Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More photos - Just another exciting day at Amesbury School

And so the day continues.....

Just another exciting day at Amesbury School!

This week is camping week and today children were doing all sorts of exciting things to get ready for camping: cooking, shopping, putting up tents, packing, working out problems, collecting, blowing up beds .... I wonder whether the tents will still be up in the morning or whether everyone will be inside Koru Hub??
Check out this site tomorrow for further pics.


You gotta love our cooking trolleys!!


Monday, February 27, 2012

School Donation Projects

Thanks so much to all those people who have paid the School Donation already. The following items have been identified as priorities for purchase this year and school donations will go directly towards these purchases. The total cost of the items will be $25,000 - $30,000, so where appropriate, we will also apply for grants to assist us with these purchases.
I am so looking forward to seeing the the musical instruments being played on the Official Opening of our school. I love watching five year olds play the ukelele!

1. Purchase of musical instruments:

· a class set of ukuleles

· small group set of keyboards

· Xylophones

2. Permanent ¾ field soccer goals

3. Tennis nets
4. Sitech Science Trolley

5. Giant Outdoor Chess set

6. Video conferencing equipment

7. Further sports equipment

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Look at these cushions!

Look at these gorgeous cushions we had presented to us today by Wendy Welsh an Establishment Board of Trustees Member. Wendy was out shopping one day and, knowing that we have a bit of a Hungry Caterpillar thing going on in the library, purchased these cushion kitsets. Her mother, Joy Hill, sewed them. A HUGE thanks to both of them for their beautiful contribution to the library.

Students Using Library


Our library shelves had to be sent back and remade. As a result, our library is still not ready for use. However, yesterday this did not stop students from choosing books and making the most of the vibrant, colourful evironment that we call Puna (flowing waters). Thanks so much to all the library staff and community members who worked so tirelessly to process the books and get everything up and running. Shelves should arrive beginning of March. Come on the shelves!

The touch screen in the library is  now up and running and displaying the library catalogue. The library catalogue will soon be available to students and parents at home. Students will be able to reserve books at home and pick them up in the morning from the library. Parents will also receive email notification that their child's books are due back in a couple of days.
We are looking forward to the day soon when all this is up and running.

Opening Day Snapshot

BOT Elections May 2012 – Information session, Monday 27 February, 7.30pm

The Establishment Board of Trustees has been responsible for the development of Amesbury School in its start-up phase. It has nearly finished its job and now it is the turn of a parent-elected board to receive the baton and to take the school through its next phase of development.

“Strong leaders make strong schools”

Lorraine Kerr, President of NZSTA, said the following, “Board members are entrusted by the community to ensure the success of our schools and a bright future for our children. We need an education system where all children are expected to succeed and one where we all take shared responsibility in assuring this happens. You can make things happen – we need strong leaders to lead our schools.”

Please give serious thought to whether you might stand for election to the Amesbury School Board of Trustees.

To help you, we are holding an information session, Monday, 27 February, 7.30pm 2012 in Puna, the library, Te Rito block, Amesbury School.

This meeting will last an hour and will be followed by a supper and discussion. Tricia Chapman, who works in the field of Trusteeship delivering Trustee training etc., will facilitate the meeting and share relevant information on Trusteeship. Alison Pask will share about her experiences of Trusteeship.

If you think you might be interested in contributing to Amesbury School in this way, please do come to this session. Full training will be provided to the new Board of Trustees members.

Remember, Board of Trustees Information session, 27th February, 7.30pm, at Puna – the Amesbury School Library

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Four Year Old Programme

Our four year old programme begins this Monday 27 February.
Children who are pre-enrolled and are four years of age are invited to join our Year One children for one hour of activities from 2:00-3:00pm every Monday. Meet us on the blue matting over looking the sports field outside koru hub.

For further information contact Angela by email at or phone the school 4773423.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Communicate, Collaborate, Celebrate 17/02/2012

Newsletter Summary

Love our Squash Ottomans
Building Early Foundations
Hub Planning
Amesbury School Standards
School Lunches
Amesbury School Donations
Stationery Fee
Other Costs

Love our squash ottomans

Our squash ottomans arrived from China today and we are enamoured! Students and teachers love them.

Building Early Foundations

At the end of our third week of operation, things are beginning to settle down. Routines, expectations, protocols and a school culture are being established. There has been a huge amount of base work to be done with every single routine and process having to be established from scratch. With no prior relationships or history, no traditions, no rituals, no learning culture already in existence, all new equipment, a complex building to get to know - this early foundation work has been huge and very taxing on staff. A BIG thanks to those people who have made this phase of school set-up easier by the encouragement they have given and the morning teas and other expressions of appreciation they have provided. For a number of our teachers, not only is everything about their job new and requiring development, but they are in a new city and new accommodation. They have left family and friends behind. Change is always challenging, but the degree of change our teachers are having to adjust to is extraordinary.

However, I am proud to say that we have an outstanding team of teachers who are doing an amazing job and who are very excited about the opportunities they have before them to build a school for the future that will assist and support students to become energized, engaged, innovative, moral and highly resilient learners. The base skills of reading, writing and maths are an essential aspect of being a 21st century learner. However, rather than teaching these as isolated skills, we are trying, as much as is practicable, to teach them within a context. This gives students a purpose for learning the skills and we know that students are always more motivated when they can see the purpose for learning. Contextualising learning also helps them towards a wider and more effective application of the skills in “real life” because they don’t only learn the skill but they learn when it is appropriate to use that skill (practical wisdom=knowing when).

