Reflecting on 2016 achievements

By David Waters, Amesbury BOT Chair | Posted: Friday December 16, 2016

A message from the Amesbury School Board of Trustees Chairperson, David Waters... 

Kia ora tatou

As we rapidly approach the end of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements we have all contributed to during 2016.

As always, it has been a very busy year. This has been our fifth year of operating and each year we grow, both as a school and as a school community. We have witnessed our highest school roll growth to date and are looking forward to even more students joining us in 2017. As we start to approach capacity for our teaching spaces, we have re-engaged with the Ministry of Education in relation to our planned ‘second stage’ build which will add an additional six or more learning spaces to accommodate future roll growth. Although in the early stages of discussion, we hope that building will commence in 2018. We will keep you informed of progress and consultation opportunities.

The recent earthquake provided a timely reminder to us all to check that our emergency systems work and the safety of students and staff is protected. It is pleasing to report the Amesbury School was not damaged during the earthquake and was able to open on time in the morning following a rigorous check by Lesley and a Board member.  As is common in these circumstances, communication with our school community is key but can be a challenge immediately following an event. Next year we intend to explore a ‘text-messaging’ options via an Amesbury School App to provide urgent messages in a timely manner. This application will also compliment and strengthen or regular communication with our school community.

The teaching team has also grown and will continue to do so in 2017. Lesley, Urs and Angela have done an amazing job in keeping our teaching philosophy, learning values and student voice alive and well, ensuring that the Amesbury School retains its unique identity and remains at the forefront of contemporary teaching practice. On behalf of the Board of Trustees I would like to sincerely thank Lesley and the whole teaching team, the business and admin team, all support staff and volunteers for the hard work, extremely long hours and the unwavering commitment to the students of Amesbury they provide day-in and day-out.

As you will know, we had a very successful Education Review Office (ERO) visit early in the year. As a result, they awarded Amesbury School with a 4-5-year accreditation – the highest achievable, which we should all be very proud of. They were particularly impressed by our students which is a great compliment to them.

The ‘forward-thinking’ and ‘evidenced-based’ reputation of Amesbury school has resulted in us hosting a vast number of visitors throughout the year. These have included both National and International education experts, researchers, academics and policy makers, to name a few. We have also had many visitors from other schools, keen to see first-hand how we apply modern learning practice, how we personalise learning and develop student advocacy. It is very rewarding that Amesbury School is seen as a leader and reference-site by many educational leaders within New Zealand and globally – and a direct result of the high calibre of educational leadership we are fortunate to have at Amesbury.

We value our school community greatly and look forward to continuing to collaborate with you throughout 2017. We wish to continue to add facilities to the school which add value to the Churton Park community. As an example, we hope the Bike-Track will be completed in time for the new term – this facility will provide a great opportunity for all to gain confidence and improve bike-skills in a safe, but challenging environment. We look forward to seeing it operational and well utilised.

I would like to make special mention of the Board of Trustees. This small group, elected by you as the school community, work tirelessly in the background, supporting Lesley and the team, working with the Ministry of Education and other regulators, to provide the best learning environment and experience for students. They give up precious family time to govern the school and ensure its ongoing success. Their number-one objective is to support student achievement and ensuring everything possible is in place to facilitate this. They work closely with Lesley and the management team to achieve this, reviewing data and ensuring resources are made available where needed to accelerate learning. On behalf of the school community I wish to thank them for their service and commitment to Amesbury School.

On closing, I wish you all a safe holiday period and a happy New Year.

Nga mihi nui, David

David Waters – BOT Chair