How to enrol in Te Kura Correspondence School

Parents guide to Dual Enrolment – Studying a higher-level subject with Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, The Correspondence School (at October 2018)

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, The Correspondence School (Te Kura) provides distance education from early childhood level to year 13. They offer enrolment  as a ‘dual student’ in up to two subjects where the school your child attends is unable to offer a specific subject, or the subject at a more advanced level.   This means that your child can attend their local school and still get a full and balanced curriculum.

If a student is eligible, dual enrolment is one of the more affordable ways of providing extension and challenge in the classroom. The courses are not specially designed for gifted students, but consist of a standard year level’s worth of work.  They make it easier for your child to start at a significantly higher level (e.g. a year 5 child can start at year 10 science after completing their assessment workbooks to identify the current knowledge level).

To be able to enrol with Te Kura a student must meet the eligibility criteria set by the Ministry of Education in their enrolment policy.   http://www.tekura.school.nz/dual-providers/first-steps/eligibility/

Dual enrolment is also at the discretion of the student’s school and there needs to be a “Dual Provider Partnership Agreement” between the school and Te Kura in place.  Schools can enrol eligible students with Te Kura from November each year for the following year. Students need to be re-registered each year.  The supporting documentation requirements are set out in the New Zealand Gazette no 93, 31 August 2015, under schedule 3 and 5. (Appendix 1 below)

Schools need to View the Dual Provider Partnership Agreement on Te Kura’s website; http://www.tekura.school.nz/dual-providers/first-steps/dual-provider-partnership/

Some schools may have struggled (possible understatement..) to complete the enrolment process in the past, but Te Kura has been working to improve the online registration process and the Te Kura Relationship Coordinators are a helpful phone call away for a school. Don’t let past issues stand in the way of getting access to this really vital resource.

Te Kura has been moving away from posted booklets to full online provision of teaching and learning. This does mean a student will need access to a computer with internet connectivity, which your school will need to provide.  http://www.tekura.school.nz/learn-with-us/get-started/get-started-online/

There are rules around how the school will support your child so that there is adequate time in the school day for the students’ Te Kura study, and that students have the resources and regular, sufficient access during the day to the hardware/software they need for their courses.  We found that some study time at home is also needed as class activities can make regular Te Kura time difficult.

Unfortunately, Te Kura changed their policy for subjects that need equipment. Te Kura used to provide resources (e.g. science kits) that contained all you needed to complete that module. Schools must now provide the equipment themselves (we had to give up science after the rule change as a primary school doesn’t have access to chemistry chemicals!). (Policy reconfirmed Oct 2018 with Te Kura).

Dual enrolment can be tricky to manage as there may need to be a subject trade-off to fit all the work in a school day. You may be able to negotiate less of the standard set homework so that there is  time to do any catch-up out of school to balance things out.  A chat at the beginning of the year with the classroom teacher helps set everyone’s expectations.

Schools can also contact their Te Kura Relationship Coordinator, Te Kura has one in each region.  If parents need to discuss their child’s Te Kura course they can also contact the Relationship Coordinator though it’s better to check with your school first. Some are happy for you to do the legwork, others would rather manage it themselves.

Supporting Documentation

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Your child needs to have a current IEP (less than 6 months old) developed by their school. The IEP should include Te Kura enrolment in the particular subject(s) your child has chosen.

Evidence

The school must gather and provide supporting evidence that your child is ‘exceptionally able and in the top 5% of their age group for the subject’. This is relatively easy for subjects that are taught at the school already, or are easily tested.  Others like science, are trickier in a primary school as it is not taught alone and is not tested for.  Evidence that can be used includes results from the ICAS exams, or a supporting letter from the child’s class teacher or a MindPlus (New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education) if your child attends.

Programme of Development

Under the new gazetted policy, the school also needs to show that it is “undertaking a programme of development to enhance their ability to provide similar enrichment and extension programmes.”  This may be a bit hard if it’s a primary school enrolling in a secondary school level subject, but Te Kura seems to understand that schools can’t do the impossible.

Good luck with the process and happy learning!