Bruce Ritchie - Part 2
Bruce Ritchie: “Because we weren’t making progress we’d discussed with the team here in the Waikato and Russell agreed that we could train double the number of people we were training. So we had what we call double cohorts, so instead of thirty we had sixty training at a time and again we started to make some progress. We made presentations to the Board of Trustees, in-depth presentations which helped convince the Board that they should continue to fund it. To staff, to our whānau, our whānau by the way are represented on our Board of Trustees, they have a position on the board of Trustees, so they became very, very supportive and all pre-service teachers who came into our school, also wanted to learn about it and wanted to be part of it. So all the pre-service teachers learnt about Te Kotahitanga as well, so we were starting to spread in terms of GPILSEO. As I said a very stable facilitation team and also getting some of our best teachers into the facilitation team, made a huge difference. We had whole, what we call whole school happenings after school, presenting staff who have gone through the training with certificates that they could put in their CVs, we had guest speakers, Russell came a couple of times and so we had whole school meetings so that again the whole idea was starting to spread through the staff, even those who were not in the programme.
“Budget, it was costing quite a bit of money as you know and we decided that we would create a special budget for all co-construction meetings to be held in school time. And the Board supported that, and that made a huge difference for our school. Because for so many teachers trying to do it after school was impossible, they were all over the place, taking sports teams and all sorts of things. So we couldn’t get them together for co-construction meetings and so therefore we did it in school time, so we just budget for that relief now.
“Also at this point we made it a condition of employment in our advertisements in the Gazette, we’d say we are a Te Kotahitanga school. In their letters of appointment for staff I ask them to commit, they have to sign that they will do Te Kotahitanga, so it became a condition of employment.
“Leadership as we all know is a big thing, and I think, ah, we’ve had some great leadership over the last 4 years as I mentioned with Robyn, but also we have our kuia here, Whaea Awa Hudson, she’s here with us today. She provides fantastic leadership too. She used to be our HOD of Māori studies whilst, for thirty years Awa, thirty years at Massey High School, has since retired but she never retires, she goes every day and so she provided a lot of that leadership and especially that connection with the community. We also have Deputy Principal here, Shirley Cranston who’s also a Māori, Tuhoe and, ah, she’s just embarked also on a PhD under the supervision of Russell and Mere, a PhD on Te Kotahitanga at Massey High School. So I think it’s great we’ve got one PhD been completed and another PhD starting which shows you the sort of depth of leadership that we have developing in our school. And of course in all the other people here associated with it, so leadership is a big part and Robyn the lead facilitator meets with Shirley every week formally, she speaks to me almost every day, every day that I’m there, bit of a part-time principal these days.
“Everything we do in the school we’re trying to underpin Te Kotahitanga for it, so the whole pedagogy of relations is holding up everything in our school. And in that respect we set up a special committee called the Effective Practice Committee, they are responsible for the performance management scheme in our school, professional development which we do weekly in our school like a lot of schools do. And so all the principles of Te Kotahitanga start to diffuse through all our practices in the school, not just in the pedagogy in the classroom.”