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

Heads Up for 2017 


Like you I am being sucked into the rush towards Christmas, like a leaf tossed into a swirling stream.  But before we get completely immersed in the moment here’s a heads-up about how staffing and room arrangements at Wakefield School will look in 2017.

Year Level

Teacher Names

Room Numbers


Team Name

New Entrants – Yr 1

Sue McLaren

Isobel Ford





Yr 2

Tiffany Woodley

Loren Watts





Yr 3 – 4

Bek Gabites

Julie McIntosh

Paula Rowland

1 & 2





Yr 5 – 6

Kathy Jessop

Leith Bruning

Kent Davis







Mary McHale will continue as teacher of Reading Recovery and extension programmes, and the following teachers will also return part-time: Anna Doblanovic, Rachel Daniel, Sylvia Huxtable, Fiona Walker and Michelle Erskine.  Support staff will continue as in 2016.

You will receive notification of your child’s class placement with the school report on Wednesday 14 December (please note that some junior children’s reports will go out on Wednesday 7 December for learning conferences to happen on Monday 12 December – you will also be notified of these children’s class placements on 14 December). 

According to plan we have updated the children’s artwork on the team signs outside classrooms.  Congratulations to Awen, Lucas, Phoebe and Kobi whose fabulous designs will identify our native birds for the next 12 months. 

Our Glorious Gala

Well, the weather wasn’t glorious but that didn’t dent either our spirits or the bottom line, with the final total standing at more than $26,000 - a phenomenal effort considering the difficult conditions on the day.  The people who made the gala a success are too numerous to thank individually, so please accept a general but very heartfelt thanks from me and all who will benefit from your hard work, creativity, patience and good humour.  The PTA is always looking for feedback about the gala and, of course, for willing helpers, so I encourage you to join this very amicable and productive group that does so much good work for our children.  You will be well rewarded for your efforts. 

Good luck to all our junior performers in Matai syndicate as they prepare for their school production next week. 

Stay calm and keep moving forward.


Peter Verstappen                                                                 



Useful links from Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand to help guide you through the Kaikoura earthquake and aftershocks. 

While some of these resources relate to the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, they provide helpful tips and advice for people affected by the 14 November, 2016 earthquakes. We'll be updating these for you over the coming days.

Tips for coping after an earthquake
Mental Health Foundation (2016)
A short list of things to do that can make you and others feel better under exceptional circumstances. 

Take care of your children but don't forget yourself
Mental Health Foundation (2016)
It's not always possible to judge if or when children are scared or worried about things happening in their life They may be reluctant to talk about their fears or may not be aware of how they are being affected by the things happening to them and around them. Parents can look for clues as to how their child is reacting.

Earthquake stress information in different languages
Canterbury DHB (2011)
Following such immensely upsetting events, people understandably feel distressed. Read about common responses to an earthquake, coping mechanisms and reactions from children.

When the quakes go on and on
Skylight (2012)
Strategies for self-care when the after-shocks keep coming and nothing is certain.

Wellbeing for parents
Shaping Education (2013)
Supporting children through change in response to school change in Christchurch following the earthquakes.

Coping with stress and anxiety
Ministry of Health (2011)
Contains guidance for emergency response workers, health staff and volunteers on how to cope with stress and anxiety in an emergency situation.

When trauma and grief come to work
Skylight (2011)
A practical handbook for organisations, employers and managers to support staff, clients and customers after the Canterbury earthquakes.

All Right?
The All Right? campaign gets Cantabrians talking to their friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues about whether they’re really All Right in the wake of the earthquakes. There's also a specific page for parents.






    Please click here for the link to their flyer



    Education Review Office

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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 


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