Kia ora Parents/Whanau…
The year has certainly marched by quickly! But what a great year it has been at Redwood School.
Celebrating our Year 6s
All of our tamariki have a special place at Redwood School, after all this is their turangawaewae, their place to stand. However, at this time of year we particularly celebrate our Year 6s, a group of fifty tamariki about to leave us as they move through to Year 7. Many of these tamariki have been with us since New Entrant class, joining us in 2012/13. Others have been welcomed to Redwood School in more recent years and have become part of our kura whanau… school family. We are also particularly aware of families where after many years of association with the school, their last child is moving on. Part of our farewell will be with these families particularly in mind.
Together they have proven to be a great team. They have particularly shone this year as they have grown and developed the many skills and attitudes needed to be able to flourish when they leave Redwood School. This is particularly tested in term 4 of a group’s last year at school, and our current Year 6s have shown they have positive Reddie Learner attitudes, their role-modelling and focus has been great. They certainly have character! My thanks to Team Leader Laura Grant, a group of Year 6 parent helpers and the Year 6 teachers in particular for organising our Year 6 farewell programme.
The next three weeks will be busy ones leading up to the Christmas holidays. Look at the school calendar to check what is coming up soon. We really appreciate you coming along and being involved in school events.
School Redevelopment… an update (see plans in school office)
We are in the final stages of planning for the school redevelopment. We have been finalising building plans, built-in furniture, colour schemes, data cabling systems, playground sites, etc. The redevelopment will start with some site preparation next term then recladding of the hall and the removal of some buildings ready for a new block to be built.
This is an exciting time. We are looking forward to seeing tangible change in the school buildings and environment as our property money has been ‘frozen’ since 2011. The school will be rebuilt to a maximum roll of 320 by the Ministry of Education as our zone is not allowed to expand. This is to ensure that Redwood School roll growth does not impact on neighbouring schools. As urban development occurs in the green area to the east the school is planned to grow to 450-500. New learning spaces will be added as roll increases demand in the future.
Our new playground and the Amazing PTA
Our PTA does amazing things for our school… from running school discos, sausage sizzles, helping at school events to 101 different fundraisers, they are an energetic bunch! Their biggest project has been the accumulation of funds towards a new school playground. The PTA has squirreled over $40000 towards this project. I have been thrilled that the PTA has had their focus on raising this money towards something that will have significant long-term benefit to the school over many years. The money they have raised will not only benefit our tamariki now but also well into the future. Take a bow PTA!
Reports and Student Conferences… make the time
I have had the comment made in the past from some parents: Parent/teacher/child conferences aren’t very useful.
Let’s have a look at that statement. The biggest advantage of the whanau/kaiako/tamariki is to your child. Reporting is not just for parents and teachers, it’s for kids. It is very sad when we hear the dejected comment from a child as they prepare for conferences that, It’s not worth me getting ready to share my work because I know mum and dad won’t come! That is a statement we have heard from a number of children over the years.
Your child WANTS to celebrate their work with you. It is their chance to report back to you. By going to conferences you reinforce to your child that you are interested, supportive and want to hear from them. Does that make these conferences useful? Without doubt. If we can put ourselves in our children’s shoes, what value do they place on you taking an active interest in their lives? Look at it with regard to what benefits your child gets from this reporting opportunity.
Over a year your child, and we as a school, do not ask for much time from you for school events. However, we do ask that you spend fifteen minutes at school sharing and celebrating with your child at the parent/teacher/student conferences.
Principal away from Wednesday 11 December
Please note that John Stackhouse will not be available from 11 December this year. In John’s absence please contact Deputy Principals Ellie Cherry or Nick Gunn.
Government Payment Instead of School Donations:
Does Redwood School qualify for this? No.
In the most recent budget the Government announced the provision for decile 1-7 schools to opt into a scheme whereby they have $150 per student given to them if they (school Boards) do not ask directly for parent/whanau donations to the school for general school-related funding. Unfortunately in this instance, we are still designated as a decile 8 school and therefore do not qualify for this assistance. The ‘decile 8’ tag is seen by the Government as an indicator that Redwood School is in a reasonably affluent community.
We are therefore quite dramatically financially ‘disadvantaged’ for being designated as a decile 8 school. Parent donations to Redwood School are purely voluntary and we set our donation guide figure low for a decile 8 school. We have always realised that our community should not be ‘put upon’ to provide extra funds. Our family donation take is around $16000 per year. If we qualified for the Government offer of $150 per student we would have funding of $48000. This is a difference of $32000 per year. If it was available to us it would therefore significantly benefit Redwood School to be part of the Government payment scheme.
As we do not qualify for the Government’s scheme, Redwood School will continue to ask for a voluntary donation from parents each year. We have always stressed that this donation is voluntary and we have deliberately kept our donation request low understanding the financial strain on whanau.
The PTA will also continue to work hard as a group to raise money to support our tamariki. The PTA supports the school but is not controlled by the Board or Principal. The PTA has, among other things, has:
· Raised $38000 towards our new playground so far
· Subsidised our swimming programme each year by $5000, thus reducing costs to all parents
· Funded classroom resources every year including books, games, maths and ICT resources etc to benefit all children
· Assisted financially with camps to support our tamariki and ensure all get a chance to go
· Continually reached out and supported our community since the school first started.
Redwood School works to a very tight budget. We work hard to make sure that the money we spend has the best impact on our tamariki’s learning. Your extra support for the school through financial donations or donations of your time are very much appreciated and help make a significant difference for our tamariki and their whanau.
For the Redwood School Board of Trustees.