Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blessing Ceremony held at construction site

Bishop Muru Walters, Board member (local resident) and Kaumatua of the Amesbury School led the blessing ceremony of the site for the construction of the new school at Amesbury Drive on Monday, 20 December.

Board Chairperson, Rory O'Connor, introduced the ceremony as drawing on Maori and Celtic heritages and appropriate for the commencement of the new construction phase of the venture.

Rev Wayne Austin, Acting Minister at Churton Park Anglican Church and representative of other local churches led a brief prayer for the children who would attend the school and for the wider school community.

Board members Roger Ellis, Alison Pask, David Waters and Wendy Welsh marked the new development phase by turning the first sods of soil at the site.
The Churton Park School Principal and Board representatives attended along with approximately 40 local residents and interested people.

Ohariu MP, Hon Peter Dunne, attended the ceremony - as did National List MP, Katrina Shanks. City Councillors Helen Ritchie and Justin Lester also attended as did Ministry of Education officials who have been working with the Board and Design & Build team to bring the project to fruition.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a preview of the new school

School design shared at community meeting

Last night the Establishment Board of Amesbury School shared its proposed design with the local community, described the criteria it had used and the guiding principles. It also answered a range of questions in relation to the design and the building programme.

Our Values

The Establishment Board of Trustees:

  • recognises and respects New Zealand's bi-cultural heritage and the multi-cultural nature of the Churton Park community;
  • is committed to environmental responsibility in the school's design, operation and curriculum.

We value:

Excellence - encouraging each student to reach his/her potential
Learning through innovation, inquiry and curiosity - developing motivated, curious, confident, engaged, innovative thinking, self-managing learners.
Connectivity with the community - with family, whanau, the environment, local & global communities.
Positive relationships that reflect equity & integrity - honesty, transparency, empathy in interactions between students, teachers, parents and the wider community.
Respect for diversity - for self, others, different/diverse cultures and the environment.

Vision - what we want for our young people

Our Vision is that when students leave Amesbury School they will be connected, confident, actively involved, life long learners.

Connected - in the sense of being a team-player or leader, IT literate, sociable, principled and tolerant;
Confident - in the sense of being positive, happy & healthy, responsible, articulate, and self-motivated.
Actively involved - in the sense of being engaged, trustworthy, honest, valuing integrity - as well as being physically active.
Life long learners - in the sense of being curious & critical thinkers, problem-solvers, numerate & literate, skilled & knowledgeable.

Based on this Vision the Establishment Board developed 13 Principles we wished to see reflected in the the design work:
flexibility of the size of learning areas
optimise the potential sunlight and mitigate the negative aspects of climate & weather
ecologically responsive
functionality driving design but with a sensitivie exterior
vistas for all learning areas
the staffroom being a re-creation space with oversight of the outdoors
areas for teaching and professional development and co-operative learning
appropriate landscapes that support learning
modern but long life materials
light and airy learning areas with good sightlines
centrally-located library and learning resource area
IT integral for teaching and learning.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Amesbury School Proposed Enrolment Zone

Amesbury School, Amesbury Drive, Churton Park will open in Term 1 2012.

There has been a lot happening over the past few weeks. Our Establishment Board has met with the Churton Park School Board of Trustees and the Ministry of Education with regard to enrolment zones for both schools. The Boards of both schools are committed to working together in the best interests of the education of children in the Churton Park community.

The Secretary for Education has directed the Amesbury School Establishment Board of Trustees to implement an enrolment scheme.

The next step is for the Establishment Board to share with the community the draft enrolment zone proposed for Amesbury School.

The Amesbury Board has agreed a proposed home zone with the Ministry of Education.

Under this scheme, Year 1 – 6 students will be eligible to be enrolled at Amesbury School if they live within the home zone summarised below :

Eastern boundary includes both sides of Westchester Drive from 162/183 inclusive and below. Includes Melksham Drive. Halswater Drive is out of zone.
• Amesbury Drive both sides of the road and all its off-streets, including Gifford Grove and Didsbury Grove.
Lower western boundary comprises both sides of Erlestoke Crescent and its off-streets.
Southern boundary comprises both sides of Waverton Terrace and its off-streets with a connection back to Westchester Drive.

A map of the proposed Amesbury School zone is included above. Just click on the map to magnify it.

Have your say: Written submissions on the Amesbury zoning proposal can be made up to 5pm on Tuesday 16 November 2010 to: The Chairperson, Amesbury School EBOT, PO Box 13417 Johnsonville, Wellington 6440,
or by email to:

Community meeting in Churton Park

Amesbury School is on track to open in Churton Park in Term 1 2012

The Establishment Board of Trustees is holding a meeting to:

• introduce the foundation Principal, Dr Lesley Murrihy
• present plans for the design of the school
• share information and respond to questions about the proposed enrolment zone.

When: 7.30 - 9.00 pm on Wednesday 3 November.

Where: Churton Park School Hall, 90 Churton Drive.

Who: Everyone who is interested in Amesbury School.

This meeting represents a major milestone for Amesbury School and we would like to see as many local people there as possible. We will conclude the meeting with tea, coffee and a chance to chat.

You can keep up with progress and view the proposed enrolment zone at:

Or you can email your views to the Board at:

This meeting is being run in partnership with the Churton Park School Board of Trustees. It will also provide an opportunity for the Churton Park Board to share information and respond to any questions about changes to its current enrolment scheme that are proposed for 2012.

The Boards of both schools are committed to working together in the best interests of the education of children in the Churton Park community.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Principal appointed for Amesbury School

The Establishment Board of Amesbury School in Churton Park has achieved another milestone towards its opening in early 2012. Today it announced the appointment of its first Principal.

“We are delighted to announce that we have appointed Dr Lesley Murrihy to the position of Foundation Principal,” said the Establishment Board Chairman, Rory O’Connor.

“The Establishment Board was keen to appoint someone who was a proven leader of learning, a highly competent manager, and a leader who could engage well with the local community” said Rory O’Connor.

Dr Murrihy faced strong competition for the sought-after role. The recruitment process was rigorous – with public advertisements, CV-checking, shortlisting, interviews and reference-checking.

“The Board was thrilled with the calibre of applicants and we are very pleased with the outcome” said Mr O’Connor.

Dr Murrihy is an experienced principal who holds a Doctor of Education degree. She will take up her responsibilities in April 2011 and will have plenty to occupy her time - with a lot of work to be completed before the school opens in Term 1 2012. For example, there are a range of operational matters to be decided – the need to appoint top quality staff, develop effective policies, and plan teaching arrangements.

Dr Murrihy is currently Principal at Manunui School near Taumarunui. But she is no stranger to Wellington having graduated with Bachelors and Masters degrees from Victoria University. She also completed her teacher training at Wellington Teachers College.

“I am looking forward to returning to Wellington and taking up this exciting position. We have a unique opportunity, as educators, parents, students and establishment board, to start from the ground up and, together, to develop something very special,” said Dr Murrihy.

Construction of the foundations of the new school building is scheduled to start on 11 November. The design process and building consent filing for Phase 2 – a six- classroom block should be completed by 23 December. Construction of Phase 2 should start from 1 March 2011. The construction of Phase 3 – the Admin / Hall / Classroom Block - should commence by 18 April 2011. Overall construction of the new school should be complete by 21 December 2011.

For information:

Until 1 October, Rory O’Connor, Chairman, Establishment Board of Trustees, Amesbury School ph: 4783779 or 021 027 089 84

After 1 October, David Waters, Deputy Chair, Establishment Board of Trustees, 027 5470334.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stockpiling of soil started at Amesbury School

The stockpiling of soil for the sub-base of the sportsfield has begun on the new Amesbury School site in preparation for future landscape design work.

The Establishment Board continues to make good progress with the new school: the Values and Vision of the school have been completed; the Design & Build team have been appointed and have design work well underway.

The Board is now going through a process to appoint the Principal. The school plans to open in Term 1 2012.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Search on for foundation Principal

The Board has advertised the role of Principal. An advertisement appeared in the Education gazette recently:

"New school opening in Churton Park, Wellington, term 1, 2012. Foundation principal. Decile 10, contributing primary. Unique opportunity for visionary educator with energy and enthusiasm to establish a learning community for the 21st century. Candidates will have strong interpersonal, curriculum and administration skills, an interest in the use of effective and innovative ICT and the ability to build a strong school/community partnership.

Applications close 5pm, Monday 23 August. Application packs from . See display advertisement 12 and 26 July Education Gazette. Visit our blog at


The following is the projected timeline for the appointment of the Amesbury School Principal:

· Advertised in the Education Gazette printed editions of 12 and 23 July

· Applications close: 5pm Monday 23 August

· Short listed candidates notified by Monday 6 September. The board will consider meeting travel expenses for out of Wellington candidates. Those interviewed may bring whanau/support people with them at their own expense.

