Tawatawa - Ridgway Languages and Culture Strategy: 2018 - 2021


A whole-school languages and culture strategy is designed to provide a cohesive and overarching framework within which our language and cultural initiatives are linked. Developing this strategy is one method of realising Tawatawa - Ridgway's strategic aim of fostering an inclusive culture (Aim #2), which recognises and celebrates our diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds and the importance the school places on incorporating te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into our everyday learning.


Tawatawa - Ridgway's currently has a culturally rich and linguistically diverse student body - 15% of students are Māori, 11% are Asian. There are many languages in addition to English spoken at home, including te reo Māori, German, Spanish, Danish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Gujarati, Afrikaans and French.

The school has junior and senior kapahaka groups that practice weekly and perform at school, and now inter-school, events, students sing waiata, and powhiri have been incorporated into school life. There is some learning of te reo Māori in classrooms. The Whānau Group actively supports the school in developing te reo Māori and tikanga Māori at Tawatawa - Ridgway's.

The school currently offers a weekly Mandarin class to all children. There is also some learning of NZ Sign Language in classrooms.

Recently, the school has been approached by the French-speaking community to introduce a bilingual unit. This has prompted the school to articulate a larger set of learning outcomes for the diverse range of language interests that are shaping our school culture.

Consultation in 2018 with the school community has indicated:

  • There is support for language learning at Tawatawa - Ridgway

  • There is strong support for teaching te reo Māori.
  • There is a portion of the community who feel passionate about the need for language learning options, in addition to te reo Māori
  • Views on how languages should be taught varied

  • There is a strong view that learning about cultures (NZ and others) is very important


Students understand and respect the diversity of how their identities are shaped by their language and culture, which reflects their experiences, cultures, histories, traditions and values. Being part of a school community which is actively taking steps to extend the learning of te reo Māori and the incorporation of tikanga Māori will encourage students to value the fundamental role played by tangata whenua in our national identity and will help the school to honour its Treaty of Waitangi obligations and the status of te reo Māori as one of Aotearoa New Zealand's official languages. Making the diversity of languages and cultures visible within the school will support Tawatawa - RidgwayCharter's Strategic Aim #2 of promoting an inclusive culture and reflects the value our community places on cultural learning.

Improving and extending language learning at Tawatawa - Ridgway will also expose students to the cognitive and linguistic benefits of learning another language, which include creativity, problem-solving skills and an awareness of language that can later be applied to other language learning.

Initiatives and Intended Learning Outcomes:

The school will offer a range of opportunities to increase students' exposure to languages and cultures. The school will offer several different levels of language exposure to students to tailor language and cultural experiences to the different needs of the Tawatawa - Ridgway community. This will include the following three initiatives for the initial strategy period of 2018-2021 after which the strategy will be updated to reflect the changing needs of the school community.

Initiative 1: Whole-School Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcome:

Students have opportunities within their everyday classroom environment to learn, practice and embed te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and NZ Māori history as provided for in the Primary Curriculum. Opportunities will be actively sought to link learning of te reo and tikanga with other aspects of the Curriculum (such as Inquiry topics) and other school activities (such as Matariki celebrations and noho marae). In this way, appreciation of te reo and tikanga is woven into the everyday learning environment for all students, which will have the added benefit of fostering students' open-mindedness, intellectual curiosity and alternative ways of thinking.

Implementation Plan:

The Board and school, supported by the Whānau Group, commit to developing by the end of the 2018 school year a three-year plan for achieving this learning outcome. The three-year plan will set out the steps needed to achieve the initiative, including teacher professional development, investigation into what support or advice is available from the Ministry of Education, and the identification and acquisition of appropriate resources. This three-year plan will be reviewed periodically and the achievement of specified targets assessed. The Board has committed to provide increased professional development in 2019 for teachers to support their learning in te reo Māori.

Initiative 2: Stand-alone language learning

Intended Learning Outcome:

Provide opportunities for language learning on a regular and ongoing basis, but not integrated into the curriculum. Designed to introduce and expose students to other languages, cultures and values that they may not otherwise be able to experience.

Initial Targeted Languages: Mandarin, German, NZ Sign Language

Implementation Plan:

Continue to offer a weekly Mandarin class to all children (at no cost to students).
Offer German classes for beginners and advanced classes for those students from German speaking families (paid for by parents).
NZ Sign Language to be taught in classrooms on an ad hoc basis.
Support and encourage the sharing of Tawatawa - Ridgway's diverse cultures amongst the school community by, for example, integrating celebrations into the school event calendar.

Initiative 3: Bilingual Learning Opportunities

Learning Outcome:

Students have access to a bilingual environment where they can learn a foreign language and culture. Integrated into entire school curriculum, available in both English and the foreign language. This supports students understanding how language and culture affects their ways of learning and their cultural knowledge. The teacher employed for this unit will also enable language and cultural learning opportunities for the whole school.

Initial Targeted Languages and Cultures:

French (proposed in response to a request from Unité Bilingual to set up a class at Tawatawa - Ridgway. Other bilingual classes could be opened also if there was sufficient demand.)

Implementation Plan:

Establish a bilingual French-English unit at Tawatawa - Ridgway by the beginning of 2019. Initially employing one bilingual teacher to teach in the unit (part or full-time depending on student numbers) and to provide French language tuition to other students outside of the bilingual unit.

The unit will operate:

  1. Following the NZ curriculum

  2. At no extra cost to the school or disadvantage to other students

  3. Ensuring bilingual class students (and families) are fully engaged with all aspects of school and community life.

See French Unit Q&A and project plan and http://www.ridgway.school.nz/Site/french/consultation_1.aspx

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