New form class approach for Kaikorai Valley College

Seth Tulloch (14) prepares some notes to introduce himself to his new Whanau Group at Kaikorai Valley College yesterday. Photo: Christine O'Connor
Seth Tulloch (14) prepares some notes to introduce himself to his new Whanau Group at Kaikorai Valley College yesterday. Photo: Christine O'Connor
In an attempt to create a more family-oriented atmosphere and improve academic outcomes among its pupils, Kaikorai Valley College has restructured its form classes.

Most New Zealand secondary schools have year level form classes where pupils meet every morning for registration.

Principal Rick Geerlofs said Kaikorai Valley College had historically followed this form of pastoral care, but this year it was decided to establish a relatively new system called Whanau Groups.

‘‘Over the past 12 months we have been investigating a possible restructure that would see the partnership between school, student and whanau being strengthened in a way that brings about more ownership of learning, improved wellbeing and academic outcomes for students.’’

He said under the previous form class system, the roll was marked, daily notices were given, other administrative tasks were done, and form teachers were able to follow up on any pastoral matters.

‘‘This time was not always productive and in some cases became down-time for the students.

‘‘Under the new structure, students ... will be evenly divided into mixed year-level whanau groups.

‘‘These groups will be much smaller in size [10-12 pupils] and will be far more focused in the way the time is used.’’

He said the group meetings would focus on ensuring pupils were set up for the week’s activities, assessments and other appointments; whanau teachers would individually conference with their pupils about pastoral matters, their wellbeing and academic achievement, and what support could be given.

‘‘The conferencing will see students begin to take more ownership of their learning and eventually they will take the lead in driving three-way conversations with parents and teachers.

‘‘They will have a far more informed knowledge of exactly where they are in terms of their learning and what the next steps should be.

‘‘It is also envisaged that senior students, over time, may take on a teaching or mentoring role with the younger students in their whanau groups, allowing them to build some leadership skills.’’

Mr Geerlofs said whanau teachers would remain with their whanau class year after year, meaning pupils would have the same teacher from year 9 to year 13.

‘‘It will also develop a strong bond over time, where the whanau teacher has a very in-depth understanding of the students’ needs and abilities.’’

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter