1 May 2018: The Government announced in January 2018 that the Better Public Services programme would not continue in this form. These pages have been archived.


Darlia Walker is a member of the Ministry of Education's Parents, Families and Whānau (PFW) team. The PFW team works one-on-one with whānau to help set and follow through with education goals for their child.

Last year, Darlia worked over five weeks in the Far North with 14 whānau of students needing additional support. When she started, most of these students were not likely to get NCEA Level 2. But, by the time she had finished, nine of the 14 young people achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2012. Another two achieved it early this year.

Darlia started by hosting an NCEA and the Whānau workshop. At the workshop, Darlia explained to the children's whānau how NCEA works and how they could help their child achieve it.

But that was just the beginning. Getting whānau engaged after the workshop was hard work, but it was worth it Darlia says. To follow up, Darlia visited them in their own comfort zone - their homes. It took 5-8 separate visits or sessions to gain the trust of the whānau. Once she had it, they were on board and fully behind their child's success.

More than 3,600 people have attended NCEA and the Whānau workshops, similar to that run by Darlia, since September 2011. PFW and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) have teamed up in this initiative. The PFW team run the workshops on behalf of NZQA. The excellent relationships the PFW team have with iwi means more parents benefit from the workshops.

Ngāwai Kena-Gledye, a parent who went to a workshop, says "it's just so much easier for her (my daughter) and me too. I'm not on her case all the time. I so know where she is around her subjects that she's taking. I know what she wants to do now in regards to where she needs to go at the end of her schooling year.

"We know from whānau feedback that the workshops do make a difference. Whānau are clearer about what NCEA is about, more confident to work with their child to choose subjects and to contact their child's school to ask questions," says PFW National Manager Sheridan McKinley.

Teacher feedback on the impact of the NCEA and the Whānau workshops has been great as well. As one told the PFW team, "I really like it when the student realises "Oh my gosh! Mum and Dad know what I have to do now!" "

More information about Parents, Families and Whānau http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/PFWNews.aspx

Questions and answers

Why is the Ministry targeting whānau to help them to understand NCEA?

Parents and whānau are the most important out of school influence on children's educational success. Yet, for parents of the "School Cert" generation, the NCEA can be mystery. Some parents have also had poor experiences of the education system as children. Others find it hard talking to teaching staff about their child's education. Engaging more parents and whānau in their children's education success is key to boosting NCEA Level 2 achievement rates and employment rates, or further study, amongst Māori.


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