Tauhara College is home to Whare Mahana, an attached Special classroom for students who are Ministry of Education verified within the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme. This funding is allocated for the duration of students’ time at school and supports teachers with specialist teacher resourcing and teacher aide support.
At Tauhara College we currently have 18 students attending our unit with a wide range of abilities and needs. Our students range in age from 13 years to 21 years. Students with ORS are eligible to stay at school until the year they turn 21. Students typically come from feeder primary schools to our facility.
Almost all students attending the unit are working towards Level 1 of the New Zealand Curriculum.
All learning is delivered using the New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies with a particular focus on the cognitive competencies of Thinking and Using Language, Symbols and Texts.
Personal care and supervision for safety are also key areas of the learning programme in the Whare Mahana.
Some students are working on a tailored NCEA Level 1 and 2 programme. These students have been successfully included in mainstream Level 1 classes. Our mainstream students are supportive and encouraging to these students showing Manaakitangi and Whanaungatanga while celebrating diversity.
Our staffing is currently made up of both full-time and part-time teachers. Staffing is generated from Specialist Teacher staffing from the ORS resourcing.
Our teachers currently in this space are Michelle Pointon who leads the teaching and learning programme as a full-time teacher. Helen Dredge, Lisa Hemopo and Kasee Mitchell work in part-time roles supporting our learners and Brenda Pilkinton is the Leader of Learning for this faculty. Our staffing is dependent on the number of students enrolled in the unit. We currently have 8 teacher aides supporting our teachers and learners in Whare Mahana.
All students have Individual or Personalised Education Plans which are reviewed twice yearly in an IEP meeting with parents, teaching staff and Learning Support MOE specialists attending.
Reporting and assessment for students and whanau are in the form of a learning portfolio which is designed to be accessible and meaningful to students. Assessments in this portfolio show clear links to planning and teaching and learning experiences and reflect the NZC Key Competencies.
Students are tracked using the Key Competency Indicators and levels from our Special Schools Curriculum document which is centred around the NZ Curriculum Key Competencies.
All learning is significantly adapted to meet the learning needs of this group of students. Our teachers have very sound knowledge and understanding of the best pedagogical practices for students with additional needs.
Our teachers work hard to research and find new ways to develop thinking, communication and self-management skills for our learners.
We are supported by a Learning Support, Special Education Advisor from the Ministry of Education who visits approximately two times each term and attends students’ Individual Education Planning meetings with teachers and families twice yearly. We are able to request and receive support from Speech Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists and Behaviour supports on an as-required or needs basis. The specialists offer advice and guidance rather than individual hands-on interventions or support.
We also liaise with a range of community organisations from the disability sector that supports families and students.
Our staff enjoy the daily challenges of our learning space and work hard to ensure all our learners have a place and feel valued in their learning environment.
We are well supported and celebrated by our mainstream colleagues and school whanau to feel included as a part of Tauhara College.
Learning programmes are delivered in class, school and community-based settings.
The focus for learners is that they will develop the capabilities required for living and lifelong learning.
Visits from people considering enrolling are most welcome.
Head of Faculty, Specialist Teacher: Brenda Pilkinton
Specialist Teacher: Michelle Pointon