· Interviews take place: Saturday 11 September

· Provision for second interviews: Saturday 18 September

· Successful applicant informed: by Monday 20 September

· Letters to unsuccessful applicants mailed during week commencing 20 September

The position is funded to commence on or about 25 April 2011.

Prior to the start date it is anticipated the appointee will have input into planning and development for the school as per the Person Specification.

The Board reserves the right to extend the timeframe and/or re-advertise the position if it deems this to be necessary.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Name change for new school

On 7 June the Board Chair, Rory O’Connor, said that the Board was considering the name for the school.

We invited feedback from the community during June and there has been general support for shortening the name to Amesbury School.

During its deliberations the Board became aware of New Zealand links with the small town of Amesbury on the Salisbury Plain in England. In the First World War, both the Maori battalion and the Wellington regiment were in camps close to the town. There are all sorts of opportunities related to a sister school relationship in the future if the school wishes to develop those.

The Ministry of Education has now approved the change to Amesbury School. The Board wishes to thank those members of the community who contributed to the discussion and made comments on the name change.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Board seeks to recruit Principal

The Board has begun the process for appointing a foundation Principal for Amesbury School. An Appointments Policy was agreed by the Board at its last meeting and the position is expected to be advertised in the Education Gazette in July. More details to come - watch this space!

School Kaumatua Appointed

Bishop Muru Walters has been appointed as the Amesbury School's Kaumatua. Bishop Walters' experience in education and the arts together with his recognised leadership role in tikanga Maori qualify him to provide the strategic advice on bi-cultural and other matters the Board will be working its way through.

In addition as a local resident Bishop Walters is well connected with the Churton Park community. The Establishment Board is delighted that Bishop Walters has agreed to provide this support for the Board.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Site investigation work commences

Initial site investigations have commenced to establish the best areas to build on within the Amesbury Drive location.

Media Release - June 2010

PO Box 13417 Johnsonville, Wellington 6440

Media release

7 June 2010

Planning for new school in Churton Park well underway

An Establishment Board of Trustees, appointed by the Minister of Education in November last year, was involved in the Ministry’s decision to contract a consortium headed by Maycroft Construction to design and build a second primary school for Churton Park in Amesbury Drive. Callum McKenzie of McKenzie-Higham is the architect for the project. The Board is an active participant in the design work for the new school.

Excavations and drillings are taking place to confirm the best location to site buildings, car parking and playgrounds. The Board has erected a sign, sponsored by Tommy’s Real Estate, on the site to update progress and advertise any future community consultation meetings.

A major focus for the Board over the next few months will be the recruitment of the foundation principal. Although the principal will not officially take up his or her position until April 2011, the Board hopes to make an appointment by the end of September so that the successful applicant can have input into the planning and decision making for the school which is due to be open at the start of the 2012 school year.

Board Chair, Rory O’Connor, said that the Board has also been considering the name for the school. The current name, Amesbury Drive School, was adopted as a working name by the Ministry of Education in the planning stages for the school. The Board is in favour of using Amesbury School as the name for the school. During its deliberations the Board became aware of New Zealand links with the small town of Amesbury on the Salisbury Plain in England. In the First World War, both the Maori battalion and the Wellington regiment were in camps close to the town. “The Board is very interested to know what the community thinks of the suggestion to shorten the name to Amesbury School”, said Rory O’Connor. People can make their views known before 30 June by going to the board’s blogsite at:

Notes for editors
Contact: Rory O’Connor, Chairperson, Establishment Board of Trustees
Phone: (04) 478 3779

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sign up

People who have driven up Amesbury Drive recently will have noticed a new arrival - a highly visible sign marking out the site for the new primary school.
The Board of Trustees will be using the Notices section of the sign (together with this blog) to keep local people up to date with news about the school which is to be built during 2011 for opening in Term1 2012.
The Board would like to express it's sincere thanks to Tommys and to Henshaw Signs for sponsoring the new sign.
Pictured here are Board Chairman, Rory O'Connor, together with a group of very interested local young people.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Site visit by design and build team

EBOT members, representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Design & Build team conducted a site visit this month.

This commences a process, that could take several months, of developing and considering the best design for the school on the site.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Board investigates innovative school designs

During March and April the Establishment Board invested time to visit schools in Auckland and Wellington to discuss what makes an excellent learning environment for teaching the new curriculum. In Auckland we visited: Mission Heights Primary School; Oteha Valley, Albany; and Snells Beach School.

