Owhata School principal Bob Stiles plans to use a fellowship he's been awarded to look at ways to improve whānau engagements.

Stiles said he was thrilled to be named the recipient of the 2019 Rotorua Principals' Association travelling fellowship, sponsored by Ricoh.

The fellowship gives the recipient $8000 towards travel to go learn about other education methods and bring ideas back to Rotorua.

Stiles intends to use the fellowship to go to Winnipeg in Canada and to Wales to get ideas on increasing whānau engagement.

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"In New Zealand most Māori are in the mainstream schools. I'll look at how we can change education to better meet their needs and make whānau feel welcome."

The recipient of the Rotorua Principals' Association travelling fellowship, Bob Stiles from Owhata Primary School. Photo/File
The recipient of the Rotorua Principals' Association travelling fellowship, Bob Stiles from Owhata Primary School. Photo/File

Stiles will go on the month-long fellowship in term 2 of next year and will also attend an international education conference while there.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for further learning. We can get so caught up in the day-to-day we don't think about bigger picture."

Stiles said the work the school has been doing with Ngāti Te Roro o Te Rangi brought about the idea and he was grateful the board of trustees were allowing him to take the trip.

The fellowship announcement was made at a Rotorua Principals' Association professional development day held at the Novotel yesterday.

Association president Briar Stewart said the day was a good way to hear local success stories.

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Over the course of the day those attending heard from other principals as well as staff from the Ministry of Education and other organisations.

"It's lovely to have some of our former principals in the ministry," Stewart said.

"There's that strong connection straight away and also an understanding."

Otonga Rd School principal Linda Woon said the association tried to have one professional development day per year.

Former principal Cathryn Naera now works for the Ministry of Education and spoke at a professional development day. Photo/Stephen Parker
Former principal Cathryn Naera now works for the Ministry of Education and spoke at a professional development day. Photo/Stephen Parker

"It's an opportunity to hear from our colleagues because everyone is working hard in their schools doing great things and we don't get to see or hear about it because we're all busy in our own schools."

Lynmore School principal Lorraine Taylor said it was also nice to have assistant and deputy principals at the event as they were the future leaders.

Previous recipients of the fellowship include Horohoro School principal Eden Chapman and Waikite Valley School principal Teresa Topp.