Principal vows to put her money where her mouth is

Dunedin North Intermediate principal Heidi Hayward has won last year’s  Ricoh Study Award which...
Dunedin North Intermediate principal Heidi Hayward has won last year’s Ricoh Study Award which she will use to find ways to make positive changes for troubled and traumatised children. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Heidi Hayward has an opportunity to put her money where her mouth is after winning a major education research award.

Ricoh, the Ministry of Education and the Otago Primary Principals’ Association have awarded the Dunedin North Intermediate principal the 2017 Ricoh Study Award.

In late 2016, Ms Hayward wrote an explosive open letter to the Government expressing her deep concern about the lack of government funding and resources to help several at-risk, troubled and traumatised children at her school.

Since writing the letter, she said she  spent much of 2017 thinking about how things could be done differently to make positive changes for these children.

"I suppose what I’m most concerned about is that we just keep on doing the same old things.

"We’ve been hammering this method of education for goodness knows how many years now, and there aren’t really any viable alternatives for kids in New Zealand."

She said the programmes available to schools for children with behavioural issues worked for about 95% of pupils, but there was "absolutely nothing" for the other 5%.

"They take up enormous amounts of time and energy and resources, and basically you end up in a situation where nobody wins because we don’t recognise that that 5% needs something different.

"All we’re doing is taking away from the other students and teachers."

She hopes to travel to London to look at schools which offer therapeutic education.

She also plans to visit Iceland to look at a programme which helps young people who have risk-taking issues such as using drugs.

"The way they turn around the drug use and risk-taking is they orchestrate natural highs.

"Basically they have teenagers engaged in after-school programmes that are exercise and adventure-based activities."

She also wants to visit the Leeds City Council which puts children at the heart of the city’s growth strategy.

"Their idea is it takes a village to raise a child. Let’s all stop turning a blind eye, and let’s get in here and actually make a difference in our place.

"I’m looking for ideas that we can implement in New Zealand."

Her trip will be for three weeks in June this year.

"I thought if I was going to complain, I better put my money where my mouth is and have some ideas about how we can do things differently."


Sadly her thinking is backward.... and will lead to the negative aspects of segregation that we experienced in NZ when we had special behaviour schools. Ms Hayward would be far better spending her time reading what the research has shown is effective for the 5%. They may look good on the surface but excercise and adventure based programmes have not shown to have good social or education outcomes.

My congratulations to Ms Hayward for winning this award. Times have changed. I was one of the first day pupils at the opening of the new Dunedin North Intermediate who walked from the old DNI school at Logan Park to the new DNI at the gardens in Dunedin in 1956.