IMS award

Invercargill Middle School sets national example at Prime Minister awards

Invercargill Middle School leaders accept the Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award at the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards ceremony in Auckland.

An Invercargill school has wowed the prime minister and gained national recognition for their project helping students communicate.

Invercargill Middle School took out the Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award as a joint award winner at the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards ceremony on Tuesday night in Auckland.

Deputy Principal and teacher Katie Pennicott said the school identified some students learning and participation in school was being impacted because of their lack of oral language.


To combat the issue, the idea of "talk moves" was created, which allowed students to hold power in a conversation.

Talk moves allowed students to communicate through gestures including to show they were listening or to pass their idea onto another student to develop further.

Principal Stan Tiatia said he was "blown away" and was brought to tears at the awards.

"I couldn't believe it," he said.

Invercargill National MP Sarah Dowie said the win was a testament to the school's hard work and commitment to education innovation.

"Invercargill Middle School is a pioneer in innovative and effective teaching practices.


"The school is highly commended for its groundbreaking oral language programme which has lifted communication and overall achievement for all students," Dowie said.

Other schools and kindergartens in the area had been visiting the school to learn about the new technique, Tiatia said.

It was an achievement the school wanted to share with the wider community and country, he said.

"It's onwards and upwards from here."

The school received $20,000 as part of their prize for the win, as well as a professional development opportunity.

The money would go towards a new playground at the school, which the school's board of trustees had planned for about 18 months, Tiatia said.

The school was a joint winner of the award with Auckland's Waitakere College.


(Reference: STUFF, )

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