Here at Amesbury School, teachers are interrogating their teaching practices every day and asking themselves whether what they did today will support students to become independent, authentic 21st century learners. This work is not for the fainthearted and, we, the Board of Trustees and principal, applaud the staff for what they have achieved in such a short time. As one of the teachers said, “There are definitely moments of beautifulness.” However, we can assure you – there is still much more to come. This is an exciting, pioneering journey and we are loving it!

Lesley Murrihy - Principal

Hub Planning

As promised this will be available Monday 20th February. Please remember, this is a living document and learning never quite happens (and shouldn’t always happen) the way we plan it. There will always be tangents as we following children’s interests or take advantage of “teachable moments” or as an inquiry takes on a life of its own or as passion is ignited. This planning is primarily for teachers, but we believe it is important to share it with you.

Access the planning via the following hyperlink:

Amesbury School Standards

These are our interpretation of the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Shortly you will find a copy of these on the covering page of the teacher planning website

Please keep an eye out for these matrices. They are in an initial draft form and will be reviewed and revised by teachers over the next couple of weeks. More information will be provided to you over the next few weeks about how these will be used to plan, assess and report to you. Their value is in their propensity to improve teaching and learning - not in how they place children in comparison to one another.

School lunches

We are finally ready to provide a limited menu of school lunches. This will continue to be available throughout term 1. In the meantime, a group of children will begin an inquiry into school lunches. We expect that they will seek feedback, survey students and parents, check costings and profit levels, try recipes, speak to experts, research what other schools do, look at relevant health issues and, after all that, write a proposal for school lunches provided at Amesbury School. The point of this is that the children will have an authentic context for their learning.

Menu - Monday to Thursday

Lunch packs will be available for $5.00 per lunch pack. This will include the main savoury item, a piece of fruit and a piece of home baking (slice, biscuit or muffin) sometimes there may be a snack rather than a baked item (e.g. popcorn, corn chips etc)

Lunch packs available

1. Ham salad sandwich

2. Smoked chicken wrap

3. Hummus and salad wrap (vegetarian)

Fridays - $3.00

24th Feb: Steak sandwich

2nd March: 2 X Sausage sizzle (vegetarian option available)

9th March: American Hotdog

16th March: Burger (vegetarian option available)

Ordering and payment

Please order by emailing, phoning or sending a note to Gail. Soon we hope to have an online ordering form.

You may pay by cash or you will be charged through your school account. We would appreciate it if you either transferred the payment at the time of ordering or kept your school account in credit, so that lunches are paid for immediately.

Money earned from lunches will help subsidise student’s activities such as trips and camps.

Parent Help for Lunches

If there are any parents who would like to help with school lunches, please contact Gail. When the hall is finished lunches will be prepared in the semi-commercial kitchen provided as part of the hall facilities.

Amesbury School Donation

Each year the BOT asks for voluntary donations to supplement the school’s budget. These donations help support and enhance many aspects of the school curriculum and activities. They enable us to provide resources that are not covered by state funding.

While donations are voluntary, we do rely on them and we greatly appreciate your financial support.

Receipts will be issued for donations, and tax rebates can be claimed from the Inland Revenue Department.

The Board of Trustees has set the school donation rates for 2012 as follow:

One child $240

Two children $400

Three or more children $480

The donation will be reduced for starting in terms 2, 3 and 4. Contact the school office for these fees.

Payment Options

Payments made in full up to no later than 29th February of the month, will attract a 10% reduction.

If families wish to pay by instalments, they may do so over 4 months, but the discount does not apply.

• Option 1 – one lump sum at the start of the year attracting a 10% reduction

• Option 2 – payment over four months consisting of four equal monthly instalments.

Stationery Fee

Again, given that we are in a development phase, we have not requested a particular pack of stationery for students. Rather we are asking parents to pay $25.00 per student for stationery for the year. This will be reviewed for 2013 after a year of operation and when we have more of an idea of what stationery will be required.

The advantages of this way of operating are:

• Immediate response time to students’ stationary needs. No down time when stationery runs out.

• We can purchase all basic stationery at the very cheap “back to school” prices at the beginning of the year enabling cheaper stationery for students throughout the year.

This fee will be added to your school account.

Other costs

Costs for field trips, camps, swimming etc. will be charged separately.

A New Direction

This blog site has recorded the journey of the Establishment Board of Trustees as they have worked with many amazing people to design and build a new school for Churton Park. It is an admirable record thanks to the hard work of EBOT members Roger Ellis and Wendy Welsh. However, with the school now open, the purpose of this blog is changing. But still, in its own way, it will continue to record the journey of the school. This blog site will now become Amesbury School’s "living newsletter". Providing mundane and not so mundane information to school families, but also providing ongoing information about the development of the school, its vision, its developing approach to 21st learning and about education in general.
To the followers of this blog – thanks for travelling on this exciting journey with us. We hope that you will continue to be interested in the ongoing development of Amesbury School and that you will find enough interesting and relevant information to check out the blog from time-to-time. For more regular updates FOLLOW US on TWITTER - @amesburysch and keep an eye on our website

Friday, February 3, 2012

Amesbury School is now open!

Amesbury School opened on 1 February 2012 with a special morning of festivities for students and their families.

The local community are making great use of the tennis courts, football field and playground in the evenings and weekends. The community hall will be available for hire from May 2012. If you are interested in applying please email for more information.