Our pilots aimed to test our understanding of what would work with different groups, and we feel this was very successful. In short, we learnt from our initial programme:

  • Exactly how to engage our Māori and Pacific learners in particular using our principle of Kotahitanga (‘ako’ and shared learning, kinesthetic learning, interactive sessions relating to ‘real life’ problems, valuing existing cultural knowledge and approaches);

  • The importance of pōwhiri to welcome and bring people together

  • How shared kawa (ways of doing and being) are vital in creating a supportive environment;

  • A revised programme structure which better meets the needs of our young people;

  • Food is really important to help people connect! We fed our students a healthy meal each time, and even kneaded and baked bread together. Yum! 

  • The “why” helps students engage: when they can see a direct link between the activity and the leadership outcome, they engage better.

  • Whakapapa was particularly important in both schools.

  • The strength of our tikanga model and the three ‘pou’ making up Ngā pou manawa. The frameworks are strong enough to incorporate a wide variety of approaches and lesson content to meet the needs of both high- and low-decile schools and the particular challenges each one faces; and

  • Finally: We had a lot of fun! We really enjoyed working with all our young people in the pilots and seeing them grow and step up each week.

Learning outcomes:

We set specific (SMART) learning outcomes for each session, and we would observe each young person’s progress during each lesson and work with them until we saw them hit the learning objective we had in mind.

The overall programme outcomes:

  • Students reported:
    • Supporting each other and becoming a team - a number of students mentioned that they had made new friends as a result of the programme; 
    • Increased confidence in dealing with new situations, particularly "knowing what I could do in my life later"; 
    • Using programme material (e.g. budgeting) in their everyday lives
    • More confidence in public speaking which led to taking up a leadership role;
    • Increased resilience, including dealing with bullying. 
  • We noticed:
    • Huge leaps in "distance travelled". 

    • Every single student “stepped up”, over and over again: sometimes they would even say, “Miss, look, I’m stepping up.” And then they would consciously choose to do it, even if they were shaking with nerves. We are so proud of all our students!

    • Students moving from 'disengaged' to actively engaged and contributing to discussions and activities within one session.

    • Students actively listening and contributing to high-level discussions, demonstrating an understanding of the concepts covered.

    • Students supporting one another in their learning, including engaging and helping those students in the first pilot school with special learning needs.

    • Students in our second pilot school tried lots of new food (including new fruit and vegetables) and practiced using knives and forks.  

  • Students reported that they generally enjoyed the sessions - we used a one-word “checkout” process to get quick feedback on each session. (If the students didn’t enjoy it, one or two left on occasion.) "I've done leadership programmes before but that was all talking; this was really fun because we played games and it wasn't just all talking."

  • We measured results both qualitatively and quantitively:

    • Pre-, post- and followup surveys (we're in the process of the third now). 

    • Written feedback forms

    • Post-internvention and follow-up short interviews with the students.

  • We'll be putting all of the results together into a full report for each school, and a shorter one which will be available here.