Stand downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions are difficult decisions for any school to make. And in almost every single case, they are decisions that have long-lasting negative impacts for the students and whānau involved.
For a group of Napier principals, such punitive measures were far from ideal – yet there remained (and remains) a significant gap in our education system around more restorative measures for students who face challenges in school. Taking the issue into their own hands, they began the process of building a better system to support these students – which has become Te Tupu Managed Moves.
Creating new sources of support for students
Te Tupu Managed Moves is an amalgam of many different organisations that share resources to support children who struggle to integrate into mainstream education. As Te Tupu Co-ordinator Damien Izzard notes, it’s a vital space to work in.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, we exist to address gaps in the current education system. We are working with students who haven’t been in education for a year, sometimes more – and at the age of year 4 or 5, that’s a critical formative time in their learning and development.”
It is a gap that many principals in the region wanted to address formally but needed support to get ideas up and running.
“We worked with a group of Napier principals initially, thinking the main challenges of stand downs, transients and disengagement applied to year 5-8 students. After engaging Waikato University to provide us with quantitative evidence to support our case, we realised the age range was bigger.”
With a clear focus and hard data, Te Tupu began engaging a whole host of organisations who could support these students: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Oranga Tamariki and a series of locally based and Māori-focused organisations.
After presenting their case to then-Associate Minister for Education Tracey Martin, they received funding to roll out Te Tupu Managed Moves for three years.