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Restorative Practice - An Invitation


Several years ago we introduced restorative justice at Wakefield School as a more constructive way of solving conflict, one very visible part of which has been to train senior students as Cool School peer mediators - your child will be familiar with our catchcry “don’t get mad, get a mediator!”  At the heart of restorative practice is a conversation that finds out what happened, establishes guilt and moves to an outcome that satisfies all parties - culprit and victim.   

The emphasis is always on restoration, making things better, which makes sense in our setting because often the fights and arguments are between children who are, or who want to be, friends.  If they settle the problem in better shape to carry on their friendship then something has been gained.  That’s not to say there are no consequences for causing hurt, but the emphasis in the consequences is not on punishment but restoration - making things better.     

Over the past few months we’ve been revisiting the restorative model and refreshing it around the school.  Staff have received further training in how to mediate disputes and children are once again learning to be better at talking through their problems - with help, of course.    

We think restorative practice is a pretty good skill for life and that it might make your life a bit easier at home, so we’re offering a workshop for parents on Monday 30 May where you can find out more about this approach to resolving conflict and learn a few strategies to use at home.  We figure our kids will be well served if both school and home are singing from the same song sheet on this, so we hope you’ll take up the offer to attend - see the flyer in this newsletter.  We’ll provide childcare and refreshments.   


All a-Board    

Congratulations to our new Board of Trustees.  Our parent representatives are: 

Phil Platt 

Sonya Emerson 

Sarah Ching 

Nathan Taylor 

Ali Kennard. 

The staff representative is Tiffany Woodley. 

I sincerely thank the outgoing members of the previous Board; Marko Doblanovic, Amanda Ledger and Shane Davies.  Your work on behalf of our families and children has been outstanding and you leave the school in very good heart and performing well.  Our kiwi model of self-managing schools governed by an elected Board of parent volunteers is a unique foundation for home-school partnership that contributes strongly to the success of our education system.  I look forward to our new Board taking up the challenge.     


Write? - Right! 

Here’s a vivid piece of writing from Fletcher. 

Yo bro! Let’s go surf.  I’m trying to catch a five metre tail drift!  Yo, bro! Let’s flick up some salt.  I need to get some salt on my gums.  I like catching waves!  I love the salt water when it washes over my face. 

Fletcher tells me he’s saving up to buy his first surfboard.  Go that boy! 



Have a beaut week. 


Peter Verstappen 








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    Education Review Office

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Current Vacancy

I welcome your application for a fixed term teaching position at Wakefield School.

We have a vacancy for a teacher in our new entrant/Year 1 team to begin Monday 25 July 2016 and to finish on Thursday 15 December 2016.

The role is to accommodate new entrant roll growth.  The successful applicant will join a team of two new entrant/year 1 teachers working collaboratively in shared learning spaces.

N.B. This position is suitable for a beginning teacher.


Please click on the Our School tab then onto Staff Vacancies for the application form and further details of the position.







Here’s What We Mean by ‘Student-Led Learning’


Jordan, who is six years old, was recently appointed to our Student Council as a representative of Matai Kereru team.  Last week our Council meeting clashed with scooter training for Jordan.  He came to the office to tell me but I was out, so what did Jordan do?  He wrote me this letter:



To mistir vstn

Sore I cant go to the

Shooht cousool

Becose I

Got scooti

Chraning at



from Jordan.


I love this letter, for two reasons.  First, it is a beautiful expression of a child learning to write; look at how he has made sense of the words ‘student council’, you can hear Jordan picking out the sounds in his mind. 


Second, it is a beautiful expression of student-led learning.  You might ask, ‘what’s he learning?’ but consider this.  Here’s Jordan, 6, as a thinker: he knows he has an obligation to the Student Council, he sees he cannot fulfil it, he comes to tell me, that doesn’t work, he decides he needs to write to me so he creates this letter and brings it to the office.  This is even more impressive because Jordan doesn’t know much about the Student Council yet, he’s only attended one meeting, but he knows he has some sort of obligation to it.  Here’s Jordan as a communicator: if he can’t tell me in person, he’ll slave over this letter to get the message to me.  Here’s Jordan as a planner: he’s thinking ahead and balancing his commitments.  Okay, Jordan will have had some prompts from his teacher, but he’s taken up the challenge and look at what he’s achieved. 


I value the opportunities children have to be leaders at school through the Student Council, committees, monitors and other roles.  Their work in these roles contributes to the smooth running of the school, but as well as leading others they provide real occasions for children to lead themselves, to become masters of their own learning.  And that’s what a democratic curriculum looks like.


Have a good week,




Peter Verstappen 


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