2016 Parent Consultation Survey

Thank you to all those parents who managed to contribute to our 2016 survey. You have given us much to think about as we prepare our targets for 2017. Appreciated.

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We are conducting our 2016 Parent Survey and would appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts on how we are performing and on what you think we should focus on in the near future and ‘medium term’. The more respondents the merrier!

Please either highlight the following link, right click on it and click on the ‘Go to’ instruction or copy this link into your browser and it should allow you to complete the survey online. Alternatively, hard copies will be available on the counter in the Main Office and at our two public meetings this week: on Tuesday [our staff and parent shared meeting on Digital Citizenship and online safety] and Thursday [our Board Open Forum].


The deadline for surveys to be completed is Monday, September 12th at noon.

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URGENT NOTICE to all Parents regarding Teachers’ Union Meeting

The Teachers’ Unions have called for a meeting of all teachers to be held in Kerikeri on Wednesday, 7th September, 2016. This will mean that normal teaching can not occur after 12.30pm on that day. We urge all parents and caregivers who are able to, to collect their children from school at 12.30pm on that day. There will be a ‘skeleton staff’ at school to ensure that any children who have not been collected or are not able to be collected are supervised [but not taught] at school until they can be collected.

Whilst I apologise for this significant inconvenience, this is a situation faced by all schools on different days between September 5th and 16th nationwide.

It is important for parents to understand why the teachers’ unions are taking this action. As a result and for your information, enclosed in this newsletter is a factsheet that explains the unions’ thinking.

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The Turning Circle

There is still pressure on traffic especially at the end of the school day. Please could I urge all parents to follow this advice:

  1. Always use the turning circle that is now provided. Please do not do 3 point turns at the top of Kellet Street or on Franklin Road. Also, please only ever go one way around the turning circle!
  2. Please use the 12 extra parking spaces provided in the turning circle area as well as the original 3 in front of the school.
  3. Please do not double park or park on the left hand side at the very top of Kellet Street [as this makes it one lane only and often blocks the free flow of traffic]. For your awareness, the council are going to make this area [on the left, next to the white fence] a no-parking / no stopping zone as soon as the road markers can schedule a visit here.
  4. Try and stagger pick up times, especially at 3pm.

All this advice is given because children’s safety is our top priority.

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Thank You, Kay!

Kay McGowan is leaving Opua School today and we will miss her very much.  Kay has been our main Teacher Aide for three and a half years now and she has always been eager to make a positive difference, to help individual children with their learning and be constructive, creative and very professional. She has worked incredibly hard to support all Opua School’s teachers and pupils and her compassion for the children, collegiality, hard work and ‘glass half full’ attitude will be greatly missed. Thank you for all you have done for Opua School’s pupils and teachers, Kay.

I will be putting an advertisement in the local newspaper shortly to begin the search for a suitable replacement for Kay. As always, be assured that I will seek out and appoint the most suitable candidate for this important role.

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Computers at Opua School – a cordial invite…

Many of you will be aware that we are working through a Professional Learning programme at Opua School up-skilling ourselves in the effective use of Digital Technology in education for the benefit of the children here. It is important for everyone to know that, as we work through this programme, central features are that:

  • We will only be using computers and tablets at Opua School to advance children’s learning experiences, engage them in worthwhile learning activities and deepen the quality of their thinking and their use of their other key competencies;
  • We want to ensure that we help children [and parents supporting their children] to be good digital citizens;
  • All the varied teaching and learning experiences that have and continue to make this school a great little school will not change. Use of computers in our classrooms will be carefully managed and only ever be employed to enhance learning. The essence, tone and culture of this school remains most important and will be enhanced not weakened as we adapt and advance our learning, tapping into new, rich learning experiences and resources.

During my absence, and out of genuine enthusiasm feeding off the children’s excitement, the provider of our training acknowledges that she, at this stage, went one step ahead of what we had agreed upon as we move through this process.

It is now important to take that one step back and share what our aims are and how we intend to manage computer use and Digital Learning at Opua School. As a result, all parents are welcome to attend an information / consultation meeting on this subject in our school hall starting at 3.30pm on Thursday, 11th August. This session will begin with a short presentation from the providers and me and then we are keen for it to be an open, ‘Question and Answer’ session for the rest of the time to answer all your questions and allay any apprehensions that might be circulating.

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Working Bee

I would like to express my gratitude to all those wonderful parents, caregivers and Mrs Halse who gave up their time so generously and worked so hard to beautify our school during the two week vacation. Despite torrents of rain, what you have all achieved is remarkable and you are all very much appreciated.

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Almost there with our ‘Turning Circle’

Wow! We are almost there. Thank you to everyone for your patience. As you will no doubt have noticed, after years of hard negotiation and agitation, we finally have a concrete turning circle and the provision of many more parking spaces for our parent community. This will make ‘drop off’ and pick up’ times go more smoothly and, we believe, we have eased what has been a health and safety issue for many years.

Much of the congratulations for this must go to our Board Chairperson, Malcolm Shaft, who recognised this as a safety issue over three years ago and set about working tirelessly with a variety of organisations and individuals up to and including our mayor, John Carter. Well done on behalf of all our school community for seeing this to a positive end, Malcolm.

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Our new Board of Trustees – confirmed!

Our Board elections have concluded with 5 parent representatives being nominated and… we needed five! So, a perfect conclusion and a strong endorsement of the positive direction our school is heading in as we have four returning trustees and one new trustee filling the vacancy we had. My hearty congratulations to:

Malcolm Shaft;

Jasmine Beazley;

Mel Going;

Duncan McAngus; and

Stefan Sharpe.

I very much look forward to working closely with you all.

Also, my congratulations to Juliette Ridge who joins us as our new Staff Representative on the Board. With myself, as principal, that makes up our Board of seven to take us forward over the next three years.

At this time, I would also like to thank Margaret Lange who has been our Staff Representative on our Board of Trustees for over twenty years. Margaret has given incredible service in this challenging role. Her wisdom, knowledge, commitment, humour and strength of character have contributed positively and immeasurably to the success of those various Boards and the success of the school over her tenure as a trustee. Many, many thanks, Margaret, on behalf of everyone who has enjoyed working collaboratively with you on our Boards over those years.

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Celebrating Matariki

We are looking at repeating our ‘Celebration of Matariki’ event that was so wonderful last year. We are considering holding the event on either the 15th, 16th or 17th of June dependent on availability of tutors / helpers. If you are able to run a Matariki-related or cultural event and/or participate on the chosen day, please let Maree or me know as soon as possible, so we can put a schedule together.

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