Partnerships between home and community

Published: 04 Sep 2017
Evaluation indicators
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


“If parents can see that we value relationships with them then the partnership between school, family and the community gets off to a really, really, good start.”

This school seeks every opportunity to connect with the groups within its multicultural community to support those groups to connect to one another as well as engage with the school and their children’s learning.

Key messages:

  • Leaders and teachers create opportunities for initiating and developing relationships
  • Listening is the first step in establishing trust and confidence 
  • Leadership actively creates opportunities through which parents, whanau and community can share their perspectives and aspirations for their children 
  • Bringing together different cultural groups provides the opportunity for input into the schools direction and processes
  • Cultural expertise is used to break down barriers to communication and enable meaningful participation 
  • “The last thing they need is the school telling them how life should be”

Things to think about:

  • How do you engage with parents, whānau and the community in reciprocal learning centred relationships?
  • What else might you try?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 3: Educationally powerful connections and relationships 
    • Evaluation indicator:
      • School and community are engaged in reciprocal, learning-centred relationships 
      • Communication supports and strengthens reciprocal learning-centred relationships 
  • Domain 2: Leadership for equity and excellence 
    • Evaluation indicator:
      • Leadership builds relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community

This video is part of a series

This video is part of the series Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua. We created this series to inspire schools with examples of success in action. These examples highlight the benefits of fulfilling the evaluation indicators we use to review schools.

The full video series can be found here.

Remote video URL

(A man’s voice speaks over footage from outside a school. Numerous children wearing school bags walk from their classrooms, some accompanied by parents and caregivers.)


We have 25% Māori students, 25% Pasifika, 25% Indian, and about 15% European.


(The video now shows a man sitting in a school office. Text on the bottom of the screen identifies him as Laurie Thew, Principal, Manurewa Central School.)


So it's truly multicultural.


(The video changes again to show children and parents leaving the school. They approach the school gates.)


Everyone's in the minority.


(A group of children, some holding hands with adults, cross the street at a pedestrian crossing.)


I like to tell people, there's not a lot of any of us, but there's some of all of us.


(A girl’s voice now speaks, as the video shows a street outside the school. Laurie Thew, dressed in a neon yellow safety vest, can be seen talking to two children and a woman. The video cuts to the girl sitting inside a classroom and speaking)


At the end of the day, he goes out where the pedestrian crossing is, and everyone can meet him there.


(As she mentions the pedestrian crossing the video changes to show her sitting in a classroom addressing the camera. When she finishes speaking the video then returns to Laurie Thew. He is now standing outside and speaking into the camera. There is a school playground in the background.)


They catch up with each other and they talk.


(His voiceover continues as the camera shows three men standing by the road. They each have a long white beard and wear a headwrap.)


That's really good because that's a sign of the school as a big part of the community.


(We now hear a woman speak as we see a group of caregivers talking outside a classroom, then we see a wide shot of the school and playground with students and caregivers walking through the school grounds. The video then changes to show the woman sitting in an office, addressing the camera. Text on the screen identifies her as Sandy Griffin, Deputy Principal, Manurewa Central School.)


If parents can see that we value relationships with them, the partnership of school, family, and community gets off to a really, really good start.


(The video now returns to Laurie Thew, who is now sitting in an office.)


If you're visible, then you get the chance to build relationships.


To build the relationships, you need to listen to people.


(As his voiceover continues the video shows children playing in a playground. Laurie, once again in his safety vest, can be seen in the distance talking with students.)


And there'll be an element of trust in that relationship.


(The camera zooms in on Laurie.)


And from that trust comes confidence.


(The camera cuts to four children playing on a grassy area. One of them swings a wooden walking stick.)


And people will give you the opportunity to bravely go where you think is the right place to go.


(The camera is now back at Laurie talking with students. A woman is next to him, wearing a similar neon yellow safety vest.)


It all comes back to the trust in that relationship in the first place.


(Laurie is now back in his office.)


They all want the same thing for their children in terms of learning, and

enjoying school, and having fun.


(His voiceover continues as we see a group of children wearing school bags walking through the school yard. Several of them are eating apples.)


So they can all do that together regardless of whether they're Māori or Sikh or Samoan.


(The camera zooms out on the children. Nearby a signboard reads “MANUREWA CENTRAL SCHOOL, CHAI AND CHAT THURSDAY 1:30 PM”. The voiceover changes to a woman’s voice.)


It's called chat and chai, and it's for issues that we are having in the school.


(The video changes to show the woman who is speaking addressing the camera. Text on the screen identifies her as Neetu Neetu, Parent, Manurewa Central School.)


We bring that issue in the meeting, and we try to solve it.


(We now see a close-up of tea being poured. A group of parents of different nationalities can be seen in the background.)


And also, we make so many friends in the meeting as well.


(The camera angle changes, and we can see the parents having a discussion as they sit around a table. Some of them hold pens and papers.)


Some parents can't speak English.


(Close-up of a woman’s face as she listens, finger on her cheek, and nods thoughtfully.)


So we talk in our language.


(The man speaking makes a wave gesture with his hands. A woman sitting next to him laughs.)


And then Mr. Shyam brings that to the principal.


(A mans voice speaks in voiceover. There is brief footage of parents laughing, before the camera changes to show the speaker sitting in an office. Behind him on a table sits a pink floral vase, a framed class photo, and an ornate kete. Text on the screen identifies him as Chris Ward, Former BoT Chair, Manurewa Central School.)


The school has a social worker, and he speaks many different international languages, so he can bridge across the many ethnic groups that we have in the school.


(The video cuts back to the Chat and Chai meeting. A man gestures with his hands as he speaks, a woman listens with her fingers to her cheek. A group of parents of different ages and nationalities sit together. The man stands up as he speaks to them. Laurie Thew continues to speak in voiceover as this happens.)


That's really important for immigrant families because they come from a long way away. They come to a very different culture.


(The camera returns to Laurie standing by the playground.)


And their children come to a different world than they are used to when it comes to school.


(As the voiceover continues the camera shows Laurie speaking at a Chat and Chai meeting. We cannot hear what he is saying. The man from the previous meeting laughs in response.)


So it's important that they-- they share their ideas amongst themselves because the last thing they will need is the school telling them how life should be.


(A women is now speaking at the meeting, although we cannot hear what she is saying. Laurie Thew’s voiceover continues.)


So we acknowledge their world, and they hopefully acknowledge our world, and become part of it.


(Neetu Neetu’s voiceover returns while the parents continue their discussion.)


In the last meeting, we all discussed the school values. 25% are the Indians in the school now. So they ask us what we want.


(A man wearing a headwrap stands outside the school gate. Children play on a playground behind him as he speaks. Text on the screen reads Paramjit Singh, Parent, Manurewa Central School.)


We come to know how the school is making our children a very good citizen and what else we can do.


(The camera now shows the Chat and Chai meeting again. A large metal teapot sits on a bench in the foreground next to plates of chips, a bowl of fruit, and several pineapples. Parents sit around a table in the background. Paramjit speaks in voice over.)


Very-- a very good meeting.