This month in Wellington we visited Porirua College, Seatoun Primary and Te Ara Whanui Kura Kaupapa Maori, Petone. The Board appreciated the time and effort of the staff and Principals involved. We learned a tremendous amount from their experiences. These visits will help the Board to ensure we provide an environment that will enable each student to reach his/her full potential. It will enable the new school to develop motivated, curious, confident, engaged, innovative and self-managing learners in the 21st century.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Community consultation evening for new school

Local Churton Park residents showed significant interest in the new Amesbury Drive School last night (24 March) at a community engagement meeting attended by over 20 residents.

The meeting was led by Establishment Board members: Rory O'Connor (Chair), Wendy Welsh, Alison Pask, Roger Ellis and David Waters. They were joined by the Ministry of Education facilitator - Tricia Chapman.

The role of the Establishment Board of Trustees (EBOT) is to ensure the school is ready to open in Term 2012. It is responsible for

  • setting the initial Values and Vision of the new school;
  • appointing the foundation Principal;
  • contributing to the design of the school;
  • determining the school policy and governance matters as well as ensuring the school meets the needs and aspirations of the local community

The core curriculum has been set by the Ministry of Education (following its own consultation proces) and so the Establishment Board is not starting with a "clean sheet" in working out the draft Values & Vision for the school.

The Board is keen to receive feedback from the community on the draft Vision & Values which were distributed at the meeting. Further copies of the draft Vision & Values are available on request from

Board Chairman Rory O'Connor also discussed the draft timeline being followed by the Board. Getting the Vision & Values right was very important. Design of the physical layout will be strongly influenced by the Vision & Values.

The timeline

The approximate timeline, which may be subject to revision, is as follows:

January-March 2010 - Research modern school design, develop draft Values & Vision of school, Visit newly built schools in Auckland & Wellington to gain from their experiences;

April-June 2010 - Start recruitment process for Principal, finalise Values & Vision, contract architect & builder;

September -October 2010 - Appoint Principal.

October-December 2010 - Design

January - December 2011 - Building phase

January-March 2011 - appoint senior management team.

April 2011 - Principal takes up position.

July 2011- senior management team take up positions.

November-December 2011 - ERO readiness audit.

Term 1 2012 - school opens.

mid-2012 - new Board of Trustees elected. Establishment Board ends.

The Establishment Board welcomes comments and questions from the community. Please feel free to either email us at: or share a comment on the blog.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Minutes Secretary Appointed

The Establishment Board recently appointed Jo Dawkins as its Minutes Secretary.

Jo has been a Churton Park resident for 12 years and is married with two adult stepchildren and a child at Churton Park School. She has in excess of 20 years experience at senior executive assistant level having worked in the arts, education, service organisations, the public and private sectors. Before commencing her own business Jo’s last position was Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive of St John. Since 2007 Jo has operated her own business providing administrative, secretarial and minute taking services to a variety of clients nationally and internationally. Jo has an interest in her local community and hopes her skills will support the Establishment Board by relieving some of the administrative tasks involved in minuting its regular meetings.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Community Consultation meeting

Are you interested in education in Churton Park?

Amesbury Drive Primary School will open in Term 1 2012 and the Establishment Board of Trustees is currently seeking community input on the new school’s Vision and Values.

The meeting will be held at 7.30 - 9.00 pm on Wednesday 24 March.

At the Churton Park School Hall, 90 Churton Drive.

All parents and interested residents are invited to hear about the draft Values and Vision and to have their say.

The meeting will conclude with tea and coffee and a chance to chat.

We look forward to hearing from you at the meeting on Wednesday 24 March.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Draft Vision and Values being prepared

The Establishment Board has been meeting fortnightly since the start of the year and is making good progress on a draft Vision and Values statement for the new school.

The Board is keen to engage with parents and the community and will soon be inviting input from interested parties.

Please refer to this blog for updates.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Minute Secretary required

The Establishment Board of Trustees of Amesbury Drive School requires a Minute Secretary. Interested applicants should be: well-organized, computer literate, able to take accurate notes and transcribe into typed text, and able to maintain confidentiality of information. Board meetings are held fortnightly on Wednesday evenings from 7.30pm to approximately 10.00pm. Rate of pay will be $100 per meeting (includes both meeting attendance and typing minutes).

If interested please email a brief letter outlining skills and experience to by Friday 12 February 2010.