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Update from Board of Trustees

Nau mai, haere mai! Ngā mihi nui, ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou!!

In light of the recent horrific and tragic events in Christchurch, the Board wants to send our heartfelt condolences and aroha to those affected - Moe mai ra e nga mate, moe mai ra. We also want to reaffirm the school's commitment to, and support of, our diverse community. Everyone in our school community - students, carers, whanau and staff - have a right to feel safe regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. If you have any concerns at school, then please talk to one of the staff or Board members.

A warm welcome to everyone and especially to those who are new to our school community.

This year is an exciting one for the school with the introduction of the new bilingual French class and the designing of our long-awaited new buildings.

With all this change upon us the Board believes that we should take a look at our school charter and vision for the school - are the school's strategic aims and key actions over the next 3-5 years still relevant?

Therefore, the Board would like to engage with the school community to identify if and where change is needed. The first of these engagement events will take place at the School Fair on 24 March where the Board will be hosting a stall to gather your thoughts - please take the opportunity to talk to Board members and provide comments, outlined below are some other areas we would like your thoughts on.

Enrolment Zone

Related to the school's vision is the question of whether Ridgway should put in place an enrolment zone. An enrolment zone will prioritise enrolments of within-zone students. The Ministry of Education (the Ministry) has an expectation that all schools will have an enrolment zone to prevent overcrowding and provide certainty in terms of resourcing and teaching space. Ridgway is one of the few Years 1-8 primary schools in the Wellington Central region that does not have an enrolment zone and, therefore, we can't refuse to enrol anyone. By establishing a zone we would prevent overcrowding that may occur if many children from outside our immediate area decide to enrol. While any zoning scheme will need careful consideration, with regard to out-of-zone French-speakers, the school is able to put in place criteria that allows and prioritises them to enrol in our French class.

Should Ridgway only cater for students from Year 1-6?

Part of the considerations of what the future of our school should look like, is what year levels the school caters for. Ridgway is a full primary school catering for Year 1-8 students. However, if there are sufficient schooling options for Years 7-8 in the wider community, and it would be educationally beneficial for a school to only cater for Years 1-6, then the Ministry provides an option to make such a change. Any change would only occur following consultation with the school community and with a long time-frame before it was implemented to give parents and students time to plan.

As we consider the future building needs of the school, it is opportune for the Board to raise this issue for discussion. We are keen to hear your views on whether you think Ridgway would benefit from becoming a school for only Years 1-6.

Board elections

The triennial School Board Trustee elections will be upon us in June. We would love more people to put their names forward at the elections to make sure the Board has the diverse range of skills and experiences to allow the school to strive and reach its potential. A Board Trustee's role is to represent the community in governing the school. Although the role can be busy at times, it is a rewarding experience. More information will be coming out shortly about the nomination process or come and talk to us at the Fair and find out what's involved.

Property Update - Capital Rebuild Project

There is a lot going on in the background for this exciting project. Our Architect, DGSE, have been working on the Master Plan for our new school. They are now working with the Ministry to go through the "Design Review Panel". This involves a panel of experts ensuring that design teams are basing their work on the national standards and guidelines for school property design. You can read more about this here.

Once this has been completed the estimated cost of the proposed rebuild will go to the Ministry for approval to proceed with more detailed architectural planning. We expect this to happen around the end of April, and at that time we will hold an information evening with the Ridgway community to present the Master Plan for the school and gather feedback that will inform the detailed planning stages. Things are running to schedule, and it is still expected that building work will begin at the end of this year or beginning of next. Of course, there are many steps along the way, including finding a builder! But we continue to work with the Ministry and Architects, meeting each month to be updated on progress. Come and talk to us at the fair for any further information.

We hope you continue to have a fantastic year. Feel free to contact/talk to us and we look forward to seeing you at the School Fair and/or around the school.

Ngā manaakitanga

Ridgway School Board of Trustees

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