Bilingual education is where school subjects are taught in two languages and students become fluent speakers and writers in both languages by the end of their schooling. It is most effective when families, the school and the wider community see it as good for students to learn a second language and to become fluent in two languages. This is called an “additive” approach, because students are “adding” a second language rather than replacing one language with another. Research shows that additive approaches are very effective educationally and result in students becoming bilingual as well as biliterate – being able to read and write in two languages. The research also highlights that becoming biliterate is the key to academic success. Of course, they also end up knowing two languages rather than just one. Successful bilingual programmes also need strong support from whānau and the community. Even if parents and whānau do not know much Māori themselves, they can still encourage their children to speak and read to them in Māori at home, wherever possible.
The schools current Maori roll is 57% of the total roll. It has been consistent over the past 4 years that the roll has been over 50% Maori. In 2019 the community set up a group of whanau who are very interested in continuing the pathway of Reo for their tamariki. This group, ‘Te Ohu Reo Maori’ have met with the principal on a regular basis to discuss improving educational outcomes for the Maori students at Reporoa Primary. The outcomes from changes made in the school in terms of improving cultural responsiveness has seen the achievement gap change extremely positively as follows:
We are very fortunate to have a capable staff member who is able and enthusiastic to teach fluently in Maori, which puts us in a place to be able to offer a bilingual class. The board unanimously favoured beginning a bilingual class in 2020. The class is currently at level 3 (31-50% of the total teaching time in Te Reo/more than 12.5 and up to 20 hours per week/at least one teaching block of 1.5 hours per day). Each year we require 15+ students in the class for it to go ahead. The class is for year 4, 5 and 6 students. Students do not have to identify as Maori to enter the bilingual class. It will be open to all to apply, and will be a fantastic opportunity.
If you wish your child to be in the bilingual class please contact the office.