Couple's work recognised

Honoured for work with at-risk children

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 05:00 08/11/2012
Winners of the National Excellence In Teaching Award
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ
TOP TEACHERS: Winners of the National Excellence In Teaching Award Patrick Boyle, back, of Clyde Street Kindergarten, Tokoroa; Francis and Kelly Pye, of Frankton Primary School, Hamilton; and Susan Hassall, headmaster at Hamilton Boys’ High School.

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A husband-and-wife teaching team who take a family approach to working with at-risk children are two of four Waikato educators honoured with excellence awards this week.

Francis and Kelly Pye, of Hamilton, are the first couple to receive a National Excellence In Teaching Award for their work with troubled pupils at Frankton Primary School.

Hamilton Boys' High School headmaster Susan Hassall and Patrick Boyle, of Clyde Street Kindergarten, in Tokoroa, were also among the 10 winners nationwide, chosen from more than 600 nominations. The judges of the award - introduced by ASG Education Programs New Zealand in 1996 - said Mr and Mrs Pye provided a unique service and were a "treasure" for their pupils.

The couple work in the school's Whanau Room, which cares mainly for boys aged from 5 to 11 with behavioural, learning and social issues.

Their own children and new baby are also part of the classroom to help the pupils develop social skills and grow in a family environment.

"It's really modelling that whole family relationship thing, which hasn't been done before," Mr Pye said.

They are only "paid to be half a teacher each", but feel strongly about the cause and are seeing positive results.

Mrs Pye said receiving the award was "overwhelming because we're just doing what we do". The couple will use their $5000 grant to attend the 2013 International Boys School Conference in the United States.

Mrs Hassall received an Excellence in Leadership Award for her part in creating a "positive and successful culture" at the school.

"It was a genuine honour to be recognised," she said.

"When they recognise me it's because of the boys, and the boys are very special young men."

She will use her $5000 grant to complete a presentation on the role of a leader and creating a culture of excellence.

Mr Boyle will receive his award for excellence in teaching today and said he was "moved and humbled" by it. jonathan.carson@waikatotimes.co.nz

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