Blenheim 2

Fairhall School has about 214 children and is a decile 10.
What follows is mostly my notes I took while visiting the two schools today. Might be boring for some to read so you can just look at the pictures !
What I found was a slice of Taranaki in Marlborough. About 2 years ago the staff of Fairhall visited Taranaki and have developed
their own take on quality learning and teaching that they observed particularly at Spotswood Primary. Pauline, the acting
principal spoke openly that the journey had not always been smooth – when is it ever ? (my comment)
She mentioned some key elements of their success…
2 principals in 25 years – key – consistency of staff – stability – strong culture of wanting to be here and success – high functioning school – not stand still – keep developing –
Very defined school culture, selective, doing less better, staff together in vision and beliefs, balance, not jump on all bandwagons, visited Spotswood 6 years ago – take whole staff there -, quality socialisation, Plenty of scope for individuality as well as shared standards.

She also said they had made plenty of stuff ups !

They have all the elements of new curriculum but not necessarily in that ‘lingo’.
Her personal philosophy is to “Teach to the top” and provide a safety net for others.
Fairhall PRIDE an acronym for – personal best, respect, integrity, determination, enjoy.
Is this your personal best ?
She said they had had no values lessons etc – just ingrained in culture and how we do it.

Children have reflection – sheet to fill in and sheet goes home to parents – handled by secretary/office staff – tracked need for reflection dwindling

Have done AtoL and taken best bits and improved what doing already
No longer have student lead conferences – Feb parent teacher/ mid year report and interview and end of year written report.
CRT – info skills in library with teacher
Gifted and Talented – (GATE tests used for selection) using future problem solving, international programme – national comp – Y7/8 – weekly – about an hour – topic based – scenario to examine and identify challenges – developing into problem solving / solutions. Cooperative learning – which is often a challenge for gifted children.
SPARKS programme for the younger children.

Use SAUCE model for enquiry.

Overnight teaching staff retreat once a year (March) – close school early and spend time as staff – some pamper and tweaking plans or developments / develop staff eg teaching beliefs – balance of work and play
BOT retreat overnight also – PD and time together

Consistency of work with kids – was starting point – trialled, this is how you (we) do it ! – need to review and compare often so the consistency remains and strengthens –
Term goals change each term – chosen by staff in response to needs – incorporating key competencies –

A look around the school confirmed what she had said. The children’s book work was a feature while most rooms had well displayed learning on the

Renwick Decile 8 Roll 421
Principal – Simon Heath (new principal – former Principal from Fairhall)

This school is beginning a focus on quality learning and teaching just like we are at St Matthew’s. <a
John Rogers – Principal Marlborough Boys High
John spoke to us at REAP House.
Boys still love the tangible – they love their grandfathers and admire their fathers.
A couple of the gems from John who spoke passionately and rationally about boys – he cited Celia Lashlie and another NZ author.

The nature of the relationship dictates the effect of the feedback. They won’t hear you – they will hear what they hear.

We are trying to achieve men who are alive and in action.

John has a huge knowledge in this area and articulates it very capably.

A very busy day but lots to think about. Lots of laughs in our group and sharing. Met up with Alan Thomas who taught me at Teachers College ! He even remembered me !

One of my colleagues shared with me a vision about our schools becoming schools of quality and excellence and us hosting groups who come to visit.

Now that is a great idea. We will be ready sometime in 2010 – eh Wendy and Mary and Melissa and Judith and Kate and Lynette !!!


Author: nzkoobi

I am Tom.

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