About Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako

A message to principals from Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education.

Our Best Evidence Synthesis shows that children and young people need to have an education that connects with them personally, connects with their learning, and with their language, culture and identity.  We also know that high quality teaching and leadership are the most important “in school” factors in ensuring young people make the year-on-year progress they need to achieve at levels that give them high quality choice and opportunity.

Kāhui Ako respond to these challenges by creating a system based on collaboration across the education pathway, where adults organise themselves around the needs of their young people throughout their education journey. It is a system that is based around and follows the child. This is what I mean when you hear me talking about personalised learning pathways, seamless transitions, a relentless focus on progress, and more effective practice in teaching and leadership. 

The vision for Kāhui Ako is a network of education professionals who are connected to what’s happening in their surrounding schools and communities, deeply invested in the needs of their young people, and equipped with the information and support to respond to those needs.

With 67% of primary principals and 73% of secondary principals engaged with 197 Kāhui Ako, covering 551,000 children and young people in 1630 schools, it’s clear there is support for a new way of working.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting principals and leaders from Kāhui Ako in Auckland, Waikato, Napier and Nelson.  It’s been fantastic to hear so many principals talk about their enthusiasm and professional pride in working together to achieve better outcomes for all the children in their Community of Learning.

For those of you in the early stages of thinking about or forming a Kāhui Ako, there is a range of resources available to support you.  A great place to start is the new development maps, developed with existing Kāhui Ako, which steers you at each stage of the journey to a highly effective Kāhui Ako. 

Participating in Kāhui Ako is not mandatory and there is no plan to make it so. The recent update of the Education Act maintains the governance arrangements for individual schools. The purpose of Kāhui Ako is for the adults in the system to focus on seamless pathways of learning for the children in their communities.

The future of Kāhui Ako depends very much on where the boards, principals, leaders, teachers and communities want to take them. As we expected, Kāhui Ako are developing differently across the country. For our part, the Ministry is focused on how to support Kāhui Ako to achieve better outcomes for all young people and especially those at greatest risk of underachievement through personalised pathways of learning, strong local curriculum and high quality teaching.

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