Principal's Blog

2 February 2022

Review of Ruru La Chouette bilingual provision

We are very proud to provide Wellington’s only French Bilingual school option.  Ruru La Chouette is now in the fourth year of it’s operation and we remain committed to the long term success of this class.  Last year we received the Label FrancÉducation granted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in recognition of outstanding education in French.

In 2021 we carried out an in-school review of our Ruru La Chouette bilingual programme.  The purpose of the review was to check up on how well we are achieving our own aspirations for this programme and to consider the priorities to work on next.  We asked parents to tell us about their experiences as part of the Ruru whanau and found that we shared some of the same ideas around what was working well and what we could improve.

We previously gave this feedback to Ruru families…

We want to assure you all that we are committed to the bilingual class and the reason for the consultation is to ensure its sustainability and success into the future. We believe that having Ruru in our school brings a richness that benefits our whole school community. One of the aims of the language strategy that the Board are currently developing, is to spread this richness further into our school so everyone can benefit from Ruru. 

Out of our consultation, we heard a message of gratitude for the opportunity for your children to have a bilingual education, essentially doubling the impact of all their learning. People expressed how important it was for their children to be able to speak with family members in other parts of the world, particularly French speaking grandparents. We heard how people liked the fact that the class was diverse and children were engaging with all different cultures and backgrounds within Ruru.  People spoke about the Ruru family community and how they enjoyed connecting with other families and hearing their children speak French when playing together.   

The main areas for improvement that have been shared with us are around communication and the sharing of information. This is particularly in regard to the structure of Ruru (including how they integrate with the rest of the school), what is happening in the class day to day, children's progress and achievements and how parents can help at home. We are working on improvements in these areas and will keep it as a focus next year. We believe that parents across the school share the same thoughts as the parents of Ruru with this so it is a school-wide focus.

Changes in 2022 as a result of our Review


It's important to us that Ruru akonga (learners) feel like they fully belong to Te Kura o Tawatawa | Ridgway School as well as to Ruru La Chouette.  We deliberately schedule some learning for all Ruru children to take place with their mainstream (English only) peers1.  We've identified that how we organise for this needed some changes to ensure that our akonga feel safe, valued and continue to learn, no matter where they are working.  

The main change for this year is that when Ruru akonga are working with their mainstream peers, the Ruru kaiako (teachers) will be too.  Ruru children will spend the first 2 hours of the day from Monday to Thursday working mostly in English, along side their mainstream peers.  They will spend the rest of the day (11.30am - 3pm) and all day on Friday working mostly in French, in the Ruru space.

  • Julie Llorca will work with the Kotare team and all of the Year 0 - 2 akonga from Ruru will go with her to the Kotare classroom each morning (Room 1) .  
  • Nicolas Delaire will work with the Tui team and Year 3 - 4 akonga from Ruru will go with him to work in the Tui classrooms each morning (Room 4 & Room 5, but they will also use the Ruru classroom).
  • Estelle Valent will work with the Year 5 - 8 Ruru akonga, going with them to the Kereru and Kaka classrooms on the field.

This organisation means that children from Ruru will always have a Ruru staff member nearby, even when they not working in the Ruru classroom.  The Ruru teachers will still be Kaitiaki teachers for the Ruru learners and will still be responsible for ensuring their wellbeing and learning is supported and sustained.  If you have questions or concerns the Ruru kaitiaki teacher is still the person that you should get in touch with first.

We've organised our timetable to ensure that Ruru akonga spend 60% of their learning time working in French and 40% of their time working in English.  As their Ruru kaiako will be with them in their mainstream classes, there will be times when they can continue to work and learn in French in the mainstream class if they need to.

Member of 2 classes

Children in Ruru are included in the mainstream classes and parents will notice in '@school'2 that they no longer see "Ruru" as their child's class.  Instead it appears that they are in a mainstream class.  This is because our Student Management System can't cope with children being in two classes at the same time, but don't worry, they are still very much in Ruru as well.   

Being included on both class lists will ensure that our Ruru children are included and planned for in all parts of the day.  It will also ensure that parents don't miss out on information that goes out to mainstream families, and will get more information about what's happening at school.


Communication is not a Ruru specific concern - as all parents want and need to be kept fully up to date. We will continue to develop our communication systems to keep parents well informed about what's going on at school and how their children are progressing and achieving.  We know we still have some work to do around supporting parents to access the information that is available via the @school app or portal.

Parents will receive all communications from the mainstream class as well as specific Ruru communications from Ruru teachers.  Make sure that you have the @school app on your phone or use the @school portal so you don't miss anything.

1:  One of the foundation principles for RLC is that this class cannot be an "island" or operate in isolation to the rest of the school.  To ensure this does not happen we plan for Ruru children to learn along side mainstream learners - so the 40% of learning that Ruru children do 'in English' happens largely within the mainstream environment.

2: "@school" is our main means of reporting and communicating with parents.  Parents need to either download this app for their phone or access it via a computer.  The school will be providing further information about how to do this (for those that are new to the school or haven't got around to it yet) early in Term 1.

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