Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I am sitting here watching the kids in the playground sort out their problems. Just watching the recent debate out in front of me I am tempted to rush out and help them sort it but what will that teach them.
All of these children arrive at school with negotiating skills. These are skills that have been honed in the battlefield that is the playcentre or kindergarten or family.I watch them at a rugby practice or a netball game where children sort themselves out. It's sad how we often step in and put an adult spin on some of these small problems.
I am not condoning violence in any way shape or form but the way boys deal with their issues can be more effective than the way the girls do. Boys normally over with a whack and girls can drag it on for months!
Sexist comment, maybe, but true!
Sorry got distracted form the fact I was about to tell you all that this is the 3rd time we have met with our parents this year. Are we providing feedback, you betcha! Is the information we are feeding back setting the goals for our kids, once again yep!In fact I have never been at this school when such a wealth of information was provided to parents. It is measured against the benchmarks we have set for our children and we know exactly where all our children are placed in our school.
So lets look at the face to face reporting with parents, this year a total of 4 times, written reporting times 3 that includes goal setting reports.We also have our doors open for catch ups with parents from, well ,when ever they want to. Overkill??
It still amazes me that the government believes that schools are not in contact with their school community!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Good Quote

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth." ~Dan Rather

Friday, May 6, 2011

How much is too much!!

We are a well resourced school!WE have used some pretty smart techniques to get to where we are with all the wonderful readers equipment around this school.
The catch cry though from many teachers is we want more.
The latest ICT, the best reader, full sets of class equipment for Physical Education lessons and why not? We want the best for our kids we want them to have educational experiences that they remember and that cater for their individual needs, you know all the usual educational speak.
Increasingly there is a problem occurring here!
It is a case of simple Maths or economics.
As we want more and more, our Operational grant has not grown at the expectations of the community. We cant simply rely on the community to fund all the extras. Electricity, wages,rates the whole shooting match continues to increase only to have curriculum. our core area, remain static or go backwards.
There needs to be a rethink from the powers that be. Centrally funding caretakers cleaners and support staff would be a start and already put an extra 70k into areas that really count.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Team Sports.

I have always played team sports.
I think being the bigger, overactive kid, it gave me an outlet for the energy my parents wanted me to get rid of.
Being a part of a team is a very important and delicate balance. You see your team will be made up of great players , those who have the skills and the drive to perform week in and week out.
They are the passionate ones!
They are the ones who from an early age did all the physical things first, walked, rode a bike, climbed up out of the cot and landed on their heads!
The are also ones whose parents are probably involved in the club coaching or managing.

Then there are the children who are in teams for social side of things. They are just there so they can be with their friends.
A lot of the time its mums or dad that has encouraged the child to be a part of the team so they can fit in more socially.

Is there a problem with this?
There might be when the attitude of these players/families starts to impact on the team.
When you commit to a team sport no matter what level you commit. You shouldn't simply breeze in and out when it suits you as that approach has a major impact on the way the team works.
Oh , but what if they are only 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 etc.....?
You see it doesn't matter at what level a team sport is because you can only play a team sport when you have a team!!
Am I over the top with asking children to commit to a team they have decided to play for?
I don't think so, there are going to be days when genuine excuses impact on the ability to attend training.
The key to this is communication.
Tell the coach tell the manager.
These people are volunteers!
They have ,in most cases planned training and practices with your child in mind. they give up their time to coach your child. They put their time and their effort into your child so show them some respect by communicating to them.
Oh and just an aside , if your child can't drive then it is your responsibility to get them to practices and games, i know who would have thought. If they cant get there or you don't get them there they will miss out.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Starting again, again.

I posted a while back that coming back after the quake was like starting the year again well here we go again!. Heading into this term I am not sure which of our families we picked up after February 22 will be staying and how the numbers will look. It also may mean we have more families who have chosen t move to a more geologically stable environment.
Day one back we have two classes heading off on camp. That in itself brings with it the worry that some parents will be away from their children and dealing with these issues as a family can be daunting.
Having Technology on the Monday back means now that the school ,on the first day back will be shy of 80 pupils. It will be different.
Winter is upon us though, two good frosts let me realise that the mower probably doesn't need to come out again this year at least for a while.

