Mangawhai school eyes bilingual option

Mangawhai Beach School is asking parents and whānau to indicate whether they are interested in a proposed bilingual program for next year based on a 50 per cent English and 50 per cent te reo Māori curriculum.

The school is considering establishing two classes – one of children from year 1-3 with a maximum of 23 students, and a class of year 4-6 children with a maximum of 26.

“Students will continue to learn literacy and mathematics following the NZ curriculum within a Mātauranga Māori framework,” it says.

Once the school has determined the level of interest, it will provide more details about teachers, timetables and styles of instruction.

In its latest report on the school, the Education Review Office said in 2020 its staff were “highly committed to improving the extent to which te ao Māori is woven throughout the curriculum and reflected in the school environment.”

“Māori students benefit from the deliberate focus on increasing bicultural practices throughout the school. Trustees, staff and whānau provide opportunities for Māori learners to succeed as Māori, and for all students to learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand,” ERO said. “There are increasingly strong connections with whānau and local iwi.”

ERO said that 17 per cent of the roll were Māori, 77 percent NZ European/Pākehā with “other ethnic groups” making up the rest.

According to research by Rangahau Mātauranga o Aotearoa – NZ Council for Educational Research, there are three key reasons why English-medium primary schools should develop strategic approaches to teaching and learning te reo Māori:
• Having the opportunity to learn te reo Māori at school is a linguistic right for tamariki Māori.
• Te reo Māori is part of our national identity and is important for all New Zealanders.
• Primary schools are expected to provide instruction in tikanga and te reo Māori.