Stewart Germann Grant-Tim Bray Theatre Company-Extraordinary Creative Programme

The 2020 grant was for the development and delivery of a pilot programme of drama classes children and young people on the Autism Spectrum over a 10-week period.

The objectives of the programme  were for participants to develop:

strategies and life skills to support communication and self-expression 

confidence and connection

social skills

strategies for self-regulation and executive functioning


Contact: Sally Warrender

Avondale Primary School-Mana Potential

Mana Potential is a strengths based Te Ao Māori tool that promotes and develops children’s emotional regulation and hauora. Avondale Primary School began the implementation of Mana Potential as a school-wide system in 2020 and the CET funding in 2021 is primarily for teacher release and provision of resource material to support the programme.

A brief explanation of Mana Potential can be found on YouTube at Please note it was not Avondale Primary School who created this video, but it succinctly explains the outline and purpose. 

At mid year, there has been a significant drop in behavioural incidents, stand downs and referrals to behavioural and learning support services.

Contact: Cat Wilson

University of Canterbury

Dr Jayne White -    Nature and impacts of different kinds of transitions on young children as they move through early learning to schoolDr White has moved to the University of Canterbury (still an Adjunct Professor at  RMIT), and hosting of this project is now at that institution.  The beneficiaries of the CET-funded component remain NZ children. The project is part of the Pedagogies of Educational Transitions (POET) project investigating children’s early learning transitions across the world: in Brazil, Finland, Scotland, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand.  The project includes conducting a video-informed study that takes account of the emotional and social experiences of very young children in their earliest encounters in formal educational settings outside of their home.  The project involves early childhood education services in a range of settings in Tauranga and Hamilton.Contact: Dr Jayne White

Te Rito Toi

Te Rito Toi helps teachers work with children when they first return to school following major traumatic or life changing events.

It does that by providing research informed practical classroom activities and lesson plans to help children better understand their changed world and to begin to see themselves as being part of the promise of new and better futures.  Te Rito Toi seeks to imbue the return to school with the joy, possibility and beauty of the arts to re-engage students with the wonder of learning.

Te Rito Toi is based on understanding that the arts are uniquely placed to lead a return to productive learning when schools reopen.

Contact: Professor Peter O'Connor

TeachFirst NZ Teacher mentor support

This programme aims to establish a world-class programme for all mentors working with TFNZ participants, with the potential to make available for other programmes, and leave a legacy of supporting new teachers in the schools that TFNZ partner with. 

Deliverables in 2019 academic year:

  • Review and redesign current mentor programme and handbook with updated resources, increased guidance on effective mentoring, and benchmark it with other great models
  • Design an evaluation, with support from CET, to investigate the effectiveness of  current work with mentors, and learn from the experience of the mentors in 2019 about how TFNZ can improve the programme, hopefully in partnership with some of TFNZ schools
  • Develop an online sharing platform for mentors to access information about their participants and additional resources
  • Dedicate a member of the Teach First NZ staff to working with the mentors and the programme
  • Run more in-person, cluster and online meetings with mentors through the year

Initially the learnings from this project will be used by Teach First NZ to inform own programme development, and with tertiary partner to influence the development of flagship qualification. 

Project report which we will make publicly available and shareable via our website. 

In 2020 academic year re-launching the programme with mentors for the year. 

Contact: Patricia Bell

Manurewa Kahui Ako- AREA Initiative

AREA-Attendance, retention, engagement and achievement

CET is funding the delivery of a programme, over four years, that addresses the two transitions that occur from Year 6-9 with the aim to see a positive shift in attendance, retention, engagement and achievement in a cohort of students  from about 25 whanau identified at risk of disengaging from school. A coordinator works intensively with students and whanau. Lessons to date, covering the Covid lockdown period are:

  • Overall, the AREA students overcame the obstacles caused by the Lockdown
  • Some struggled to cope with the unstructured nature of home learning
  • Being able to communicate with friends and family online using Zoom, Google Meetings, face time etc. was best for students: parents/caregivers preferred daily phone calls
  • Daily online catch ups with friends and classmates was key in maintaining the emotional well being of students.
  • Coordinator provided PD on practical ways to emotionally engage students after Lockdown
  • Full impact yet to be seen. These are students already with attendance and engagement issues and last year had very supportive and structured conditions

From the original cohort of fourteen students there are still eleven attending school-two left the area and one student left school to start attending alternative education.
Contact :Iain Taylor Principal MIS>

Whanganui Learning Centre

Improving oral language skills

The Whanganui Learning Centre Trust has its roots in the Adult Reading and Learning Assistance (ARLA) movement that grew from a community need 40 years ago. WLCT has a history of successfully delivering Adult and Community Education, literacy, numeracy and technology programmes throughout the Whanganui community. It is a research-based organisation that is working collaboratively with a range of local and national providers to enhance the foundational skills and well-being of adults and their whanau—especially Māori  and Pasifika with low-or-no skills.

The CET grant is to improve oral language skills through better communication between hard-to-engage parents, their teachers and children. Activities include whanau groups joining with the Whanganui Regional Museum to run an interactive journey on “waka journeys and stories”. 

Contact: Jen McDonald Manager

Paekākāriki School

Get Stuck In programme for disengaged boys

Paekākāriki School is a small village school with 150 children, years 1-8, on the Kāpiti Coast, supporting a diverse socio-economic population.

Get Stuck In takes disengaged boys years 4 - 8 and gives them time outside the classroom, guidance and resources to learn a new craft ( e.g. building, kite making, whakairo (wood carving), to increase their engagement with school in general by boosting their confidence and competencies. They work with a dedicated male teacher aide, with support from classroom teachers.

Alongside the boys’ learning, their teacher aide and teachers will have professional development aimed at informing their own inquiries into teaching priority male students. Working together, they will reflect on the process, and then share their learning of working with this important target student group with the wider teaching community to other schools.
Contact: Julie Bevan

Stewart Germann Grant 2019-Whangaehu School

This year the Stewart Germann grant was awarded to Whangaehu School a rural full primary school  near Whanganui with 37 students from age 5 to 13.

Project Outdoor education to build capacities through whole school camp with Ka Hikitia approach, specifically an outdoor education his camp with focus on building capabilities of tamariki, raising engagement in their learning and expectations of themselves.

  The camp will allow Maori to learn as Maori and also several ADHD students will benefit from learning through movement. The camp would build teacher capacity as teachers learn new skills to bring back to the classroom; along with new relationships, better trust and greater knowledge of the child and family so that curriculum/lessons can fully reflect the needs, dreams and aspirations of our students... 

Sunset Road School Student Engagement Plan-Nga Tama Toa support

In 2018, CET provided funding for the Ngā Tama Toa class initiative for 9 boys with significant learning and behaviour needs. Their classroom had many digital resources, more opportunity for 1:1 support and an environment that placed less demands on their resiliency and stress levels.

Due to the resignation of the dedicated teacher for the Nga Tama Toa class  (to take up a Principal position), the school has had to transition to an in-class support model. 

By he end of 2019, the Principal concluded that the boys had made very little progress socially and academically, and evidence that the boys struggled to adapt to the mainstream class environment after 14 months in Nga Tama Toa was evidence of the failure of the model.

The  Principal's view is that such special classes are outmoded and improvements in the schools physical environment and  activities and expectations on students has been of more  benefit to high needs students.

Contact: Eden Chapman

Cholmondeley Children’s Centre Building mindfulness capabilities

The Christchurch Centre works with many children who have been affected by trauma and struggle to regulate their emotions and cope with daily stressors, impacting their ability to learn.  There has been evidence to suggest mindfulness as being a successful approach to working with such children.

CET funding provided:

  • Mindfulness training session on-site 
  • Eight week online training for staff
  • Development of  Kura mindfulness lesson plans

Mindfulness sessions  were introduced into Kura and wider daily routines like bedtimes  and documents  updated for example consistency guidelines.  

Core team who attended mindfulness training  upskilled remaining and new staff members via practice team meetings 

Training session for regular internal Personal Development session continue to focus on and upskill from the learning. Currently Cholmondeley holds two PD weeks each year

Havelock North Kahui Ako -Inspire in Education

Havelock North  Kahui Ako: Havelock North Intermediate School, Te Mata Primary School, Lucknow Primary School, Havelock North Primary School  came  together to  addresses inequality in learning outcomes between Maori boys and NZ European boys through the Inspire in Education mentoring model based on a kaupapa Māori approach.

The project involved 50 Maori boys, 10 from Years 4-6 in each of the three primary schools and 20 students from the intermediate school.  The key objectives of the programme were:

  • Improved attendance baseline-after project 
  • Improved student achievement 
  • Improved well being 
  • Increased whanau engagement

  • Student voice

  • Increased teacher understanding and capacity to engage with and motivate Maori boys and whanau.

Quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated improvements in all these  areas.

Storytime Foundation 1000 Days” From thought to action

CET is contributed to the first year of this 3 year project which builds on the pilot CET helped fund to grow the service base and develop the infrastructure to support more disadvantaged families. Up to 5000 families in South Auckland will benefit over 3 years.  

The programme focussed on encouraging and teaching parents to bond, read, talk, sing and fully engage with their children. They were given books, resources, support and information to develop confidence and parenting skills critical in the child’s early years, to provide a better future for their children and reduce disparities in social outcomes. 

Working collaboratively with Talking Matters, Plunket, Family Start, midwives, Ministry of Education, Corrections and others and commencing 1 July 2019 a programme is to be rolled out over three years.

At March 2020  4000 families in Northland and South Auckland had benefited. The programme is currently being evaluated by oPint Research.

Comet Auckland - Rangatahi wananga

COMET is a Council Controlled Organisation of Auckland Council and also an independent Charitable Trust supporting education and skills across Auckland.

The project included a Hui to hear and learn from rangatahi about their aspirations and what would make a difference; to inform educational practice with Māori learners and drive youth-led collaborative action under the Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum . The 60-100 participants were identified from range of organisations across youth justice, trade training, unemployed, kura, mainstream school, university, polytechnic, private training establishments, urban marae and mana whenua marae.
Key learnings from the project were:

  • The hui provided rangatahi with a platform they would not otherwise  have had  to share their life experiences
  • Rangatahi want the opportunity to say what is important to them and a say in life choices. 
  • Desire for more Hui and whakawhānaungatanga -getting to know one another, making relationships.
  • Youth Steering Roopu (YSR) has been working to bring together the themes from the wider consultation.  The following are kaupapa (themes) the YSR have begun to synthesise -
  • Racism – disrespect
  • Exposed to too much freedom makes you grow up to quick
  • High expectations from adults
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • An inclusive environment

Messages and findings of the Hui have been reported to Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum (TMEF) Hui in May 2018 .The next step will be for the Youth Steering Roopu to decide on a kaupapa (theme) as a focus for their work and COMET’s work in 2019.  

Contact: Huia Hawke (Ngahuia)

Manager Education Māori

Silverstream South School

Effective transition to primary school    

Silverstream South School is in Mosgiel on the southern boundary of Dunedin,  with  282 students, mainly low-income- 66% European, 25% Māori, 3% Pasifika, 3% Asian. In 2018 there were 63 new entrants from 10 early Learning Centres  and there will be  6-10 four year olds in each ELC, per term.

The project sets up a collaborative model between family/whanau, ELCs and Silverstream South School, to achieve a transition to school that is more supportive, better prepared, child- centred, and will reduce anxiety and disruptive behaviour; with a drop in RTLB referrals and disruptive behaviour in older children as they progress through the school.  The project will explore:

  • The barriers to transition
  • Early intervention for children with special needs
  • Play- based learning, learner agency and wrap around care
  • Resources that support whanau and children
  • Programmes the school can support, like digital learning, kapahaka, science, music or arts 

Contact: Greg Hurley Principal

Havelock North Primary School

Engaging in learning and raising achievement  
of Māori boys 

Havelock Nth Primary has 552 students -58 (10%) Māori, with a cohort of Māori boys who are under achieving.
The project is linking with Havelock North Intermediate and the work Conrad Waitoa (Inspire in Education)  is doing with a similar group (funded by CET), with encouraging results.  The project is to engage with 6 boys and their whanau to build their self-esteem and advise staff on successful strategies to impact on all Māori learners.
This work will generate important data and professional development to share with the other 6 schools in the Community of Learning in the Havelock North area.
Contact:  Nick Reed Principal

Havelock Intermediate School

Inspire in Education programme

Havelock North Intermediate has six contributing schools and is a part of a CoL/ Kahui Ako.
The school is exploring the reasons for lower achievement amongst Māori boys. CET is funding a programme, run by Inspire in Education that mentors six students at a time, forming a bond between them, the mentor, the school, the whanau and community. The boys explore their backgrounds, complete pepeha, meet local community members, discuss issues and problems and set learning and behavioural goals - such as greater participation in school or community activities, specific goals around maths achievement. Wellbeing is at the centre of the programme: health, fitness, kindness to self and others, self-management, participations, restorative practice.

Contact: Julia Beaumont, Principal

Auckland University

Professor Rubie- Davies- HERO High Expectations Remarkable Outcomes project

Professor Christine Rubie-Davies’ previous research identified that teachers who had high expectations for all their students, had marked positive effects on their students’ learning and social-psychological outcomes. That led to investigating the practices and beliefs of high expectation teachers to identify how they structured their classrooms and student learning in ways that resulted in such large gains for their students. 

The High Expectations Remarkable Outcomes Project (formerly the Teacher Expectation and Equity Project) is testing the model that when teachers in regular classrooms are trained in the practices of high expectation teachers, their students make large academic and social-psychological gains as compared to students with a control group of teachers.

The CET grant is for the first year of the HERO Project, for collection of baseline data and to employ seven second-year BEd (Tchg) pre-service teachers to work in each of the seven classes.

