New network for science teachers in Lower Hutt primaries

Joint release: Hutt City Council and Open

Media Release: Immediate

Date: 10 February

New network to support science teachers in
Lower Hutt primary schools

The Hutt Valley
Primary Science Education Network, launched today (10
February) at an event jointly hosted by Hutt City Council
and Open Polytechnic, aims to bring together key
stakeholders, including school principals, to address
challenges in science education in primary schools.

collaborative network will provide a platform to build a
strong collegial leadership base in science teaching in
Lower Hutt primary schools as a result of principals and
teachers sharing their experiences in this priority subject
area for the government.

Principals from throughout
Lower Hutt attended the event held at the Dowse Art Museum.
Speakers at the event included Education Minister Hekia
Parata, Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace, and Open Polytechnic
Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig.

During her speech, Dr
Seelig pointed to the need to encourage more young people to
study science so that they have better career opportunities
in a world that is increasingly turning to science based
innovations to remain globally competitive.

“Research by
the New Zealand Council for Educational Research has shown
that the best time to build an interest in science is when
children are at primary school. However, as a first step,
we need to build the confidence of our teachers who don’t
have a background in science.”

The Open Polytechnic has
made their Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching
(Curriculum) fee free for 2014 so that practising teachers
can strengthen their understanding of science so that they
can confidently teach the subject to their students. The
qualification is offered by distance learning so that
teachers can immediately use what they are learning in their
own classrooms.

Mayor Ray Wallace announced funding of
$120,000 by way of a $2,500 Mayoral Scholarship to each
Lower Hutt Primary School that has a teacher enrolled in the
qualification for additional science resources in support of
the teacher doing the qualification. “Giving primary
teachers support to inspire our youth in the sciences will
help transform the Hutt Valley into one of New Zealand’s
leading export and economic growth centres, based on
science, engineering and technology.”

The event
concluded with Hon Hekia Parata reinforcing the
government’s commitment to building science leadership in
primary schools, and how local primary schools will benefit
from the new teaching and leadership pathways announced by
the Prime Minister in January.

The Hutt Valley Primary
Science Education Network will be administered by the Open
Polytechnic. For more information on the Open
Polytechnic’s fee free offer for 2014 for the Graduate
Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) go to


About Open

The Open Polytechnic is New
Zealand’s specialist provider of open and distance
learning, enrolling over 34,000 part-time students per year.
The majority of students are adult learners combining work
and study, making the Open Polytechnic one of New
Zealand’s major educators of people in the


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