Principal promotes language classes

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Roxburgh Area School’s new principal aims to achieve.

Just one term into his new role, principal Paul McDowall has established a pathway towards enhancing biculturalism to benefit the school and wider community.

Mr McDowall, who has a passion for biculturalism, has spent the past term working on ways to further enhance it in the school and wider community.

He has called on the Southern Institute of Technology for assistance through its NCEA Level 1 Maori language course, which it will provide in the evenings from early July.

The course, which will be available to anyone in the community, will be hosted at the school for a couple of hours each Thursday over six months.

So far there are 45 people signed up — six of the school’s staff members, 10 pupils and the rest from the wider community.

‘‘Those numbers suggest there is a desire,’’ he said.

It would assist people wanting to improve their pronunciation of te reo, while creating a sense of community, he said.

A range of other cultural activities also take place within the school curriculum, including Tikanga Wananga, which aims to embrace Maoridom and success as Maori.

The school also welcomes a kapa haka tutor to the school from Central Otago Reap on a regular basis.

Of the 165 pupils on the school’s roll, 30% are Maori.

Mr McDowall had enjoyed his first term as Roxburgh Area School principal, a role that went beyond the school gates.

‘‘It’s that great sense of community that you don’t only get in small communities, but area schools exemplifies.

‘‘It’s that sense of family.’’

The school covers years 1-13, a concept that was new to him, having come from South Otago High School where he was deputy principal.

Having all year groups under one brand was something he could see benefits to, including the ability to have good working partnerships between the school and the children and their families.

‘‘We all work together and somewhere like Roxburgh does that really well because everybody is connected to the school in some way.’’