above in Te Kura to help students catch up and plan for the year ahead. The programme includes a mixed model of individualised distance and face-to-face learning (once it is safe to do so), and one-on-one mentoring.
“Students can enrol with Te Kura during term 4 into He Oranga Māhuru. This targeted, wraparound support programme is aimed at building relationships with students. Te Kura 300 will be ready to deploy in term one of next year.
“We’re making sure there are a range of measures in place to support children and young people through this tumultuous time.”
Components of the re-engagement package for 2021/22 include:
- $6 million in targeted support through providers to meet the immediate needs of Māori and Pacific students within their whānau so they can re-engage in learning, either back at school, online or with another education provider.
- A $3 million Rapid Resurgence Fund to provide immediate and flexible support to schools – allocation to focus on Māori and Pacific students and weighted for equity.
- $2.2 million to deploy the Te Kura 300 programme to support at-risk students in Auckland to stay engaged, or re-engage, in learning.
- $1.5 million additional counselling support to improve the wellbeing of students, focusing on years six to nine.
- $1.0 million for students with identified learning support needs, including those with disabilities.
- $630,000 to scale up Check & Connect in Auckland to provide additional mentors for at-risk students referred to the service by schools and kura.
- $600,000 increase for the Attendance Service capacity – to rapidly connect with and actively support learners to re-engage with school.