The national standards debate continues to rage even though now they are in place and we need to be reporting against them.
My own personal belief is that they issued far to quickly and we ,as a school have not had enough education in the use of them. Yes there is a lot of emotional speak out there about the damage they will do to children and also from the other side the effect they will have if not implemented.( One MOE spokes person telling a Board of Trustees that they were breaking the law by not implementing them. The Board responded with one member suggested that just because its law doesn't make it right. Apartheid was law wasn't it. (okay that was a bit too emotional)
As a school we have always measured our students against many different tests. Reading , maths and spelling. We have established a school set of bench marks that work for our community. I also believe , the staff at Ashley School talk to parents with children who need help and the children who need to be exploring a different style of teaching and learning.

Parents and teachers need to be realistic and honest about the children they have in their care!

Monday, March 21, 2011


A colleague of mine wrote on his blog about spaces. The spaces in which we learn.
How important are they how do they impact on the way we learn?
Do you think they have any bearing on the student or adult learner?
Our children at Ashley have the standard box with a roof to learn in. Opportunities are coming to be able to develop outdoor learning environments as well.
Our students already do their best to learn up trees!( Except when an over zealous tree surgeon gets stuck in)Who is to say that climbing a tree doesn't provide the stimulus for better learning.
What would be the ideal learning environment for your now as an adult and what would have been the ultimate as a student ?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 1 of the New Year.

Interesting Title! It sort of feels like we are starting again. New kids ,new families! Wow!
I mean we have nothing to complain about, as far as I know we are lucky out here and the school is still functioning. What I have witnessed is the way some people are handling it.
Some have thrown themselves into rescue and started collecting, digging, transporting doing everything in there power to be a part of it and to contribute. Some have pulled their families closer worrying about what is going to happen next. Some have focussed internally and are looking at things and how it relates solely to them. All very normal, very valid ways of dealing with and disaster.
There are days I pretend I am okay too:)
There will be a number of changes expected and the expected changes will continue to change constantly.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday 25th

Well three days on and it is still very surreal.
I have already had some families ring requesting could we possibly have there kids at our school. They have had their children at schools in town and now do not want to have the distance between them and their children anymore.
This whole thing has taken reality and flipped it on its arse.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday 24th

Sitting down at school the last few mornings, its been hard to find positives out of the way this province is feeling. When school starts back it will be up to families to decide wether their children are able to handle school. Normal proceedings is the call from many parties,me included, but if you are your children don't feel well enough to attend school then keep them close to you. This will be the same for staff as well. I think we forget sometimes that the staff here have families and friends who too have been affected by this tragedy.
We all need to stick together on this one and be supportive.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday 23rd

Schools Canterbury wide have been told to remain closed for the rest of the week. Although my thoughts are to get on with things I have to consider that this time the quake happened during the day. More people felt it, more people have been affected in the worst possible way!
I have spent time today looking around school with Gary. To my untrained eye everything looks okay. It would so easy to get back in and get started but the MInistry of Education have told us to stay away. Parents teachers and students will all be feeling this more than before.
Please look after each other .

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Latest News.

Thank you to all the parents who were so supportive on the day of the quake. It was so wonderful to have you there to help us comfort the few children who were stressing.
School is closed until we can assess the buildings water supply and sewage.
Please bear with us while we sort this all out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Its been a while I know!

We are attempting at the moment to get the essence of Ashley school down on paper! What makes us who we are. Our vision sums up what we want, our curriculum attempts to connect to all our children but there is so much more. There is what our students bring to the table and what our families provide outside of school. It is constantly changing as new families come and go and add to this huge tapestry. I will continue to get it down but there are days it is easier to speak about than write.

About Me

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Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand
I have been Principal of Ashley School since 2002 and I am still learning my job.I am married with 3 children. I have a love of educating children to the best of their potential. I enjoy Rowan Atkinson, Ricky Gervais, cycling and all other sports.