Summary of Progress Report

Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020–2022

Key findings across the Action Plan’s 5 Key Shifts

Key Shift 1

Work reciprocally with diverse Pacific communities to respond to unmet needs, with an initial focus on needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic

What is happening in Pacific education?

  • While targeted supports have been rolled out, not all Pacific learners can access what they need to succeed in education, including food or other essential needs such as devices and internet connection. Digital exclusion remains a challenge for Pacific learners and this gap needs to be closed so nobody is left behind.
  • There has been growth in the number of schools with Pacific bilingual and immersion units, but increased availability still does not meet demand in some parts of New Zealand.
  • The number of Pacific bilingual and immersion early learning services has been decreasing since 2017.
  • Few pathways for Pacific language learning exist in tertiary education.

What can be done about this?

  • Investigate the extent to which Pacific families are digitally excluded and make sure they have access to the devices and internet connectivity needed to succeed.
  • Consider whether Pacific language supports are sufficient for language learning in schools and how Pacific language learning can be supported to grow.
  • Dig further into the types of language programmes people are studying at tertiary level and explore how we can support the growth of tertiary level Pacific language learning.

Key Shift 2

Confront systemic racism and discrimination in education

What is happening in Pacific education?

  • Some Pacific learners are still experiencing threats to their wellbeing and cultural safety, including racism, bullying and not being included. These are being experienced by Pacific learners from both their peers and for some, from their teachers. Despite this, many Pacific learners say they feel a sense of belonging at school.
  • Streamed ability grouping still disproportionately affects Pacific and fails to recognise wider barriers that Pacific learners face which, with tailored support, can lift Pacific learner achievement.
  • Not all Pacific learners are accessing culturally appropriate learning supports, and we need to learn more about why this is happening.

What can be done about this?

  • Find better ways of measuring and monitoring learners' wellbeing and safety, so that we can tackle complex issues like racism, systemic discrimination, and bullying, which negatively impact on Pacific learner achievement and attendance.
  • We must address the impact of streaming on Pacific learners and find alternatives that support Pacific capabilities and aspirations. This includes support for Kōkirihia, a new plan to remove the practice of streaming from New Zealand’s schools.
  • Investigate whether Pacific learners who need to are accessing special assessment conditions at secondary schools and where possible, address any gaps in access to this and other learning supports.

Key Shift 3

Enable every teacher, leader and education professional to take coordinated action to become culturally competent with diverse Pacific learners

What is happening in Pacific education?

  • More professional learning and development (PLD) support is available but there are still gaps in teachers' ability to access those supports, including cultural competency PLD.
  • Not all teachers are using culturally sustaining practices for their Pacific learners, and more is needed to support teachers to grow and utilise these skills.
  • Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes are increasingly providing a strong foundation for teachers to work in ways that are culturally responsive, but more is required. 

What can be done about this?

  • Explore further what is required to better support teachers’ Pacific cultural competency and greater use of culturally sustaining practices.
  • Investigate the experiences of different groups of Pacific learners and families, regarding the cultural capabilities of their educators.
  • Continue delivery of PLD on cultural competency and enable access to Pacific cultural capability resources such as Tapasā.

Key Shift 4

Partner with families to design education opportunities together with teachers, leaders and education professionals so that aspirations for learning and employment can be met

What is happening in Pacific education?

  • We have increased the number and types of supports and information being provided to Pacific families to make sure they have what they need to participate in their children's education, through programmes such as Talanoa Ako.
  • Reciprocal relationships between families and places of learning are happening in some places but we need to find out more about what is happening for all families.
  • Pacific learners, school leavers and tertiary students need more support to meet their aspirations for successful and meaningful tertiary study and employment.

What can be done about this?

  • Successful engagement tools and methods, such as Talanoa Ako, show us where we can have continued impact for Pacific learners and their families. Insights and evaluations from successful programmes should inform the approaches of other initiatives.
  • We need to find out more about successful reciprocal relationships, for example, what makes them successful and how these may be more widely experienced and/or enabled.
  • Further investigate barriers to participation and retention of Pacific learners in tertiary education and how these learners can be supported to participate and complete study.

Key Shift 5

Grow, retain and value highly competent teachers, leaders and education professionals of diverse Pacific heritages

What is happening in Pacific education?

  • The teaching workforce in early learning, schooling and tertiary has been growing but does not yet match our Pacific learner and family populations.
  • Our ITE supports are increasing but there are still some barriers to Pacific people entering ITE.

What can be done about this?

  • We need to do more to grow and support Pacific leaders in education, including ensuring that Pacific teachers have access to leadership and specialist teacher pathways.
  • Build our understanding of the barriers to teacher training and employment.
  • Grow our understanding of the day-to-day experiences of Pacific teachers and the Pacific education workforce. 

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