Contact: Professor Christine Rubie-Davies

Teach First NZ Fellows Programme

TeachFirst NZ (TFNZ) is an independent charitable trust that runs a teaching and leadership development programme in partnership with the University of Auckland. Participants concurrently teach classes in low decile schools and study for a postgraduate teaching diploma. After the two years, TFNZ supports its alumni, to remain engaged in advancing educational opportunity over the long-term.

The project

Cognition Education Trust funded TFNZ to expand its "Te Ahowhai" curriculum and deliver a customised leadership development programme to an additional 25 experienced teachers or “Fellows”.  Although participation was not as high as anticipated, the new TFNZ: Ako Mātātupu qualification- the Masters in Teaching and Education Leadership- has presented a new opportunity to engage with teachers outside of the Fellows programme, as well as informing the creation of the new Masters qualification.  TFNZ has taken responsible for the training of the In-School Mentors who support participants.


Evaluation of the TFNZ programme by NZCER, and other research in h New Zealand and overseas, identifies mentoring for beginning teachers as the least consistent or most variable element in new teachers’ induction and early development. Therefore, TFNZ sees the development of their work around supporting and growing mentors as having significant potential to impact not just TFNZ programme participants, but other teachers entering the profession for the first time. 

TFNZ is also considering how an initiative similar to the Fellows programme might be developed as a re-training course for overseas trained teachers who need to learn the unique context of New Zealand’s education system before they are appointed to schools. TFNZ are scoping how this might be designed and delivered, over what timeframe, and who potential collaborators might be. 

Read the Final report

Watch Video-hyperlink

Contact: Jay Allnutt CEO

Jay Allnutt

Other grants

In 2015, with unbudgeted income received from excellent returns on its investments, the Trust made three donations for projects that were consistent with its mission:

Manaiakalani Educational Trust –contribution towards their  Professional Learning and Development programme

Storytime Foundation - contribution to support the establish and management of two pilot programs (Manukau and Far North) to extend their delivery of their Books for Babies (‘B4B’) programme for children beyond current 12-14 months to 24 months

NZ Geographic - contribution towards the wire frame and code development of NZ Geographic’s digital educational resource.

University of Auckland, Dr Maree Davies- Developing Critical Thinking Skills

The Project

This was a longitudinal Student Voice senior secondary school project in critical

thinking (CT) and group discussions, during 2016 and 2017.

The students and teachers were from four co-educational secondary schools in Auckland.

The current study was the third in a series in the field of dialogue and focused on student voice within

small group discussions at senior secondary level in the curriculum areas of English and Geography.  

The initial aim was for senior secondary students to gain confidence in learning to use their voice to

express their critical thinking skills in group discussions that were taught within the project.

However, the wider outcome was that the students in the project also gained confidence in using

their new critical thinking skills outside of the project, i.e. in other curriculum areas and in

conversations with friends, family and the wider community.


One of the key recommendations of this research is that a critical thinking skills framework, 

should be taught to all Year 9 students so that using critical thinking skills become habitual

by NCEA or Cambridge exams.

 The study offers a new and innovative critical thinking model which will be made available to

all schools on the Ministry of Education site and will be accompanied by professional vignettes to be used as teaching resources. 

The findings of this study have been presented at the American Educational Research

Association (AERA) annual meeting in New York on 13 April 2018 as part of an international symposium on classroom talk.

Read final report

Watch Video

Contact: Dr Maree Davies

Whangarei Boys’ High School-Write That Essay

Whangarei Boys’ High School has been a school for day boys and boarders for over 135 years.  In 2016 the school roll was over 1250, with students coming from all over the Far North to attend Carruth House (boarding hostel), as well as serving the wider Whangarei area. Students are 40% Māori .

The Project

This project was a partnership between Whangarei Boys' High School and Dr Ian Hunter and the Write That Essay team designed to be a school wide transformation project to lift academic writing performance.  The project had different strands including deep and detailed analysis of student writing at the beginning and end of year 9. This was designed to identify actual writing needs and build teacher capability through staff PDL writing workshops.

Through targeted faculty work there was training in use of the online writing tool and improvement in the assessments task for internal assessments.

The aim was to have improved student performance in writing and heightened teacher skill in the area of teaching writing. The intention was to share the expertise developed at this school across the Primary and Intermediate schools in our local area.


Comparisons of year 9 test results of those taking part in WTE at beginning and end of 2017, showed:

 51% of cohort improved their writing skills by at least 1 level, broken down as: 

29% writing improved by one level

 18% improved by 2 levels

11% improved by 3 levels

1 student improved by 4 levels

 11% went backwards due to attendance and other issues

38% remained at same level.

 A Write That Essay Committee provided support to teachers in implementing the WTE programme and

PD in form of presentations was given to all staff at the beginning of terms 1, 2 and 3.

Two other schools in the Whangarei COL have been given presentations on WTE.

Watch Video


Contact:  Karen Gilbert-Smith, Principal