Bilingual class for Mataura

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Mataura School is introducing a bilingual class next year.

Principal Susan Dennison said the community had been asking for the bilingual class for a while.

It would have 15 pupils from all years and would be taught in te reo Maori and English, she said.

“Fifty percent of the curriculum will be taught in te teo [Maori].”

The pupils in the class would also learn to read te reo Maori, Mrs Dennison said.

Mataura School had room to employ a new teacher.

The school had a community consultation and asked people if they wanted a bilingual teacher, Mrs Dennison said.

“In the past, we haven’t had enough kids to have a bilingual teacher.”

Sam Walker would move from Christchurch to teach the bilingual class, Mrs Dennison said.

“Bilingual classrooms are very hard to staff. We are very lucky to have her.”

Ms Walker had a lot of experience teaching in bilingual classes, she said.

Her Master of Education was in bicultural education.

The children chosen to learn in the bilingual class had some te reo Maori knowledge already, she said.

“We have a te reo Maori programme at the school already and the children have been chosen from that.”

All the parents were really supportive of the bilingual classroom, Mrs Dennison said.

“The parents have to be willing to speak te reo at home as well.”