Sunset Road School Student Engagement Plan-Nga Tama Toa support

In 2018, CET provided funding for the Ngā Tama Toa class initiative for 9 boys with significant learning and behaviour needs. Their classroom had many digital resources, more opportunity for 1:1 support and an environment that placed less demands on their resiliency and stress levels.

Due to the resignation of the dedicated teacher for the Nga Tama Toa class  (to take up a Principal position), the school has had to transition to an in-class support model. 

By he end of 2019, the Principal concluded that the boys had made very little progress socially and academically, and evidence that the boys struggled to adapt to the mainstream class environment after 14 months in Nga Tama Toa was evidence of the failure of the model.

The  Principal's view is that such special classes are outmoded and improvements in the schools physical environment and  activities and expectations on students has been of more  benefit to high needs students.

Contact: Eden Chapman

Cholmondeley Children’s Centre Building mindfulness capabilities

The Christchurch Centre works with many children who have been affected by trauma and struggle to regulate their emotions and cope with daily stressors, impacting their ability to learn.  There has been evidence to suggest mindfulness as being a successful approach to working with such children.

CET funding provided:

  • Mindfulness training session on-site 
  • Eight week online training for staff
  • Development of  Kura mindfulness lesson plans

Mindfulness sessions  were introduced into Kura and wider daily routines like bedtimes  and documents  updated for example consistency guidelines.  

Core team who attended mindfulness training  upskilled remaining and new staff members via practice team meetings 

Training session for regular internal Personal Development session continue to focus on and upskill from the learning. Currently Cholmondeley holds two PD weeks each year

Havelock North Kahui Ako -Inspire in Education

Havelock North  Kahui Ako: Havelock North Intermediate School, Te Mata Primary School, Lucknow Primary School, Havelock North Primary School  came  together to  addresses inequality in learning outcomes between Maori boys and NZ European boys through the Inspire in Education mentoring model based on a kaupapa Māori approach.

The project involved 50 Maori boys, 10 from Years 4-6 in each of the three primary schools and 20 students from the intermediate school.  The key objectives of the programme were:

  • Improved attendance baseline-after project 
  • Improved student achievement 
  • Improved well being 
  • Increased whanau engagement

  • Student voice

  • Increased teacher understanding and capacity to engage with and motivate Maori boys and whanau.

Quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated improvements in all these  areas.

Storytime Foundation 1000 Days” From thought to action

CET is contributed to the first year of this 3 year project which builds on the pilot CET helped fund to grow the service base and develop the infrastructure to support more disadvantaged families. Up to 5000 families in South Auckland will benefit over 3 years.  

The programme focussed on encouraging and teaching parents to bond, read, talk, sing and fully engage with their children. They were given books, resources, support and information to develop confidence and parenting skills critical in the child’s early years, to provide a better future for their children and reduce disparities in social outcomes. 

Working collaboratively with Talking Matters, Plunket, Family Start, midwives, Ministry of Education, Corrections and others and commencing 1 July 2019 a programme is to be rolled out over three years.

At March 2020  4000 families in Northland and South Auckland had benefited. The programme is currently being evaluated by oPint Research.

Comet Auckland - Rangatahi wananga

COMET is a Council Controlled Organisation of Auckland Council and also an independent Charitable Trust supporting education and skills across Auckland.

The project included a Hui to hear and learn from rangatahi about their aspirations and what would make a difference; to inform educational practice with Māori learners and drive youth-led collaborative action under the Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum . The 60-100 participants were identified from range of organisations across youth justice, trade training, unemployed, kura, mainstream school, university, polytechnic, private training establishments, urban marae and mana whenua marae.
Key learnings from the project were:

  • The hui provided rangatahi with a platform they would not otherwise  have had  to share their life experiences
  • Rangatahi want the opportunity to say what is important to them and a say in life choices. 
  • Desire for more Hui and whakawhānaungatanga -getting to know one another, making relationships.
  • Youth Steering Roopu (YSR) has been working to bring together the themes from the wider consultation.  The following are kaupapa (themes) the YSR have begun to synthesise -
  • Racism – disrespect
  • Exposed to too much freedom makes you grow up to quick
  • High expectations from adults
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • An inclusive environment

Messages and findings of the Hui have been reported to Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum (TMEF) Hui in May 2018 .The next step will be for the Youth Steering Roopu to decide on a kaupapa (theme) as a focus for their work and COMET’s work in 2019.  

