Sumner School Board Talk
BOARD TALK June 2016
This is the last Board talk from the current Board! We have really enjoyed working alongside the teachers and Management Team and would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. One thing that is definitely gained through being on the Board of Trustees is an appreciation of how dedicated the staff are and how hard they work to provide our children with a wide breadth and high standard of education.
We are saying farewell to two long-standing members with the upcoming elections; Ann Skelton and Darren Wright. Our school community owe a huge debt of gratitude to both Ann and Darren for the incredible amount of energy and expertise that they have given the school during their eight years of service on the Board. I would especially like to mention Ann’s role during the tragic loss of members of our community in 2014. Darren’s responsibilities have been extensive including school finance as well as playing a key role in the project management of our fantastic school hall. Both were also trustees throughout the time of the quakes. Thank you Ann and Darren!
A lot has happened in the last three years since the current Board was elected and the next term promises to be both a challenging and exciting time for our school and the new Board. Votes are currently being counted and will be posted on the Canterbury Education Services website www.cessl.org.nz on Thursday June 9th at 1:00pm.
Education Renewal Programme Update
There is no doubt that having the timeframe for the start of renewal work for our school altered from 2019 to this year is challenging for our whole school community. It means that we will have a less gradual transition than we might have had if we had continued making incremental changes to the school over a longer period of time. We have all had a shorter lead-in time to get our heads around the shift that is occurring in education in general and at our school. It is probably safe to say that it is our children who will prove to be the most adaptable in this process! Having said that, the building and renewal programme will take 2-3 years and will not happen all at once. It will proceed in stages so there will be time to adjust as it progresses. Part of this will include sharing class programmes with parents and students of different year levels as they move into each new space. In many cases, these programmes will not be vastly different from those presently used.
What will not change is the teachers’ focus on enabling our children to achieve to the best of their ability in all areas of the curriculum. The curriculum will not change. Neither will the teachers’ practice of continuously improving teaching strategies and assessing their effectiveness with regard to children’s engagement and achievement.
The staff have been training in and trialing greater collaboration for a few years now. This is increasing at all levels of the school. Moving into more flexible learning spaces will help mitigate some of the physical constraints of current classrooms but will also present its own challenges as staff and children adapt. Teachers have been visiting schools and talking to and learning from teachers who are now working in these kinds of spaces.
Lyttelton School Visit: Lyttelton School has invited interested parents to come and view their school on June 15th from 4:00pm. This will be an excellent opportunity to see a newly rebuilt school and get a feel for the acoustics and layout of furniture in their learning spaces.
So where to from here? The architects from Opus International have now completed the Draft Master Plan report including feedback from comments at the Community Consultation Meeting at the beginning of May. This was sent to the Ministry of Education’s Design Review Panel in early June. We hope that by the time the Master Plan is signed off by the Ministry, that a final decision will have been made with regard to the possible closure of Redcliffs School as we feel that there must be greater clarity around roll numbers before moving into the Design stage.
The Design Stage will take around 6 months from its outset. It is not yet clear as to what our school community consultation will look like at this part of the process.
Thank you to parents who have taken the time to come to the drop-in sessions, the community meeting and to write in with concerns and comments. Please continue to read the updates put out in the newsletters and on the school website. Please do not hesitate to speak to any member of the Board should you wish to do so.
Thank you also to the PTA for what is shaping up to be another incredibly successful year of fundraising. The funds raised are so crucial as they enable enhancements to the school such as the playgrounds and Astroturf for the children to benefit from and enjoy. Such facilities would not be possible without the voluntary efforts of so many clever and hardworking parents. Thank you!