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Looking ahead . . .The Eastern Southland Community of Learning steering group plans activities for a staff-only day on Friday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Unicef senior education specialist Dr Dominic Richardson will be the keynote speaker at the Eastern Southland Community of Learning (COL) day for school staff on Friday.

Usually based in Florence, Italy, Dr Richardson will speak to the group via the internet.

The vision of the 13-school COL is to raise the engagement, achievement and wellbeing of pupils across the schools.

Two hundred-and-fifty staff will attend the day to explore what their role in the community’s vision is.

COL lead principal Annie Nelson said she was excited to have Dr Richardson speak.

“I’m really pleased that it’s somebody of such calibre and profile,” Mrs Nelson said.

Dr Richardson, who researches and writes reports on countries’ education systems, would speak on topics relevant to the COL members, she said.

“He sums up what we want for our COL because he’s saying unless you get your social welfare right you are not going to be able to make the difference you want to make.

“Your social welfare includes teachers and includes justice and includes mental health,” Mrs Nelson said.

He would also talk about how schools could work together to improve outcomes for children.

“We now believe that any student belongs to all of us.”

Staff would have the opportunity to take part in workshops which were based on the COL vision.

“It’s a day when they choose which part of the vision they want to work on.”

Members of the community, including Gore district councillor Glenys Dickson, Calvin Community Church lead minister Ken Williams, Community Connections Centre co-ordinator Kelly Young and Gore Public Health nurse Stacey Young, would lead the workshops.

It was a networking day when people would have time to reflect on what they were already doing to enhance outcomes for children, Mrs Nelson said.

“We’re so busy trying to improve we forget to celebrate how far we’ve come.

“People will have time to sit and think ‘this is what I want to see happen in this community and I’ve already taken steps to make this happen’.”