Contact: Huia Hawke (Ngahuia)

Manager Education Māori

Silverstream South School

Effective transition to primary school    

Silverstream South School is in Mosgiel on the southern boundary of Dunedin,  with  282 students, mainly low-income- 66% European, 25% Māori, 3% Pasifika, 3% Asian. In 2018 there were 63 new entrants from 10 early Learning Centres  and there will be  6-10 four year olds in each ELC, per term.

The project sets up a collaborative model between family/whanau, ELCs and Silverstream South School, to achieve a transition to school that is more supportive, better prepared, child- centred, and will reduce anxiety and disruptive behaviour; with a drop in RTLB referrals and disruptive behaviour in older children as they progress through the school.  The project will explore:

  • The barriers to transition
  • Early intervention for children with special needs
  • Play- based learning, learner agency and wrap around care
  • Resources that support whanau and children
  • Programmes the school can support, like digital learning, kapahaka, science, music or arts 

Contact: Greg Hurley Principal

Havelock North Primary School

Engaging in learning and raising achievement  
of Māori boys 

Havelock Nth Primary has 552 students -58 (10%) Māori, with a cohort of Māori boys who are under achieving.
The project is linking with Havelock North Intermediate and the work Conrad Waitoa (Inspire in Education)  is doing with a similar group (funded by CET), with encouraging results.  The project is to engage with 6 boys and their whanau to build their self-esteem and advise staff on successful strategies to impact on all Māori learners.
This work will generate important data and professional development to share with the other 6 schools in the Community of Learning in the Havelock North area.
Contact:  Nick Reed Principal

Havelock Intermediate School

Inspire in Education programme

Havelock North Intermediate has six contributing schools and is a part of a CoL/ Kahui Ako.
The school is exploring the reasons for lower achievement amongst Māori boys. CET is funding a programme, run by Inspire in Education that mentors six students at a time, forming a bond between them, the mentor, the school, the whanau and community. The boys explore their backgrounds, complete pepeha, meet local community members, discuss issues and problems and set learning and behavioural goals - such as greater participation in school or community activities, specific goals around maths achievement. Wellbeing is at the centre of the programme: health, fitness, kindness to self and others, self-management, participations, restorative practice.

Contact: Julia Beaumont, Principal

Auckland University

Professor Rubie- Davies- HERO High Expectations Remarkable Outcomes project

Professor Christine Rubie-Davies’ previous research identified that teachers who had high expectations for all their students, had marked positive effects on their students’ learning and social-psychological outcomes. That led to investigating the practices and beliefs of high expectation teachers to identify how they structured their classrooms and student learning in ways that resulted in such large gains for their students. 

The High Expectations Remarkable Outcomes Project (formerly the Teacher Expectation and Equity Project) is testing the model that when teachers in regular classrooms are trained in the practices of high expectation teachers, their students make large academic and social-psychological gains as compared to students with a control group of teachers.

The CET grant is for the first year of the HERO Project, for collection of baseline data and to employ seven second-year BEd (Tchg) pre-service teachers to work in each of the seven classes.

Contact: Professor Christine Rubie-Davies

Teach First NZ Fellows Programme

TeachFirst NZ (TFNZ) is an independent charitable trust that runs a teaching and leadership development programme in partnership with the University of Auckland. Participants concurrently teach classes in low decile schools and study for a postgraduate teaching diploma. After the two years, TFNZ supports its alumni, to remain engaged in advancing educational opportunity over the long-term.

The project

Cognition Education Trust funded TFNZ to expand its "Te Ahowhai" curriculum and deliver a customised leadership development programme to an additional 25 experienced teachers or “Fellows”.  Although participation was not as high as anticipated, the new TFNZ: Ako Mātātupu qualification- the Masters in Teaching and Education Leadership- has presented a new opportunity to engage with teachers outside of the Fellows programme, as well as informing the creation of the new Masters qualification.  TFNZ has taken responsible for the training of the In-School Mentors who support participants.


