You are currently viewing Inclusion a focus for two Thames Valley schools
Goldfields School principal Cam McKenzie, left, Teacher aide Whaea Megs, students Ahmir Murray-Habib, 12, Kennedy Harding, 12, Matthew Yates, 12, Teacher Matua Caleb and Thames High School principal Michael Hart. ABSENT: Noah Grimshaw, 14. Photo: DAVIDDA HIKATANGATA

Inclusion a focus for two Thames Valley schools

Helping students connect and feel included in their community is fundamental for two Thames Valley schools and their new partnership.
A new Goldfields School satellite class was opened at Thames High School on February 7, with four tamariki who transitioned to Year 9 from a satellite class at Te Kura o Te Kauaeranga Thames South School.
Goldfields satellite classes are set up in primary and secondary schools so students can receive the specialist teaching they require in regular school environments.
Thames High School principal Michael Hart said the way Goldfields School had distributed its classes around the area was “really awesome” because it was inclusive of all students.
“[Thames High School] pride ourselves as being part of the community, and vice versa.”
Mr Hart said one of the Goldfields students was the brother of a current Thames High student, which gave a “whānau connection” within the school.
Reinforcing those close ties, Mr Hart said there were other Year 9 students who had also come from Thames South and recognised one of the Goldfields tamariki.

“So you have that continuity of relationships because of that inclusion in the community – it’s really, really awesome.”
The students’ teacher, Matua Caleb, had been exploring opportunities for the tamariki to participate in specialty classes like drama, food or technology, Mr Hart said
“[Matua Caleb] has been getting people coming to him and saying ‘hey, it’d be really cool if your tamariki [would] come to our class’,” Mr Hart said.
Building a good relationship between the schools was also important for Goldfields School Principal Cam McKenzie.
“We’ve got to want to be there, they’ve got to want us. Nothing goes forward unless that happens.”
Mr Mckenzie said satellite classes had been beneficial for students.
“You’re raised together,” he said. “They live, go to school [and] grow up in their community.”
Students would not be transported all the way to Paeroa everyday, he said.
“When you cut down bus time you increase learning time.”
Mr Mckenzie said students could also get to know and be known by local businesses and one day start doing work experience.
Matua Caleb said he and teacher aide, Whaea Megs, had been getting students used to their new space and helping build their confidence for their speciality classes.
“We want to set them up. We want them to succeed rather than just doing heaps.”
The students didn’t like big crowds, but introduced themselves in front of a whole staff meeting last year, Matua Caleb said.
“They were amazing.”
The tamariki went to an assembly on their first day too, which was “chucking them in the deep end a bit”, Matua Caleb said.
“But they are pretty resilient.”