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Early Interventions Project with Year 12 Students at Hagley College

Sarah Parder, Within School Teacher at Hagley College, Te Puna Wai O Waipapa —

The Early Interventions Project focused on engaging students and supporting them to feel better about being at school. A key part of the project was personally connecting with the student and closing the gap between them and their peers/teachers to improve learning and engagement outcomes early in the year.

We looked at the range of support models that were already inside the school and discussed how this project could be a way to connect students with wider supports. Additionally, we acknowledged the strength of our form tutor system. Therefore, working alongside the form tutors to support the student with the work they were already doing was critical. To be effective we had to work with the students and tutors to make connections between people.

The target group were initially identified in a range of ways including an on-line referral form with input from tutors, teachers and Learning Support. The Year 12 Advisor collated the final list and decided on thirty students we would focus in supporting. We chose students who were identified as having concerns with work engagement and/or attendance.

As a team we looked at our strengths, our roles within the school and the relationships that were already established with students before allocating the students we would work with. We knew that success indicators for students would vary, but the personalisation of support was important. We then began connecting with students, building relationships and having conversations with them, explaining why we were working with them and letting them know we would be working for them behind the scenes. For some students we uncovered a need to be connected with Learning Support or counselling or with Careers. Other students needed a close contact to make the links between themselves and their teachers. We continued connecting with tutors during this process, letting them know how we were working with their student. One key point of contact we had with tutors was before Senior Parent/Teacher conferences and any goals or discussion we had was shared with the tutor.

Successful interventions have led to students beginning study periods within Learning Support, improved engagement in some classes and stronger relationships with some teachers. Other students were able to be linked in with careers and participate in work experience and have more defined learning and pathways goals.