Changes for Pekerau

Principal Tania Bagley, teacher Natasha Martin, and deputy principal Kylie McKay

Te Awamutu’s Pekerau Primary School has welcomed in the school year with two new staff, deputy principal Kylie McKay, and teacher Natasha Martin.

On top of McKay and Martin joining the school, last year, Tania Bagley took the reins as the school’s principal.

McKay was first acquainted with Pekerau when she was five and completed year one at the school.

“This school has a massive heart, so to have been able to even apply for the job here is amazing,” she said.

McKay has background in literacy. As dyslexia specialist for Learning Matters she consulted with many schools, including Pekerau.

She says previous literacy education focused on a whole-word approach, but new science has revealed that this doesn’t work for every student, especially students with dyslexia.

Alongside her other duties her focus at Pekerau will be “not leaving reading to chance.”

Like McKay, Martin also received a form of education from the school before taking on her teaching position this year. The

Waikato University graduate interned at Pekerau last year.

“I am looking forward to putting all of my studies into practice,” she said.

Martin is from Paeroa but attended high school at Te Awamutu College. She says she is happy to be integrated into the community again.

Parts of her student teaching experience was online last year, due to Covid-19, and for many students this will be their third year returning to education during the pandemic.

Both McKay and Martin are glad their students can return to the school under Red Light.

Another major change to the school this year is their name. The name Pekerau is inaccurate and doesn’t represent the story of the region or school.

Pekapekarau will be the school’s new name. It means an area with hundreds of bats. They plan to celebrate the name correction in April.

Principal Tania Bagley, teacher Natasha Martin, and deputy principal Kylie McKay with happy students. Photo: Benjamin Wilson



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