Evaluation of the TFNZ programme by NZCER, and other research in h New Zealand and overseas, identifies mentoring for beginning teachers as the least consistent or most variable element in new teachers’ induction and early development. Therefore, TFNZ sees the development of their work around supporting and growing mentors as having significant potential to impact not just TFNZ programme participants, but other teachers entering the profession for the first time. 

TFNZ is also considering how an initiative similar to the Fellows programme might be developed as a re-training course for overseas trained teachers who need to learn the unique context of New Zealand’s education system before they are appointed to schools. TFNZ are scoping how this might be designed and delivered, over what timeframe, and who potential collaborators might be. 

Read the Final report

Watch Video-hyperlink

Contact: Jay Allnutt CEO

Jay Allnutt

Other grants

In 2015, with unbudgeted income received from excellent returns on its investments, the Trust made three donations for projects that were consistent with its mission:

Manaiakalani Educational Trust –contribution towards their  Professional Learning and Development programme

Storytime Foundation - contribution to support the establish and management of two pilot programs (Manukau and Far North) to extend their delivery of their Books for Babies (‘B4B’) programme for children beyond current 12-14 months to 24 months

NZ Geographic - contribution towards the wire frame and code development of NZ Geographic’s digital educational resource.

University of Auckland, Dr Maree Davies- Developing Critical Thinking Skills

The Project

This was a longitudinal Student Voice senior secondary school project in critical

thinking (CT) and group discussions, during 2016 and 2017.

The students and teachers were from four co-educational secondary schools in Auckland.

The current study was the third in a series in the field of dialogue and focused on student voice within

small group discussions at senior secondary level in the curriculum areas of English and Geography.  

The initial aim was for senior secondary students to gain confidence in learning to use their voice to

express their critical thinking skills in group discussions that were taught within the project.

However, the wider outcome was that the students in the project also gained confidence in using

their new critical thinking skills outside of the project, i.e. in other curriculum areas and in

conversations with friends, family and the wider community.


One of the key recommendations of this research is that a critical thinking skills framework, 

should be taught to all Year 9 students so that using critical thinking skills become habitual

by NCEA or Cambridge exams.

 The study offers a new and innovative critical thinking model which will be made available to

all schools on the Ministry of Education site and will be accompanied by professional vignettes to be used as teaching resources. 

The findings of this study have been presented at the American Educational Research

Association (AERA) annual meeting in New York on 13 April 2018 as part of an international symposium on classroom talk.

Read final report

Watch Video

Contact: Dr Maree Davies

Whangarei Boys’ High School-Write That Essay

Whangarei Boys’ High School has been a school for day boys and boarders for over 135 years.  In 2016 the school roll was over 1250, with students coming from all over the Far North to attend Carruth House (boarding hostel), as well as serving the wider Whangarei area. Students are 40% Māori .

The Project

This project was a partnership between Whangarei Boys' High School and Dr Ian Hunter and the Write That Essay team designed to be a school wide transformation project to lift academic writing performance.  The project had different strands including deep and detailed analysis of student writing at the beginning and end of year 9. This was designed to identify actual writing needs and build teacher capability through staff PDL writing workshops.

Through targeted faculty work there was training in use of the online writing tool and improvement in the assessments task for internal assessments.

The aim was to have improved student performance in writing and heightened teacher skill in the area of teaching writing. The intention was to share the expertise developed at this school across the Primary and Intermediate schools in our local area.


Comparisons of year 9 test results of those taking part in WTE at beginning and end of 2017, showed:

 51% of cohort improved their writing skills by at least 1 level, broken down as: 

29% writing improved by one level

 18% improved by 2 levels

11% improved by 3 levels

1 student improved by 4 levels

 11% went backwards due to attendance and other issues

38% remained at same level.

 A Write That Essay Committee provided support to teachers in implementing the WTE programme and

PD in form of presentations was given to all staff at the beginning of terms 1, 2 and 3.

Two other schools in the Whangarei COL have been given presentations on WTE.

Watch Video


Contact:  Karen Gilbert-Smith, Principal