In 2014, the Ministry of Education set up a funding programme to assist schools in establishing Asian language learning programmes from primary to secondary school level. The fund encourages greater collaboration amongst schools, in partnership with external Asian language and cultural organisations.
In 2016 Orewa College successfully applied for funding, recruited expert Chinese and Japanese teachers and established the Orewa ALLiS programme. We introduced Chinese to Orewa College in 2016 and began teaching Chinese and Japanese in all five primary schools (Orewa Primary, Orewa North, Silverdale School, Waitoi School and Wainui School) participating in our programme in 2017. Currently we teach a term programme of language and cultural understanding to students in Orewa College.
In 2018 the programme expanded to include younger students in some schools and teaching Year 10 Chinese at Orewa College.
From 2019, the programme will be self-sustaining, as the Ministry funding ends.
Orewa ALLiS has collaborated with a range of Chinese and Japanese cultural foundations this year, with Year 7 Chinese students winning speech competitions sponsored by the Confucius Foundation. The Asian Foundation funded our highly successful Asian Experience Day where we hosted over 800 Year 7 & 8 students in our programme for a day of activities, this included Asian food, and cultural performances. This will become a regular feature of our ALLiS programme.
Orewa College also has a long history of cultural exchanges with Japanese schools, which we continue to visit annually, while senior students visit Japan every two years.
The ALLiS programme provides an excellent springboard for the establishment of our Community of Learning, Orewa Kahui Ako, Te Te hapora waihanga with the same primary schools. It provides a model for active collaboration between our schools to promote learning for all akonga. Future directions may see us introducing Spanish into the language teaching programme in primary schools, promoting more contacts with schools in Japan and China and the establishment of a sister school in China to facilitate further cultural and language exchanges.