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Waitara East School


Teachers are noticing the importance of children being active during break times, and we all have a part to play in providing that environment.


Aim/Focus: Co-curricular

  • To get students positively involved with lunchtime activities.


At Waitara East School, approximately 60% of our students are identified as Māori. We have a role of around 210 students, with nine classrooms. We have many students who are unable to engage in an appropriate activity at break times, therefore they simply wander around school and cause disruptions or initiate fights with others. Physical education (PE) gear is basic with very little variety. Students show very little respect towards the gear, and our budget seems to go towards gear that would be considered consumable.

  • Behaviour: 20–25% of students would make the wrong choice over a 5-week timeframe
  • Students with the most mana displayed negative behaviour
  • Missing PE equipment
  • Damage to gear
  • Lack of variety in sporting activities in the playground
  • Students mooching around, intimidating others.

Process undertaken

  • Issues reflection
  • Identify goal
  • Plan of implementing
  • Action action plan
  • Barriers

Identify goals

  • To get students to respect PE gear and look after it
  • To get the ‘moochers’ actively involved with activities during breaks
  • To get students to set up and support activities during break time
  • To reduce the violent behaviour shown during break time.


  • Behaviour
  • Surveys
  • Discussions.

Using surveys and asking the students the "Hard Questions", we collected hard data and identified areas of high need.


  • PE boxes
  • Equipment
  • Storage
  • Collecting.

Instead of having individual PE boxes for each classroom, we will trial having a box of equipment in a variety of areas around the school (for example, tennis court, basketball courts, cricket field, softball field, and gutter board courts). The School PE Monitors are responsible for the checking and collecting of those boxes at the end of each break time.

The storage of the equipment will be changed to an area that is accessible to all staff members. Money is to be spent to shelve the new area and set it up in sections - for example, large ball area, small ball area (catching, throwing, striking), athletics, and cooperation/team-building activities.

As we have reviewed our yearly programme, we are now able to stocktake and buy equipment specifically targeted to our PE programme.


  • Identifying process
  • Profile of a leader
  • Roles and responsibilities.

By creating school leaders, we are able to use the students in a number of ways:

  • Communication: they will be going into classrooms and relaying information to the students about the different activities taking place in break times
  • Identifying concerns/problems in the playground and working with adults to solve them
  • Setting up activities during break times and encouraging others to join in
  • Identify students 'caught being good' (specific behaviours identified by students and staff), hand out tickets and have draws in assembly.

Identify those "at risk"

  • Involvement
  • Responsibility
  • Positive mana.

Using the discipline data, we identified students who were regularly offending. They became organisers of the break-time activities (the setting up and facilitators). They also had the responsibility for identifying students making the right choice ('caught being good').


  • Term events
  • Cross grouping
  • Tuakana / teina.

By looking at the term events calendar, we made sure each term had at least two events that involved the community - for example, adult versus students at soccer, netball, basketball, sprints, and athletics. We incorporated these days into a schoolwide event - for example, Athletics Day, Folk Dancing, Tabloids Day, Hangi Day, and Arts Day.


  • Within school
  • Wider community.

A noticeboard was erected in an area where students and adults frequently walked. School leaders were responsible for keeping it up to date and publicising "up 'n' coming events". Students were like reporters, taking photos and doing reports for the school noticeboard and newsletter.

A Mana Team was set up, which consisted of parents, students, and staff. This team meets fortnightly to discuss behaviour management/issues arising and to have a shared pot-luck dinner.


  • Library/ICT
  • Duty responsibility.

The duty roster was adapted to allow one staff member to be around the students doing activities in break times, to keep interest levels high. A teacher aide was assigned to open the library and ICT room during lunchtime.

Parents / Community

  • Promoting Give It a Go!
  • Role modelling
  • Facilitating activities
  • Engaging with students.

Identifying parents who belong or associate with a local sports club to encourage them to come in during break times for coaching sessions.



Recent data has shown the violence in the playground for the last 14 weeks (term 3 and four weeks of term 4) has dramatically decreased with only two incidences of punching and 12 incidences of pushing offences.

Because of this, we are having a big push for following teachers’ instructions. At this stage (the past 14 weeks), the majority of the incidences recorded are for not following the teachers’ instructions.


We now need to work on setting up the new PE room with shelving and, eventually, external access so that the leaders can hand out the PE gear during breaks.


As this is the first year of having school leaders, we have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. Giving students the responsibility to make a difference and have a say in the way the school is run has had many positive effects. The leaders are able to give important feedback about what is needed in the playground. They also take control and help solve the problems.

At times, a lot of the organisation fell on the leaders so thought was given to the number of leaders who run break-time activities. As a result, deputy leaders were created to help with the workload. (These deputy leaders have numerous other responsibilities - for example, junior/senior/whole school assemblies, discos, fundraising events, organising, and PE equipment.)

Identify those "at risk"

The number of individuals reoffending has lowered to 4% (over a 5-week period). The number of students who have been identified as ‘at risk’ is eight out of 200. There are many who sit on the fringe, but are making the right choices and getting involved with activities during breaks.

Whānau / Parents / Community

We have had an excellent response, with the parents joining in with adult versus students sporting events. We have added 'having picnics with your child' and are still working on ways to work with the community.


At this stage, we have just begun to get the leaders going into the classrooms to discuss concerns and give updates on what is happening.


Teachers are supporting the idea to allow one teacher to monitor lunchtime activities and another to roam around the playground. The library and ICT room are now open during lunchtime.


  • SWOT analysis
  • Lessons learnt
  • Success factors.

Leaders in a school are a real asset. They are willing to be part of running break-time activities. They thrive on responsibility and are more than capable of fulfilling tasks set. They also give valuable input to help solve problems in the playground. It takes a lot of energy by individuals to set up, but hopefully will get easier each year it continues.

This is something that is ongoing and needs constant direction, regular meetings, and discussions to keep everyone focused.