The latest meeting of the South Wairarapa Whanau Advisory Group (SWAG) was held at Greytown School on Tuesday.

The group comprises principals, teachers, school trustees and family members of pupils at Kuranui College and South Wairarapa school and early childhood centres.

Educator Lynette Bradnam is co-ordinating the group after a career teaching in the school and tertiary sectors and working as an assistant principal.

Mrs Bradnam spent five years developing university programmes and lecturing at the Wellington College of Education, where she became head of school, Te Kura Maori, when the college merged with Victoria University.

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During her time at the university, Mrs Bradnam was also involved in research and evaluation, and helped evaluate Te Kauhua Maori Mainstream Pilot Project for the Ministry of Education.

She was also involved in the development of key professional training programmes for teachers of Maori students while working at the ministry, including programmes such as Te Kotahitanga, Te Mana Korero and Te Kauhua.

The aim of the group was "for everyone to learn and be advised on how best to communicate and engage with Maori learners, and to help encourage and support their whanau.

"We then report back to share our experiences and to bounce ideas off each other."

Greytown School has developed a Maori Support Group through the SWAG initiative and principal Ken Mackay said the meetings had yielded "something positive" for his school and its Maori pupils.

SWAG was established through the Kahungnunu ki Wairarapa Education Strategy, He Heke Tuna, He Heke Rangatira, which launched in the region a year ago.

The $788,000 scheme was funded by the Ministry of Education and sets out to boost Maori achievement from early childhood to tertiary level.

Family learning units and a reading programme for families were also established, alongside the whanau advisory groups.

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