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

Who’s where next year?

Dear parent/caregiver,

Although our feet are still firmly planted in 2017 our thoughts are moving towards next year.  On Thursday you will receive your child’s end-of-year school report (except for those children in years 1-3 who were reported in term three) which we know you will celebrate.  You will also receive information about your child’s class placement, stationery purchasing and one or two other things. 

For your information here are our staff assignments for 2018:

Name                          Year level                               Team                          Room Number

Sue McLaren              New entrants                           Piwakawaka               14

Isobel Ford                  Year 1                                     Kereru                         13

Loren Watts                 Year 2                                     Kereru                         12

Paula Rowland            Year 1-2                                  Kereru                         11

Julie McIntosh             Year 3                                     Tui                               3

Mary McHale              Year 3                                     Tui                               4

Bek Gabites                Year 4                                     Toroa                           1

Kent Davis                  Year 4                                     Toroa                           2

Tiffany Woodley         Year 5-6                                  Karearea                     7

Scott Mackenzie         Year 5-6                                  Karearea                     8

Kathy Jessop              Year 5-6                                  Karearea                     9

We expect to open a second new entrant class in room 15 in May. 

We welcome Scott Mackenzie as our new Deputy Principal for the Toroa (senior) syndicate.  Scott comes to us from Hampden Street School in Nelson where he has led the year 5-6 team for several years.  We also welcome Mary McHale back to full time class teaching after several years running our Reading Recovery and other programmes.  Loren Watts will take up the Reading Recovery work in 2018. 

We are able to begin the year with 11 classes, one more than we expected, due to stronger roll numbers and a commitment from our board of trustees to provide further funding support if needed.  This means we have been able to reduce class sizes in Toroa and Karearea (years 4-6) to around the mid-20s.  Class sizes in Matai (years 1-3) remain in the low 20s and around 18 maximum for new entrants.

Other staff assignments in 2018 are:

Part-time teachers: Michelle Erskine (release for Loren), Annabelle Armstrong (senior syndicate release), Anna Doblanovic (release for Sue), Rachel Daniel (release for Scott), Sylvia Huxtable (junior syndicate release).

Learning support; Kathy Ameen (librarian and sports co-ordinator), Leanne Turner (teacher aide), Belinda Elley (teacher aide), Christine Ross (teacher aide), Jen Amosa (teacher aide).

Administration: Olivia Krammer (executive officer), Allison Donaldson (administrator).

Bruce Puklowski continues as chief executive officer. 


Awards Assembly

You are warmly welcomed to celebrate the end of the school year and enjoy the company of families and community at our awards assembly, Wednesday 13 December, 6.30-8.00pm.  Kapahaka group, choir and rock band, guest speaker, awards and prizes, and a visit from the big guy in the red suit.  Please bring a plate for a shared supper.

Have an excellent week.

Peter Verstappen



Peter Verstappen 




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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