In an unusual twist, Greymouth-based secondary school John Paul II will be teaching English to tertiary students.
The school has paired up with Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) to provide international students with English tuition to help them bridge to courses offered by the Polytechnic.
“We have close ties with TPP, plus they are right next door,” principal of John Paul II, Kieran Stone says.
The school already partners with the Polytechnic through the Ministry of Education’s Youth Guarantee scheme. This includes the Trades Academy based at Greymouth High, which allows the school to provide students with broader and more relevant learning options that can be included in the Vocational Pathways framework. This has set up both John Paul II and Tai Poutini Polytechnic to further enhance their relationship.
“Now we can help TPP students like the Polytech has helped our students experience interesting and diverse courses through the Trades Academy. It proves that a secondary/tertiary partnership can work both ways and collaboration can benefit all involved,” Mr Stone says.
“It is a case of: make the most of the capability on our doorstep,” CEO of Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Allan Sargison says. “With increasing enquiries from overseas students and English as a pre-requisite, it will be an effective relationship.”
“We realised that TPP was getting more students from offshore, particularly from China,” Mr Stone says. “The Polytech has campuses all over the country so offering the English course was a nice differentiator for its Greymouth campus and will hopefully attract more international students here. We want to promote this as a place for young people.
“It is important that our secondary school students are exposed to different cultures and I am pleased that they will have an opportunity to meet others from around the world, and hopefully the tie-up will result in further partnerships with us, TPP and Chinese institutions,” Mr Stone says. He will travel to China with the Confucius Institute Principals’ Delegation next month.
TPP needs its international students to achieve NCEA Level 4 English in order to enrol in its courses and John Paul II is accredited to teach that course. Staff are also qualified to teach English as a second language, he says.
“We are very focused on ensuring that our school’s students who want to progress to tertiary are taught English for academic purposes. This course was a perfect fit for TTP’s overseas students that needed to get up to speed. It was just what the Polytech was after.
“The great appeal for overseas students is that they can immerse themselves in a ‘Kiwi’ environment as they will join classes with students. We have a roll of 200, so classes are small and there is no risk they will get left behind or get lost in a huge room of English speaking students.
“It is also sensible for us, as offering the course will not require heavy resourcing – we are already offering it as part of our curriculum. It’s a win-win.”
John Paul II will initially take on three students in the second semester but has capacity for 10 before it needs to dedicate a stand-alone class to the course.