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Photo by Nicki Ridden-Angus

Education at Kavanagh College

Nicki Ridden-Angus —

From 2021, Kavanagh College has a new junior school programme, Te Timotanga, which is based on evidence from educational research. This has led us to develop a programme for Year 7 – 9 students to enhance student engagement and academic improvement.

We know that strong relationships between students and teachers create fertile ground for excellence in learning. Therefore we have created a structure to ensure that a small number of staff know your children very well and will mentor and advocate for them during their time in Years 7 - 9. Students will be in a Whānau tutor group – a vertical group comprising Year 7 – 9 students. The intention is that a Year 7 student would have the same Whānau teacher (Kaiako Kumanu) for three years.

Our Years 7-9 work an integrated curriculum. What this means is that we will have a central focus for the term centred around a topical, current issue in our society. Our subject areas will then feed into this issue and learning in Mathematics, English, Science, Social Sciences, Religious Education and Health will have a real-world context.

An example of what this could look like is looking at recent natural disasters within New Zealand (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc.). 

  • Science fits into this issue through looking at tectonic plates, how flooding and erosion impacts on our earth, etc. 
  • Mathematics can include looking at the probability of events such as these happening and how this can be determined as well as Geometry and looking at the stability of different structures, how angles affect this and navigating around New Zealand using directions and coordinates. 
  • An example of how Religious Education would integrate includes looking at how the Early Church coped with disaster and adversity and how that tells us we should cope as well. 
  • Reading and writing are completely embedded in everything we do and thus the skills of literacy and the English curriculum are also interwoven. 

We have designed this model for a range of reasons, including to lift the engagement and achievement of what we are already providing for our Year 7 - 9 students. 

We acknowledge that what we don’t want is for content or achievement to be in any way watered down from what it currently is. Therefore, we have identified that while we are implementing an integrated model, there will be times when we will need to enter the ‘Maths World’ or the ‘Literacy World’ to ensure we are still covering content even when it doesn’t fit in with our term's theme. We feel strongly that this programme is to lift current student achievement.