Friday 16 March 2018

Our place… Christchurch/Otautahi

What sort of place or legacy do we want for the next generation of Cantabrians?

Our turangawaewae, our place, continues to be rebuilt right now. This will be our children’s place and their children’s place. Why will our children or grandchildren want to live in Christchurch/Otautahi? Like Tautahi, who lived seasonally near what is the central fire station after arriving on a waka from Hawaiki, people will be attracted to this place for what it can provide and because it is treasured. They will want to live here mainly because they love it. They will belong to it. They will proudly say in New Zealand or overseas, “I come from Christchurch”. They will have a strong cultural identity for this place. They will know how it has developed from Tautahi’s place and what is special about it, how it stands out from all other places. It will be their place.

Our place… Redwood School/Te Kura o te Rakau Whero

What sort of place do we want for the next generation of Redwood tamariki?

This place, Redwood School, is about to be redeveloped. This will be our kura/school for many years to come. The Master Plan for the rebuild is being costed now and will indicate what we can afford to do.

What is likely to happen and what is this based on?

  • The Ministry of Education has limited our rebuild roll to 350 due to roll pressure on neighbouring schools (15 learning spaces)
  • Up to 2014 the number of school age children in our zone had dropped by 13%
  • The current school roll has crept up again to 360 by end of year
  • Six teaching spaces are likely to be built new
  • Nine teaching spaces will be completely refurbished, upgraded, reshaped
  • The library and hall will be repaired and weather proofed
  • The staff room will be replaced
  • Some classrooms will be demolished
  • There will be some landscaping done
  • Playgrounds will be updated and renewed with PTA funding support

The Principal and Board are pushing hard for the best possible outcomes for our tamariki. We are very aware that how Redwood School is redeveloped now will impact our local tamariki for decades to come.

This is what you fed back to us and what we have learnt about what Redwood School should look like in the future…

  • Redwood School will have a cosy, human scale, not a corporate box or a barn
  • Two teachers will be working together in a learning space (power of two)
  • Learning spaces can be opened out to work in bigger groups sometimes
  • Learning spaces will be well sound-proofed
  • There will be plenty of natural light and ready access to outdoor spaces
  • The straight lines of buildings will be softened
  • Connection of the school to Prestons Road entrance via a remodelled admin will be improved
  • There will be well designed break-out spaces for small groups and individuals
  • Well thought through daily organisation and learning for children in a shared space will give good structure
  • In the teaching spaces, routines and planning for our learning needs tamariki will be carefully considered

The budget for our school redevelopment is not lavish. We are not a new or amalgamated school with a large budget. However, our school will be considerably better for tamariki to learn in and for our staff to teach in after the redevelopment. We are looking forward to having a much improved physical learning environment for our tamariki.

The people count most… te tangata, te tangata, te tangata! Our great team!!!

For all the planning and focus on our school’s physical rebuild it is actually the building up of people that is most important. It is the strength of our tamariki, kaiajko/teachers, kaiawhina/support staff and whanau/family support that are really keys to Redwood School’s future success.

We have an extremely hard-working staff at Redwood School. New staff and existing staff have blended together to form a formidable teaching team and I, as Principal, am very proud to say they all have a heart for doing the best we can as a team to support our tamariki. Many parents would have picked up on this during this week’s interviews and enrolments.

The school has a very positive vibe with a proactive Board of Trustees and very supportive PTA. Our tamariki have a very supportive network of people in the school to bring about great learning and development. This is crucial if, as our motto says, we want our tamarilki to be ‘ready for life’. We are a team, teams that are together bring the best results.

Nearly all our staffroom visitors comment on the inclusive and welcoming staff. I often ask our visitors, can you tell by watching at morning tea who our support staff or relief teachers are? Their reply is always no, they can’t tell. That is a real indicator that we all work together and as a team we highly value each member of our team.

Complaints and Concerns

We are issuing our procedures to parents again so that it is clear what the process is regarding concerns or complaints. We have a very open door as a school and we believe this is important so we can deal with issues or concerns. However, it is also important that someone with a concern or issue to raise understands how complex issues can often be and that that there are always at least two sides to a story. At home you hear one perspective only and need to consider that your child’s perspective is not the only one.

The vast majority of parents/whanau are reasonable in approach but there are some instances in which staff, including myself, have been approached quite aggressively over issues in which the parent/whanau have only one perspective. We will listen and attend to issues which arise but answers might not be ‘immediate’ and also have to take into account other people involved. It is also vital that parents/whanau listen and also realise that an issue which arises is often within a context involving many others whose perspectives and responses need also to be considered.

John Stackhouse


Friday 23 February 2018

Dear Parents/Whanau

It has been a great start to the year and our kaiako (teachers), kaiawhina (support staff) and tamariki are all working hard! It has been lovely to walk through our learning spaces and see so much focussed learning going on. It is amazing to think that we are already at the end of the fourth week of the school year!

Some reminders for the new year...

Just a few important messages about keeping our tamariki safe...

Around Redwood School, think safe, drive safe! We spend quite a lot of time and energy encouraging our tamariki to stay safe on the roads and it is important that this message is backed up and role-modelled by parents/whanau.

Please be very aware of the following...

  • Drive slowly around the school... Pyatt Place, Solomon Ave and Prestons Road are all busy pick-up points and accidents can easily happen before and after school with a lot of children around
  • Park sensibly... not over drives or up drives and not on yellow lines. Children are known to benefit from exercise so you do not need to park directly outside the school or over a driveway to save a few more metres of walking
  • Do not use the school car park for pick up and set down... it is too dangerous and you child will benefit from walking into the school from the street rather than being dropped off 'at the door'
  • Cross roads safely... on Prestons Road use the school crossing, set a good example
  • Don't let your child scoot or ride in the school grounds... before school and until 3.20pm after school children are not allowed to scoot or ride in the grounds due to accident issues! It is particularly disheartening to see parents allowing children to scoot and ride in the school grounds and put others at risk
  • Dogs in the school grounds... As a school we have been quite dog friendly. However, please leave your dog at home or in the car if at all possible rather than bringing them onto school grounds before and after school. A recent dog fight in the school grounds did upset a number of our tamariki.

We emphasise the importance of home/school partnership. During the day we are responsible for up to 360 children plus 35 staff. Please help us to keep our tamariki safe by working with us on the points above.

I hope you have a great weekend...

Kind regards

John Stackhouse