Masterton Trust Lands Trust (MTLT/the Trust) is embarking on a bold and collaborative initiative to significantly improve the educational outcomes of students across the Masterton district. Through focusing on a single identified area where it believes it can have the greatest impact, and recognising the benefits of multi-year funding commitment and collaboration across the whole education sector, the Trust will support school initiatives to improve wellbeing and ‘social competency’.
“The Trust believes that an impact investment approach focused on wellbeing has the potential to make a significant educational and societal impact in schools across Masterton. To that end we have committed funding of $600,000 over three years towards the project” says Trust Chair, Leanne Southey.
Over the past year the Trust has worked in collaboration with the Whakaoriori Kāhui Ako (Masterton Community of Learning) to develop a project that aligns the Trust’s significant funding strategy to the Kāhui Ako’s hauora/wellbeing achievement challenge. Data collated from schools across the Kāhui Ako indicated low levels of resilience and coping skills in some students and a need for initiatives that build social competence. Schools have reported increased student anxiety, depression and other behaviour disorders, and staff and resources are stretched to deal with them.
The Whakaoriori Wellbeing Project has a focus on young people who are transitioning from early childhood education to new entrants, or year eights who are transitioning to year nine. Partnerships of either an ECE/school or school/school with a transition relationship within the Masterton Trust district are invited to apply for funding for initiatives that address facets of social competence in students.
“Transition points between education providers have widely been established as a time when students are at a higher level of risk of disengaging from education, and by building social competency we can mitigate some of this risk” says Darren Kerr, Chair of the project’s advisory group.
MTLT’s Education Committee Chair, Christine Brewster firmly believes that schools need support to successfully submit applications, and to manage, monitor and measure projects and initiatives. “To assist with this, MTLT has engaged a project coordinator to provide support and advice to applicants throughout the entire process” says Mrs Brewster.