Ngāue Fakataha ki he ako 'a e Fānau: Report on the Development Phase (Phase One) of a Research and Development Project

Publication Details

This is the first of two reports for the research and development project, Ngāue Fakataha ki he Ako ‘a e Fānau — Schools and Parents and Families Working Together to Better Understand and Support Pasifika Students’ Progress and Achievement at School.

Author(s): Dr Lesieli Tongati'o, Kerry Mitchell, Faimai Tuimauga and Shelley Kennedy

Date Published: November 2016


The Ngāue Fakataha ki he Ako 'a e Fānau project involved working with three primary schools in Auckland around how they engaged with Pasifika parents in support of Pasifika students' learning and progress at school. The proportion of Pasifika (Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands Māori, Niuean, and other Pasifika) students enrolled at these schools ranged from 20% to 78%. Each of the schools expressed a keen interest in developing ways to better engage with its Pasifika parents, families and communities. Information gathering to find out what the current engagement practices were in each participating school was undertaken during the first of two project phases.

The project has had a particular focus on school reporting processes as these are a core mechanism for communicating with parents about students' progress and achievement and for coming together for discussions about students' learning. Integral to school reporting processes is the nature of relationships amongst those involved and for this reason 'relationships' are also a key focus of this project.

Phase One

A high level finding from Phase One of the project was that aspects of the schools' reporting and contributing processes were less effective than they could be in ensuring that parents, students, and teachers all reached a very good understanding of individual students' learning, progress and abilities.

The need for meaningful, ongoing discussions or conversations about learning (talanoa ako) between parents and teachers, and with students, was identified as crucial. This led the project team to develop a draft year-long Talanoa Ako Reporting Cycle (refer p.16) for participating schools to consider during Phase Two of the project. The project team worked with staff and Pasifika parents in each of the schools to help them clarify their thinking in light of Phase One project findings and to decide which aspects of the draft Talanoa Ako Reporting Cycle they would focus on.

The Phase Two project findings showed that each school made modifications to their reporting and other processes and behaviours. These modifications represented positive steps towards more effective partnerships around  student learning and progress, contributing to the efficacy of parents, teachers and school leaders to support student learning, and to students' knowledge, understanding and efficacy in relation to their own learning and achievement.

This Phase One project report includes discussion of:

  • what led to the development of this project and the project aims
  • key themes in the literature and how these were used to frame this report
  • highlight findings
  • recommendations for next steps on the basis of the project findings and the literature
  • a proposed year-long Talanoa Ako Reporting Cycle.

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