Pupils in need of help

Pupils in need of help

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Waimate school has been placed on a KidsCan waiting list, which means less fortunate pupils will receive provisions they need to focus in the classroom.

Waimate Centennial School is one of 14 schools nationwide waiting for tangible support from KidsCan, to help about 20 of its 160 pupils get through the school gates and ready to learn.

Nationwide, more than 2600 children are on KidsCan's waiting list in need of raincoats, shoes, food and basic health and hygiene
products before the onset of winter.

Waimate Centennial School principal Jonathan Young said pupils who come to school with no breakfast or inadequate winter clothing struggled in the classroom.

"Absolutely, there is an impact on their learning. We aim to make education equal in New Zealand. These kids that start off with less than others, with no breakfast, no lunch, no raincoat and no shoes, they have to think
about all sorts of other things before they sit down and think about their learning. It's not fair."

"If you think about how you are going to get home because it's bucketing down outside, or thinking about what you're going to have for lunch during maths, you're not going to be thinking about maths, and that's not good."

The school has a breakfast club, for pupils who need it, which feeds 12 to 15 pupils each day, and lunch can also be provided if necessary.

Food is often given to the school by members of the public and is also distributed to local families in need.
Mr Young said the support of KidsCan complemented what the school was already doing.

"It will make a difference to what we can provide for our students. We could manage, but it would be a lot harder without KidsCan on board. It's going to make the job much more manageable."

He said the school was "very, very grateful" for KidsCan's support.

"There are kids in dire need and can't focus on their learning. If we can alleviate some of their concerns, it might just open the road for then to get going in their learning. We're all about getting kids out of the trap and improving their learning."

KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman said a third of New Zealand children who lived in hardship had access to KidsCan's programmes, more than 119,000 children in 544 low-decile schools across the country.
Two years ago, the average number of children who needed food support in KidsCan partner schools was around 15%, but that had risen to 20%.