Joining forces good for schools

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Blossom on the trees, lambs in the paddocks and longer, lighter days. Spring is here.
When I was at school, the years seemed to go on for ever and ever. Now it seems you blink and miss six months. But I digress.
These days, my role takes me right back to the schoolyard with school visits being an integral part of my constituent engagement strategy.
Schools are, after all, at the hearts of their communities.
Education is a real passion of mine and a key focus for me in politics.
Over the past month I’ve visited West Gore School, St Joseph’s School, St Mary’s School, Waitahuna School, Heriot School, Blue Mountain College, Gore High School and Drummond School.
Each school has a different story, and a different pulse that keeps it running as an effective and integral part of creating active and happy learners.
I am pleased to see another group of Clutha-Southland schools — Blue Mountain College, Heriot School, Tapanui School, Waikaka School, Waikoikoi School and Kidz Way Early Learning Centre — joining forces to become another community of learning, joining the majority of Clutha-Southland schools that are signed up to this great initiative.
In a nutshell, students in a community of learning benefit from shared teaching practices and expertise, with teachers from different schools working alongside each other on goals to help improve educational outcomes in the classroom.
The communities are funded through the National-led Government’s $359 million Investing in Educational Success initiative. Evidence shows quality of teaching and school leadership are the two most important factors in a child’s education, so the Government is supporting those areas.
I also delivered the opening speech at the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) Expo for Otago and Southland schools in Gore.
As I visit schools, PB4L is something I am watching with great interest. PB4L has now been rolled out across 58 schools in Southland and Otago to help improve the behaviour and wellbeing of children and young people.
Congratulations tothese schools — there is some excellent work being done to create positive environments for staff and students.