Successful education programme

It’s not every day that our taurahere group gets a chance to tautoko, let alone be involved with a nationally important education programme. Named Bobbie Maths, after its creator, Associate Professor Bobbie Hunter from Massey University, this uniquely New Zealand taonga is stirring interest around the globe.  

Our chance for involvement came on 14 December when we hosted John Good, formerly of the Ministry of Education (MOE), Auckland, and recently in charge of servicing the highly successful, Reading Together programme that has been in high demand by South Auckland parents, he is now and independent contractor. Currently he is contracted to help Adrienne Alton-Lee, Chief Education Advisor, MOE, Wellington, construct a business case that will help guarantee funding for the Bobbie Maths programme for the next five years, and ensure it will be widely spread.

Knowing that Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana had been active in getting the Bobbie Maths project at Shirley Primary, Christchurch, off the ground, he wanted to meet and personally update us on progress.

The benefits across all subject areas flowing from the use of the Bobbie Maths programme are such that its name could be viewed as somewhat of a misnomer. It provides a never-before-available window into the learning process through which everybody: teachers, students, parents and the public can look and see wherein lies its effectiveness. It achieves a level of learning effectiveness that ensures the wide diversity of learners, even those with special needs, in today’s classrooms will learn, more or less as well as each other.

Shirley Primary spent the latter half of 2015 preparing for a programme launch at the beginning of the 2016 school year.  How this all came about is a very long story. Suffice it to say, it came about through arranging for Tā Mark to meet Adrienne – their first meeting was at the last Te Matatini, and it went on for three hours.

Since John made the effort to motor down so late in the year, it was fitting that we responded by having as many interested persons on hand as could be rounded up. As the photos show those in attendance were Family Court Judge, Annis Somerville, Uncle Joe Briggs and host, Laurie Loper, not forgetting local academic and JP, Dr Sandy Stewart. Possessing Ngāpuhi whakapapa, Sandy speaks several languages, has taught in professorial positions overseas and possesses an encyclopaedic knowledge of retention rates of Māori students.

Sitting round the table, John heard about our respective involvements in promoting Māori student achievement to realise what a wealth of experience there was among those present. While his news about how the business case and other funding endeavours being pursued was optimistic, by its very nature, the situation is dynamic.

Beside the MOE’s commitment of $1.5 million to introduce the programme to some 22 Auckland schools in 2016, we have the NEXT Foundation. This organisation specialises in strategic philanthropy. It is keen to help Ngāi Tahu with its te reo development plan, so possibly sees its participation in the Christchurch Bobbie Maths project as a way of demonstrating that keenness. What’s hoped for here is that the NEXT Foundation will fund a five year South Island expansion of Bobbie Maths.

Watch how things turn out in 2016 for Shirley Primary. Thereafter, watch the whole South Island for signs to see how far the Bobbie Maths programme spreads.
Nā Laurie Loper.

From left, Laurie Loper, Annis Somerville, John Good and Uncle Joe Briggs.

From left, Laurie Loper, Annis Somerville, John Good and Uncle Joe Briggs.

From left, Laurie Loper, Sandy Stewart, John Good, Uncle Joe Briggs. 

From left, Laurie Loper, Sandy Stewart, John Good, Uncle Joe Briggs.