South Featherston School
Quarter 3 2021 - Update from the Board

August 2021


A photo (above) from those care-free, unmasked, pre-Lockdown days we were all enjoying... like... only a week ago now.

As coincidence would have it, our last School Board meeting was held on Tuesday at 6pm - and the very first item on the Agenda was 'Watch the live COVID announcement and see if the school needs to be shutdown or not'.

A big thank you to Tana and our teachers who were basically mobilising as soon as that news was announced and the Board meeting had wound up (late into that night even), to prep the School premises, and start sorting out all our learners and whānau with tech, resources, virtual catch-ups and lessons for... well... who-knows-how-long at this point.

Mid-Year Student Achievement

At the previous (July) Board Meeting, Tana tabled the 'Mid Year Learning Progress Report'. This is a thorough report that presents the data on how our kids are going with the likes of their Maths, Reading and Writing. As you could appreciate, the data is aggregated, that is, anonymised so students aren't identifiable; however, it does take look into how different groups are doing, in particular 'targeted learning groups' as this is something that the Ministry stipulates should be done and reported on.

From a Board perspective, it's a great reassurance to see just how thorough and disciplined the teaching staff are gathering and reporting on our kids progress in these arenas. It gives the Board a good appreciation for what's involved in assessing and tracking student achievement.

As a summary for years 2-8 we had the following percentages achieving above, at or working towards (i.e. 6 months off) their expected curriculum levels in the following areas:

  • Reading 90%Writing 84% and Mathematics 94%
Digging into the data to isolate those that are above or at their expected curriculum levels, we have:
  • Reading 61%Writing 55% and Mathematics 35%
Lola and a couple of Garden Gnomes

Extreme Makeover Schoolyard

So - I can't imagine many of you would NOT have noticed all the major construction work going on on the School grounds over the last few months - but in case you haven't (and you were wondering why your kids laundry was particularly muddy in recent weeks) - work on our new Sensory Garden has begun. 

A huge thank you to the wonderful Lola Walker who did all that work on the design and was then put through the torture of having to wait years before actually being able to jump in and bring it to life when the funding finally came through. With the garden beds and young plants in, it's very easy to appreciate just what an amazing asset the area will be for the School and the kids who will enjoy it in years to come. 

We also have our playground totally fitted out with new wood chips with a couple of 'already very popular' trampolines embedded into it. The garden, the tramps, the playground, the new sheds, keeping an eye on the Ministry's new fence project - all this has been accomplished with a lot of love, time and effort from Callum Lord. A heartfelt thanks goes to Callum, our schoolground's Patron Saint.

Whilst we're calling out the 'thank yous', I'd like to acknowledge Steve Chapman (Mr. Sold) for his ongoing generosity to school projects - in particular, lately, he has offered us some significant funds to help with the bike track at the back of the school. And another business that our school has received generous support from is Fulton Hogan - who spread the surface on the track that leads along side the southern fence up to the old school pool - for free.

Links to some of our supporters businesses should you be looking for their services:

Balancing the Books


Another key function of the Board is keeping an eye on how the School's finances are being managed - and to that end - we've just had (yet another) great report provided to the Board on the state of our books from the folk at Education Services, as well as a glowing Audit report from the School's auditors, Markham Associates.

In short, our position, with careful management by Jo and Tana, has tangibly improved year-on-year for something like the last five years.

If you are financially-inclined - or even just curious - have a nose at our Annual Report which tells a great story of our solid financial position - with full gory, numerical details to illustrate.

Future Olympians in training...

School Donation Scheme

So Decile 1–7 state and state-integrated schools are able to choose to receive a $150 per student, per year payment if they agree NOT to ask parents and caregivers for donations, except for overnight camps. This initiative is designed to alleviate financial pressure and expectation from families to pay donations even though they are voluntary.

As we have done previously, the Board elected to opt-in to the Scheme this year. If you want more information about the scheme and how it works, have a look here on the MoE's website.

...and one more pic of our Sensory Garden, cos hey: why not? It's awesome!

...and that's it for this issue.

As always, any questions or feedback on School Governance related matters, do hit one of us up. 'Love to hear from you.

Yours humbly,

Chris Miller (Heamana), Tana Klaricich (Tumuaki), Jo Dennis, Callum Lord, Damon AshworthPeter Hull and Liz Millar (LSM): (a.k.a. the South Featherston School Board)

Copyright © 2021 South Featherston School Board, All rights reserved.

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