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

Obstacle Course Clears the Final Hurdle 




Tena koe, greetings 


Here’s an excellent photo from our working bee last weekend to complete the long-awaited obstacle course.  Before I launch into thank yous to our amazing team of workers, a bit of background info into this project… 


In 2015 we ran a project called The Great Outdoors Review.  The review took a long, hard look at how our outdoor spaces support learning.  We worked from the idea that children learn everywhere and at all times, so how could we make our environment a place that supports learning in many ways?  We had a lively group of parents and staff on the review and we came up with plans to improve our environment and how we use it. From this came Loose Ends, the Tiger Turf area in front of rooms 7-8, the pathways, tyre swings and willow tunnel, the pump track and log circle, the climbing trees (‘green line climb, orange line stop’ is one of my favourite mantras).  The orchard and new vege gardens emerged from our new mindset. And, the children began pestering me about creating an obstacle course… 


So, here we are in 2018 with the obstacle course a reality. 


We have a few small things to finish this week and then the children can go for it.  We are proud of our achievement and send a huge thank you to our supporters and sponsors, including: 


Brightwater Engineering for building the obstacles 

Nelson Forests Ltd and Goldpine for building materials and bark 

Guy Redmond for help with design 

Ben Max for construction 

Our ‘engineering dads’ who supported construction and installation of the obstacles 

Brent Furlong for the net 

Lee Wiren for the seesaw beams 

All the mums, dads and children who pitched in over the weekend to make it a reality.  You showed great Wakefield spirit. 

Bruce, our tireless, creative and capable caretaker - a man who gets things done! 


Learning Conferences Next Week 

All our Yr 4-6 children, and most Yr 1-3 children will come home with a report today.  Remember, this report is only half of the story - to get the full story about how your child is progressing you must attend a learning conference at school next week.  More information about booking learning conferences is in this newsletter. 


A letter from the Minister of Education 

This week we received a letter from the Honourable Chris Hipkins, which you can see in this newsletter, acknowledging our recent ERO review.  Congratulations to our exceptional staff who create a learning environment recognised as outstanding by the ERO team as being outstanding.  


Welcome to new students 


We welcome these new students to our school: 


Kurt Dobson

Evie Thynne


An unforgettable story 

I can’t close this newsletter without sharing this fabulous story by Aubrey, aged 6.  I should say Seamus is a dog, and Molly is a cat. Read on... 


Seamus at a I bl and it was dsg. Mole came a long and Mole play with the rat.  Mole tor it wos a pla toy lic the od mas that broc and it is stw here at my has. 

Seamus ate an eyeball and it was disgusting.  Molly came along and Molly played with the rat.  Molly thought it was a play toy like the old mouse that broke and it is still here at my house. 

‘Seamus ate an eyeball’ is truly inspired.  There are novelists who would die to write an opening sentence as good as that. 

Well done Aubrey, I am proud of you. 


Peter Verstappen 





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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