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

Strike Action



Dear parent, caregiver and community member, 


As you know, primary teachers and principals across New Zealand intend to strike on Wednesday 15 August and our board of trustees has decided to close Wakefield School on that day.  


The last time primary teachers and principals went on strike was in 1994, so this is an action that is not taken lightly, and only after full consideration of the consequences, including the potential inconvenience to families.  


It’s important that you understand why principals and teachers feel so strongly about the issues that they have decided to strike.  All families have received the note from teachers reprinted below, and a letter from the board explaining the issues. 


A few things to add to these messages: 

·         The issues we face today around teacher shortages and the growing demands of the job have built up over a lengthy period.  For years the profession has absorbed the costs of maintaining an excellent education system with decreasing resources.  As operational budgets fail to keep pace with rising costs and needs we trim here and there, try to maintain our focus on supporting learning and rely increasingly on our community fundraising to fill the gap.  But we’re stretched about as far as we can go.

·         The teacher shortage is real, even in Nelson.  This year, for the first time since I arrived in the region, we have had difficulty recruiting staff and, in fact, were only able to fill the new entrant position in term two by finding two teachers who were willing to come back from taking time off with young families and agree to a job-shared role.   

·         The pay gap between teaching and other professions has grown to the point where too few school leavers and others consider teaching as a viable career, especially when they weigh up the workload and other responsibilities that go with teaching compared to other professions.

·         Our register of students with special needs is growing almost every week.  In all my years in education we have never had to manage such a large and complex range of children with needs.  The release time and training we can give our Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) no longer match the size of the task and we ask the government to recognise this with some specialist funding and training for this role.


We are very aware that these issues paint a negative picture of the education system.  It’s not in the nature of teachers to dwell on the negative; we are dedicated to our profession, proud of our work and the good education your children receive in our care.  But… it’s important that we speak up about what isn’t working well and gain your understanding and support to improve things.  Our kids will be the winners.


Welcome to new students 

We welcome these new students to our school: 


Liam Olaman – Room 15

Meghan Price – Room 15

Tristan Bootwright – Room 15

Bud Nieman – Room 9

Paige Nieman – Room 7

Chloe Nieman – Room 7


Have a good week. 

Peter Verstappen 




Parents/Caregivers of Wakefield School 

Today we want to share with you some information about why teachers are considering going on strike on 15 August. The decision that teachers have made to strike is very rare in New Zealand. That decision shows the depth of the issues that face education and the concern teachers feel about the future of the children we care for. 

Enough teachers for the future 

·         Teachers say the Ministry of Education's pay offer to primary school teachers falls short of what is needed to make teaching a valued career choice.

·         There are 40% fewer people beginning teacher training now than in 2012.

·         50% of those entering the teaching profession leave in the first 5 years.

·         The average age of primary school teachers in New Zealand is 57.

·         Teachers workload issues have been largely ignored.

·         The vast majority of teachers (about 86%) are being offered a pay rise ranging from about 2.2-2.6% a year for three years.


Education is a human right. 

·         Tens of thousands of children in New Zealand need specialist support to learn. But schools are struggling without the financial resources to provide it.

·         The request to fund a Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in every school, to assist children with additional learning needs, has been ignored by the government.  

·         Principals constantly cite the desperate need for greater learning support for their students, and the huge pressure the shortfall puts on already overburdened teaching staff. 


Please support us in our efforts to be heard by the government. The future education of our children is too important not to make a stand. 



The teaching staff at Wakefield School





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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