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seting up bilingual education




bilingual education unit

Set Up

Setting up a Bilingual Education Unit.

 Where to start? What to consider?

  • Has the request for such education come from Parents, wider Community, Churches, Staff, Board?

  • Does your school have the teaching resource with the interest to support the request? (Teacher fluent in the language being targetted).

  • Would it be viable –number of students?

  • Take time to think it through yourself first before “sharing” the possibilities

  • Your Board of Trustee Chairperson as a first port of “sharing”/or your Deputy Principal (you need to bounce these thoughts around).

  • Is it sustainable? Can we be totally committed? Can we get reliable support if we need it?

The Process.

  • Wide consultation must ensue—Staff first as they need to “OWN” this venture to make it successful, Board of Trustees, Parents, Kaumatua (maori), Church leaders (Pasifika).

  • Involve Advisers WHO HAVE knowledge of Bilingual Education.

  • Discussions of what this will mean for ALL your school, as it affects everyone (e.g. other classes may need to be slightly larger to accommodate the smaller numbers in the Unit.)

  • All Teachers to have the opportunity for professional development to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of what Bilingualism is.       
    How will it affect their teaching and the school? (In –school P.D. is a must!)

  • Teachers who will teach in the Unit should have time to visit other successful Units and set up support networks before they begin. At least one of the teachers for the Unit must be a fluent speaker of the target language.(for credibility with elders and parents.)

  • Decide on how you will begin    e.g. Year 1’s and grow the Unit each year thereafter Or Year !/2 ‘s if numbers of requests are smaller.

  • Decide on the extra resources that will be needed to sustain such a Unit,    
    Where will this funding come from?     What will actually be needed?

  • Continue with Parent information sharing and give opportunities for them to gain pedagogy of bilingual education also.



*A Teacher fluent in the language and enthusiastic about the new prospect.

*A Teacher aide with fluency as well.

*An Elder who is available for cultural support. (To open and close hui, to act as cultural leader for parents etc.)

*Extra time given to making resources for the target language.

*Smaller class numbers (especially in first 3 years of establishment)

*A room assigned as permanent within the school.(not “way   over there”)

*Extra funding for “setting-up”

*Principal who will be part of all whanau/ fanau hui. It is crucial for the school’s leader to be visible and supportive and knowledgeable in the pedagogies of Bilingual Education.


Once on the journey it is a long term commitment and sustainability must always be uppermost in a Principal’s mind.

Consideration must be given to:

1. Staffing in the ethnicity of the Unit and continue to have a back-up teacher on the staff of that ethnicity.

2.  Extra funding needed to make their own resources in the Language of instruction, as very little of good quality is commercially produced.

3.  Employment of support staff of that ethnicity.

4.  Extra release time needed, for Teachers in the Unit, especially in the first few years to get routines and policies in place. Also to meet regularly with parents, even during the day time, for planning and goal setting for the Unit.

5.  Parents of students in the Unit must make a commitment to assisting in the Unit or making resources at home.

6. Ongoing consultation with Kaumatua or Pasifika Leaders.


At least 2 Terms will be needed to get ready to actually begin on your teaching / Bilingual Education journey.


Once established, the Bilingual Education Unit should continue to be part of the WHOLE school  e.g  Assemblies, Sports days, Buddy classes etc.

 However it is just as important for these classes to be able to follow their kaupapa maori or ethnic beliefs and specific topics of study.

 To build a culture of acceptance, understanding, pride and safety to celebrate ones own ethnicity takes time, effort and a committed leader at the top.  


English Medium Schools with Bilingual Education Units-(Maori/ Pasifika):

1.   Clover Park Middle School
2.   Finlayson Park School
3    James Cook High School
4    Mangere East School
5    Richmond Road School
6    Robertson Road School
7    Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate School
8.   Greenmeadows Intermediate School
9    Clendon Park School
10  Te Matauranga School
11. Porirua East School
12  Aranui School
13  Strathmore School
14  Tokoroa East School
15. New Windsor Primary

Please contact us to have your school added to this list, if it applies.