Greens praise city school's self-help scheme

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014

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A New Plymouth school's programme to help its students achieve has been praised by Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

She held a meeting in New Plymouth last night to discuss establishing community hubs at low-decile schools.

Earlier she visited Marfell Community School, which, she said, was a perfect example of what the Greens want to do.

"Marfell is a school for whom this programme will work perfectly, because they already have the passion, they already have the people involved who want to do this kind of work."

This includes after-school programmes and school gardens, both of which Marfell has.

But the principal, the teachers and the board of trustees are organising these things, Turei said.

"Our plan will give them resources so the teacher and the principal can do their work. I was really impressed with what [Marfell School] were doing with the few resources they have to do it."

The Green's plan is to combat the effects of poverty and inequality on children's learning.

"It means the children come to school hungry and sick and without the resources to learn. We will have a fulltime school's facilitator in every decile 1 to 4 school. This person's job is to work with the school community depending on what the needs of the school are. And they'll be different everywhere."

Another initiative is a national school lunch fund for low decile schools.

There will be a set amount of money available for the schools to deliver a school lunch to all of their pupils. The core part is they decide how it is delivered, she said.

"Some schools like at Marfell have a garden and they have parents come in on a Friday to cook lunch and they use food out of that garden. But they need someone to manage the garden, to co-ordinate the volunteers to cook the food. The money could be used for that."

There is a huge amount of needs and there is no use pretending there isn't, she said.

"And we have to do something about it."

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