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Canterbury finalists in PM's Education Excellence Awards

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch’s Halswell Residential College and Waimairi Primary School have been selected as finalists in the 2019 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Halswell Residential College is a finalist in the Excellence in Engaging category while Waimairi Primary School is finalist in the Excellence in Leading category.

Ministry of Education Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid says the Judging Panel has chosen a total of 20 finalists across all categories and they all demonstrated outstanding teaching practices that made a big difference not just to learners, but to their whānau and the wider community.

"They are a great example of the amazing work that is happening in early learning services, kura and schools across the country. We look forward to hearing their stories at the awards ceremony and sharing them with the rest of New Zealand," she says.

Halswell Residential College

Halswell Residential College in Christchurch is a specialist national school that enrols students from Years 3 to 13 with intellectual and/or learning disabilities and complex and challenging behaviours. To enhance the outcomes of those students, the college focused on modernising its programme to provide a 24/7 educational environment, and developed a joined-up, intensive intervention and wrap-around programme for their students.

The college used research to achieve and sustain improved outcomes for their students by developing active and powerful connections with Te Kahu Toi Intensive Wrap-around Service (IWS), the students and their whānau. They also deepened their professional knowledge, distributed their leadership structure, invested in staff wellbeing, developed a culture of collaboration and reflection, operated a restorative model and introduced therapeutic elements into their practice. Their work resulted in deep engagement in student learning, self-management and enhanced ability to develop positive relationships.

The programme saw improvements in academic, social and emotional outcomes. Students’ ratings in managing themselves have improved as well as their social competencies, attitudes and perceptions.

Waimairi Primary School

This school focused on smoothing children’s transitions from early learning services to their school. They developed a new way of teaching and learning that incorporates Te Whāriki early learning curriculum.

Their programmes have become more child-focused with opportunities to further improve through feedback and continuous engagement. The result is happy, engaged children who settle into school easily. They are involved in learning and enjoying their own progress.

Awards Information

The Awards celebrate groups of teachers and educators working together, and with students, whānau and communities to deliver excellent outcomes for children and young people. This year saw a total of 20 finalists across all categories.

Members of the independent Judging Panel of education experts are visiting the finalists between June and August to see their work and speak with all those involved. Winners from each category will receive $20,000 and a professional development opportunity.

The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award is selected from the category winners. It is presented to the early learning service, school or kura that has had the greatest influence on education outcomes.

The Supreme Award winner will receive an additional $30,000 and an opportunity to represent New Zealand in an international education conference.

The Awards ceremony will be held in Wellington in September.

For more information on the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards, please visit their website:

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