Year 8 class of 2016, parents and family members, friends of the School, guests, staff, and children.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to this Prize Giving night on behalf of the Board of Trustees – Brian Crum, Karen Holyoake, Tina Taylor, Kim Michie, Eamonn Kelly, and most recently, Peter Fa’afiu.
It has been another busy and important year in the life of Pukeoware School. A year of change – including new staff, new learning environments, a new Board, and new teaching and learning disciplines.
One of the key priorities of the Board in 2016 has been to ensure that we have skilled, passionate and committed staff.
At the beginning of the year we welcomed Louise Trousdale and Jodi Hermond to the team, and after losing the much-loved Tina North to the College and the incredible Kelly Wisnewski to China, we also welcomed Ellena Wilcox and Dianna Cotter.
Together with our existing team of Katelan Steward, Tamar Moxham, Barbara Prescott, Julie Simson, Sharon Young, Lynne Green and Kim Michie, the Board of Trustees has been delighted to see this group come together to deliver outstanding teaching and learning experiences for our children.
Throughout the year, the staff have worked hard to develop a framework of what the learning and performance culture of our schoolshould look like; this has included providing information and feedback to students so that they know what they are learning, why it is worth learning, and how well they are progressing and achieving; embedding the use of inquiry learning approaches; and ensuring students have greater ownership of their learning by setting individual learning goals.
The Board were recently presented with assessment data which demonstrated how our students are now able to articulate their learning as a result of these changes and were extremely encouraged with the results, and despite needing to reduce to 7 teachers in 2017 due to funding cuts, remain confident that the improvements achieved in teaching and learning this year will be sustainable throughout 2017.
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the board, to acknowledge and thank all of our staff, for their contributions to our school throughout the year.
I would also like to take this opportunity to farewell Tamar Moxham who will be leaving us tomorrow. Tamar, we have been delighted to see you progress from a young and passionate beginning teacher to the amazing educator you are today. We wish you well for your future in teaching and as a future wife.
Another strategic priority in 2016 was to provide an innovative learning environment for our beginner learners – and the feedback we have received to date about the development and performance of Ako Timatanga has been extremely positive.
That said, we have bigger visions for contemporary teaching and learning environments within our school, and to facilitate this the Board will finalise our 10-year property plan early in the New Year. This will include an upgrade of all of our other classrooms, Rooms 1 through 8, which will commence next year. This will include new carpets, new lighting, the opening up of classes, and the creation of breakout learning spaces for better class flow.
These changes will offer our teachers and students more flexibility – providing the ability to easily combine two classes into one for team-teaching, splitting classes into small groups and spreading them over a wider area or combining classes who are studying complementary learning areas.
This will be an exciting project and we believe it will make our school all the better for learning in the future.
Throughout 2016, the Board has also focused on inducting a new team into this important governance role. As a result of the 2016 triennial elections and the recent by-election, the Board has welcomed four new members to the team this year – Tina Taylor, Karen Holyoake, Joanne O’Neale, and Peter Fa’afiu – and are pleased that our new members have quickly found their feet and are contributing positively to the governance of the school.
Whilst Jo O’Neale resigned from the Board for personal reasons earlier this year, I would like to thank her for her input to the Board during her tenure.
The Board also extends their thanks to our previous Board Chair, Darren Mann, and parent representative Nigel Harvey, for their considerable contributions to the school during the terms they served as Board members. Both of these gentlemen made significant contributions to the strategy and governance of the school in key leadership and portfolio roles throughout their service.
In recent times, the Board has developed new systems to ensure it works efficiently and effectively, and in its September meeting signed off on a 3-year rolling work plan detailing what needs to be done and when, including monitoring and review, legal requirements, Ministry requirements, and policy review. This work plan is the first step in the Board’s process of adopting a philosophy of “continuous improvement”.
Heading into 2017, our plan will focus on learning, on our learning environment, on our students, on increasing our roll, on our staff, on our community, and on our governance and leadership. Not rocket science perhaps, but the implementation plan that will sit behind these priorities will ensure that our resources, both human and financial, are focused on delivering priorities, which in turn will ensure that we are delivering on our vision – to develop a positive learning community that empowers confident, life long learners.
In closing, I would like to say just a few more thank-you’s.
As a Board of Trustees we would like to acknowledge and thank the PTA, who work extremely hard to raise funds for the school. In 2016, our teachers and students have enjoyed the new computers and devices which were jointly funded by the PTA and Board last year, and we have also enjoyed many PTA-led events such as our community BBQ, Gala Day and this week’s PTA Fun Day.
Pukeoware School simply would not be the amazing place it is without the PTA’s hard work and generous assistance, and I’d like to acknowledge Keri Anderson, Sheena True, Louise Deed, Casey Empsall, Serena Roper, and Lynne Green for all their work throughout the year.
With this in mind I ask that everyone in our community support the efforts of the PTA wherever they can as we head into 2017 and our 140th year, so the great work they do can be continued, and the extras we desire to enhance our children’s education can be purchased.
Whilst there are many parents who contribute to the smooth running of our school, for which we are very thankful, we would also like to acknowledge another two hard-working mums who volunteer significant time to the school – Sasha Wiles and Sharon Hatley – who expertly manage the school’s uniform shop on behalf of the Board. From opening the shop twice a day every Tuesday, to managing stock and processing orders, the time these two ladies give to the school ensures the shop is not only run efficiently but also lightens the load of both the Board and administration team. Thank you Sasha and Sharon – we really appreciate what you do.
I would also like to personally thank Kath Bindon for her support as I have settled into the role of Chair – providing expert assistance and knowledge as I have come to terms with the inner workings of the school and its governance.
And to all of you, our Pukeoware parents and whanau, we thank you for choosing Pukeoware School and entrusting the education of your greatest assets to us. We wish you a happy and relaxing holiday break and hope you all get to enjoy some time with your families, and return refreshed and enthused in 2017.
And finally to the children, thank-you all for being you! I have enjoyed being part of your lives and your learning this year and thank-you all for ‘striking a pose’ or saying ‘cheese’ for the many photos I take of you for our facebook page! I would also like to congratulate all of the children who will be recognised for their special achievements tonight.
And to the Year 8 cohort of 2016, thank-you for all that you have brought to the life of Pukeoware School as a student. It has been my pleasure to get to know you all, to photograph your exploits and share your stories with our community. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wish you all the very best as you head off to College – and we can’t wait to hear of your progress in the years ahead.
Kia Kaha, kia toa.