2020… a new school year and a new decade

Dear Parents/Whanau,

Parents/whanau do you remember the dawning of the ‘new millennium’ in 2000? We are now two decades on from that special New Year. What were you doing back then? Where have those years gone? It’s certainly interesting to look back at what has happened in our lives over those years.

First week back:

After a broken first week with Waitangi Day and Teacher Only Days the year starts in earnest this week. It was lovely last week touch base with many parents at the open hour in the afternoon on Monday and also in the two days of school last week.

Roll and staff for 2020:

Redwood School’s roll size has been ‘capped’ by the Ministry of Education at 330 with extra Board owned space allowing us a little more leeway above that figure. We start the year with 289 tamariki and grow to 330-340 through the year as New Entrant tamariki arrive. The school will be redeveloped to these figures and will have forward planning to add more buildings to accommodate up to 450 tamariki in the future. We do have a tight geographical boundary with some expansion forecast into the ‘green belt’ that is being redeveloped to the east of the school beyond Grimseys Road.

Our staff this year are the same as for last year with one addition. With the establishment of Learning Needs Coordinator positions by the Government, we have added another staff member to our amazing team. Jan Beck-Manawatu will work closely with our Deputy Principal with responsibility for Learning Needs, Ellie Cherry. Redwood School already has a strong learning support team and Jan will add greatly to that team as well. It’s great to have Jan ‘on board’!

I am very fortunate to have such a great team to work with they are a very special bunch. From Ellie Cherry and Nick Gunn as Deputy Principals through team and hub leaders Maddie Stevenson, Kate Norman and Allyce Muir, office staff and caretaker, every classroom teacher (kaiako) and every teacher aide (kaiawhina). their efforts are always aimed at getting the best we can for all our tamariki. The tamariki are certainly in good hands.

The term ahead: We do have a busy term and year ahead and the school redevelopment will figure prominently through 2020 and 2021. The tendering process and building consents occur this term. External colour schemes have been decided and internal layout planning is now complete. The first building to be revamped is likely to be the school hall. All external cladding on the hall, except the brick, will be replaced due to it being a leaky building. This will interrupt some hall use but we aim to keep this interruption to a minimum.

We will be running parent information evenings and putting out regular written updates as we go through the redevelopment process.

This term we have school camps coming up and our swimming sports. There are many other things going on through the term including a mihi whakatau for new tamariki, staff and whanau and a workshop for parent/whanau around resilience.

Please keep up to date with upcoming school events on our website calendar, through newsletters, texts and the school app. The school has a duty to notify/inform/update but parents/whanau also have the task of checking these school information sources.

Parents/Whanau as key members of the team: Your role as parents/whanau for our tamariki is key. Keep giving your time and love to our tamariki and together we will make an awesome team for our tamariki and their future success. As our school motto We are climbing high, ready for life says, we want our tamariki to aim high and strive to reach their potential and this will help them lead happier and more productive lives… a long-term view.

John Stackhouse



Government Payment Instead of School Donations:

Does Redwood School qualify for this? No.

Dear Parents/Whanau,

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.

John Stackhouse


For the Redwood School Board of Trustees.