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Inclusiveness & Leadership – transcript

[On the screen]

Robert Mangan, Principal, and Rachelle Stratton, HOD Learning Centre, from Tauranga Boys’ College, talk about the importance of leadership for inclusive schooling and how senior management can support a successful IEP process.

Robert Mangan:
Every boy that comes through the gate is engaged, feels valued and included as a student of Tauranga Boys College, and we do all we can to ensure that they achieve success. So we’ve got a number of structures in place. Every teacher in the school is a form teacher, including myself. The aim is that the boys have a significant adult they can talk to. Someone else that can actually share their process with them and share their achievement.

It’s also a matter of role modelling success for all individuals at the school, at whatever level that may be, and recognising, coming back to that, recognising achievement, both in sports, arts, and in the classroom. I want our boys to understand that we aspire to achieve and recognise the level that’s appropriate for those individuals.

So that means that all staff have to take responsibility for all of the individuals within their classroom. Working hard in terms of growing cultural responsiveness, and we also need to work hard in making sure we have a belief that all students can achieve and gain success.

[On the screen]
Making students feel they are a valued member of the school community ...

I mention the house activities. So it’s a group of 280 boys, and those boys with special needs are incorporated and expected to participate in those activities. So they’ll be there involved with the full house doing the haka. So I think that really grows their feeling of belonging to that group and to the wider college. That’d be how I would see it. And they’re supported where they need to be in terms of those opportunities.

Rachelle Stratton:
And the boys that we have that do have special needs very much see themselves as part of the college. They’re representing their houses just like the other students within the school, and they do have so much pride in being from Tauranga Boys’ College, and many of them will actually belong to the old boys’ network in the future. 

When they’re participating in the various sporting days that they have, the Special Olympics days, that they’re wearing the school uniform and they’re wearing the sports tops and things, so they’re very much a part of the college. We recognise their achievement.

[On the screen]
How important is it for senior management to support the IEP process?

In terms of an operational aspect, Ian Stuart, who is our Associate Principal, he’s responsible for pastoral care across the school, so he meets on a weekly basis with Rachelle. So he’ll have more of a hands-on. Obviously I can’t with 1,750 students, but Ian takes that wider responsibility, meeting with Rachelle, meeting with guidance, meeting as part of the student management team. So he has a greater knowledge of the individual issues that are arising, and manages those through the external agencies. But I still do like to receive the teacher’s aide notes, and that keeps me in the picture with what are the issues that are coming up.

And we do have a very supportive management staff. If we have concerns over students, then they will be referred to guidance, and those guidance staff know our boys well. It’s the same with the Deans, when behaviour in the classroom is not as it should be, then the Deans step in, and they’ve already been pre-warned about what the triggers might be for some of our boys and how to deal with them, and the fact that they need to be dealt with slightly differently to other boys within our school. We’re very lucky.

I mean, we’ve got, I believe, a pretty firm philosophy on having a supportive and orderly environment. Obviously that’s one of the best evidence synthesis main criteria around leadership – a supportive and orderly environment. The research is indicating is essential in a secondary school environment. We have that, but there’s a huge influence and huge focus on the supportive part of that. And I think there’s a misconception out there – traditional boys’ school, and it’s a hard environment – and yet I think we manage well boys that have challenging needs.

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