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Communities of schools are coming to the Waikato

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Shopprice New Zealand

Each community of schools will be unique, with goals to suit its students, says Hillcrest High principal Kelvin Whiting.

 More Waikato schools have opted to work together in a move that will eventually see some teachers working across their group.

Three communities of schools – Hauraki, Cambridge and northwest Hamilton – now cover about 9400 kids and at least one more group is under discussion.

The move is part of the Government’s $359m Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative.

The model lets groups of schools set their own direction, says Rhode St School principal Shane Ngatai. He’s pictured in 2014 at school with son Oliver Ngatai.

 Communities of schools set shared goals – anything from literacy to boys’ achievement – and appoint leaders to help make them happen.

Each will have a main leadership role with a $30,000 allowance, teachers working across schools ($16,000), plus teachers sharing expertise within their schools ($8000).

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced the newest communities in mid-August, including Cambridge and northwest Hamilton communities.

“They’re springing up all over the country now,” Hillcrest High School principal Kelvin Whiting said.

His school is one of eight in Hillcrest looking to make the next Waikato community of schools.

They hoped to make a submission for the next round late 2015, said Whiting.

“The idea really around the communities of schools… we get funding to work together, to improve student outcomes and to identify achievement challenges. It could be a myriad of things there that schools can choose. Anything from literacy to numeracy to digital technologies, maybe to wellbeing, to engagement, boys’ achievement, priority learner achievement.”

The first Waikato community was an eight-school Hauraki group announced in April 2015.

It has since swelled to 12 members.

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