Education grant put to collaborative use


Eighteen schools and four kindergartens will soon undertake a three-year programme to develop digital technology-based learning and young leadership across the Clutha district.

Clutha Valley School principal Val Ward spearheaded the funding application to the Otago Community Trust to bring the vision to reality.

She said the recent grant of $500,000 funding was ‘‘very exciting’’.

The grant was awarded in late December 2019, but the South Otago Principals Association used the holiday break to postpone the announcement while it planned how best to use the resources.

‘‘The funding will enable all schools and kindergartens to work collaboratively to provide a range of learning experiences,’’ Mrs Ward said.

The first year of the project would involve buying technological resources and would provide staff with professional development.

The training would involve a visiting mentor to the schools, and day-long workshops with 19 selected lead staff members would also be provided periodically.

Those staff would take the knowledge back to their schools to teach the other staff and students.

‘‘Over the next three years, through using technology our students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to help develop initiatives alongside industries and organisations in our local community,’’ Mrs Ward said.

‘‘This is an amazing opportunity for education in South Otago, and we are very excited to have the support of the Otago Community Trust.’’

Other initiatives included ‘‘learner lead’’ days, on which pupils with leadership aspirations would work with teachers to guide their peers in projects and the use of technology.
There would also be cluster school visits, so the schools could collaborate.

The financial boost, called the Learning Impact Fund, came as part of an Otago Community Trust contribution of more than $2 million to educational facilities throughout Otago.