Mar 4, 2011

On Kawerau schools

KAWERAU College principal Steve Lewis believes the town’s children will achieve better educational outcomes if the under-threat intermediate school is taken out of the equation.

Mr Lewis said it was “well known in academic circles” that when a child changed schools they could lose nine months progress. 

“By moving school at age 11 and again at age 13, some children may only make six months progress in those two years.

“While the intermediate may provide some awesome experiences, one more break between primary and secondary results in an unnecessary loss in academic progress.

Firstly, it is probably undisputable that when a child moves school he or she loses up to nine months progress. Even taking this into consideration I still do not support any moves to integrate the intermediate with Kawerau College. Integration should always occur on a case by case basis.

In my opinion it will be a social disaster to send intermediate age children into a high school environment, especially the Kawerau College environment. Intermediate age children are just that – children. Barely adolescent. Any merger between the two schools would expose young children to a toxic environment dominated by apathy, gang aspirations, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide dangers and disaffection among staff and students alike. It is reckless to expose young children to such an anti-social environment when they do not have the intellectual capacity to fully appreciate what they are surrounded by and nor do they have the capacity to determine whether what they are surrounded by is good, bad, normal, abnormal or otherwise.

Intermediate age children at Kawerau College would become prime targets for gang wannabes. A pool of vulnerable children who can be controlled and ultimately moulded. It would be utterly sickening to see young intermediate kids emulating the behaviour of the senior school.

It would take a grossly irresponsible and self interested principal to suggest that the two schools merge. Mr Lewis should consider wider factors. It is not enough to consider the advantages to classroom learning. In my experience most of the learning actually happens outside of the classroom.

Intermediate is a crucial bridge between childhood and adolescence. It is unwise to destroy that bridge and throw young kids in the deep end. I hope the Minister sees sense and opts for option B.

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