Kea Crossing IMG1389 IMG9913 IMG7815 Wakefield School from Lookout 3 IMG4764 Picture from Waimea Weekly

The Oldest School in New Zealand Celebrates 



You may not have heard, but the oldest school in New Zealand is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.  What school is that, you ask? It’s ours!  

Yes, Wakefield School, opened on 8 October 1843 in Mary-Ann Baigent’s front room on Edward Street, is the oldest continuous school in New Zealand.  At least that’s our claim, and nobody has come forward to dispute it, and we’ve been testing the proposition around the country for a while. 

So, we invite you to celebrate 175 years of schooling in Wakefield on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 November.

Here’s what’s happening on those days: 


Friday 9 November  

11.00am - 3.00pm    School showcase day.  Come and see how school works today.  Watch our super showcase extravaganza on Friday afternoon - songs, plays, puppets and much more! 

 7.00pm - 9.00p,    Wine and cheese evening.  Meet up with old school friends, community and neighbours. Speakers, entertainment by school groups. 


Saturday 10 November 

10.00am - 1.00pm    Take a guided bus tour of historic Wakefield and districts. Visit Higgins Park steam museum, Willow Bank historic village and sites of former schools around the valleys, with stories and commentary from specialists.  Lunch included. 

1.00pm - 3.00pm    Celebrations focus around rooms 1-2: photos, displays of historic information, children’s art exhibition and timeline of school history, big birthday cake and dedication of new school sign.

This includes the launch of a new book, Wakefield School: Into the 21st Century, a history of the past 25 years of our school by local author, Arnold Clark.  Books will be available for purchase throughout the weekend and after. 


3.00pm - 6.30pm    WAKEFIELD SCHOOL FAIR!   

No, it’s not the gala as we usually know it, although some things will be the same (great food, excellent entertainment and activities, children’s games, haunted house, petting zoo, rides, merchandise) and the event will capture the spirit of Wakefield school’s long history.  The fair is open to all, you don’t have to have registered for the 175th celebrations to enjoy this part of the weekend.    

7.00pm till late    Party with Nelson’s best blues/rock band, Boogey Train.  Bar and supper. Chill out space for those who want a quieter evening. 

You can register for all or some of the events:  

Hurry to register, some of the events are filling fast!  Registrations close early October so get to it! 



Welcome to new staff 

We welcome two new teacher aides to our learning support team; Sarah Bowron and Brayden Lisiecki. 

We also welcome Deirdre Johnson who will start a new entrant class in term four, located in room 10, to accommodate our fast-growing new entrant numbers.   

We hope our new staff enjoy their time at Wakefield School.


Have a beaut week,


Peter Verstappen 



Please click here to be taken to Waimea Community of Learning website

To view the latest update please click the following link here





    Please click here for the link to their flyer



    Education Review Office

    The latest ERO report for Wakefield School can be found here:




    Policies and procedures for Wakefield School can be found here:

    Logon: wakefield

    Password: village



Wakefield School 175th Celebration

Here is a link to the Registration Form for the Wakefield School 175th Anniversary Celebration to take place on Friday 9th November and Saturday 10th November 2018. Please feel free to share this with your friends and family and anyone you consider may be interested. Please be aware that there are limited tickets available for some events, so early registration will ensure that you don't miss out.

Event Registration

Event Timing: Friday 9th & Saturday 10th November 2018
Event Address: Edward Street, Wakefield School
Contact us on 03 541 8332 or email

Welcome to the Wakefield School 175th Anniversary Celebration. A varied weekend is planned for your pleasure and enjoyment. Please fill in the registration form below so we know what you plan on attending. Any references to Wakefield School below also relate to Eighty-Eight Valley School, Pigeon Valley School, Spring Grove School, Totara Bush Household School, Te Arowhenua Household School, Wai-iti School (formerly Upper Wakefield) and Foxhill School unless otherwise stated. 

PLEASE COMPLETE ONE FORM FOR EACH PERSON REGISTERING - An attending partner does not have to do a full registration.

Please click on the following link to complete the registration form Fill out form



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