|At Life Education Trust, we know what it takes to provide outstanding education as an external provider to schools. Yet, we never stop looking to improve and set a new standard for best practice. That's why we commissioned the recent independent review by NZCER, Rangahau Mātauranga o Aotearoa; New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
NZCER experts confirmed our value to schools and in supporting the positive choices of our young people. The final report commends our practices and offers opportunities for continued leadership in our work.
NZCER's report highlighted the attributes of a 'great external provider' and how these match our approach. 'Must haves' that are core to Life Education’s offering are:
• staff of registered teachers
• currency of information
• clear points of difference
• relevant examples for presenting to students
• rigorous evaluation processes.
Similarly, 'must do' practices are consistently integrated into the way we work at Life Education. We always:
• cater to specific needs
• provide sound and correct knowledge/information
• provide an affordable offering
• share planning/co-design
• address current/leading issues.
The comments shared during NCER's brought the report’s findings to life. With enthusiasm typical of the feedback, one school spoke about its experience of co-designing the lesson plan with our educator.
"She went with our big idea and went with our key concepts and formulated lessons that related to those key concepts and also what was happening specifically at our school at the time around those issues."
Another comment was closely aligned. "She was responsive as well. Something cropped up at the time that was being discussed amongst the kids. I called her in and asked if she could include that as the kids are discussing it. So, she added it in.”
In health education, Life Education truly shines
NZCER found Life Education performed well on key indicators that reveal our value in the classroom. However, expertise in health, topic and content resources, and our engaging style were particularly noted.
"The biggest part would be the expert knowledge they bring. The students see Life Education as someone who is coming in with expertise. It helps to bolster what we are saying; it gives that extra authenticity. She has really good resources, and the kids love the interactive side of the bus. We can't offer that."
Schools consistently tell us that our programmes reinforce and add value to the work they're doing. It wasn't surprising that NZCER found the same thing when they spoke to schools.
"The main value added is someone else saying the same thing in a different way. Cybersafety with videos, interactive things, and examples; it was not just me. They covered the same thing: wellbeing. We looked at wellbeing from a religious education perspective. Now, the educator has done health and physical and emotional perspective. For me, it is about just having those really strong messages coming from a different lens. Just being able to give us something different that is outside our scope or range."
Our team took particular interest in opportunities for improvement. We were pleased to see that progress stood out where we're pursuing growth and development.
NZCER observed, "A positive change to practice noted by schools was the increased use of reo Māori and te ao Māori in classroom sessions. Teachers commented that they had noticed educators using more te reo Māori or incorporating more of te ao Māori focus in their sessions."
You can read the final NZCER report here