At the end of Term 1 we heard from many parents who had worries about some of the things they’d noticed in Room 1. Some parents were concerned at the rate of absence of teachers, and we shared this concern. Unfortunately Ms Balfour became unwell and decided that she needed to resign. Mr Crow had to go to England and help his elderly parents to move into supported accommodation. Mrs Campbell developed tonsillitis and had to take some time off also. We had a number of scheduled professional learning days in this term which contributed to the number of days teachers were not in the classroom. We were very lucky however to be able to draw on some of our best and most reliable relievers during this time, which allowed children to continue learning and most routines to be continued.
During the term break in April, we spent considerable time reflecting on the term for Tūi and worked on making changes, some big and some small. Parents and children would have noticed that the routines in Room 1 changed and some new things were introduced.
It is pleasing for us that even though teachers were busy with professional learning and burdened by sickness, we’ve seen some excellent progress from Tūi children in both reading and maths. A number of parents were specifically concerned at their child’s progress in writing, our analysis of Term 1 writing results however, showed that most children were achieving as expected and others had made excellent progress.
It is certainly not ideal to have 4 different teachers fill one teaching role over the course of the year, but this is the position we have found ourselves in, as finding a suitably qualified and experienced teacher to take over from Ms Balfour has been difficult. We have been very lucky to be able to call upon Gretel Standage and Peggy Bruce to be part of the Tūi team during Term 2 as they have been able to bring expertise and energy and have played a full role in establishing the improvements introduced this term.
We are working through the final stages of our appointments process and expect to be able to announce who our new teacher will be in just a week or two. We are thrilled that the person we’ve offered this job to is extremely competent and experienced and will be able to contribute significantly to ongoing development of the Whānau Tūi teaching and learning programme.
Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL)
ALL is a government funded professional development programme for teachers that Ridgway has been part of since last year. Renata Balfour was working on this, focussing on raising achievement in writing for Year 2 and Year 3 children. In term 1 a number of Tūi families were invited to an “ALL Breakfast” meeting to hear about how this programme would directly benefit their children. Unfortunately Ms Balfour was not able to get started on this in Whānau Tūi as she became unwell, and it was not feasible for us to run the programme this term without her.
We have realised that we did not communicate this decision in a timely manner. We apologise to those families who were expecting their children to be part of an ALL group, that this did not happen.
At the end of Term 2 we will take another look at the achievement and progress of our Tūi children in writing and make a decision about whether we will implement an ALL approach or use a different strategy for supporting any struggling writers. In the meantime teachers are working hard to ensure that every child has the appropriate support to learn and achieve their best. Our aim is for every child to meet their year level expectations in writing.
In an effort to provide more support to those children who may have been involved with the ALL programme, we have employed Joel Findlater for 1 day a week this term to work with Tūi students. Mr Findlater is working with the most able writers every Wednesday, which allows the Room 1 teachers to spend more time with those writers who need a higher level of support.
Reports and Learning Conferences
Children in Year 2 and Year 3 receive a report and, along with their parents, are invited to a Learning Conference with their teacher, at the end of the term closest to the full and half year anniversary of when they started school.
We always let you know if it’s your turn to come to a Learning Conference by sending you conference booking information.
Children in Ms Balfour’s homegroup who reached their full or half year anniversary of starting school in Term 1, missed out on a learning conference because Ms Balfour was unwell. We have decided that this group of children and parents will be given another (brief) report this term and be invited to attend a learning conference also. Mrs Bruce and Ms Standage have very generously agreed to host these conferences.
Whānau Tūi invite all families to join them for a celebration evening on Wednesday 26th June, 6 to 7pm. to share what children have been learning during inquiry this term. Please join us at 6pm and bring a plate to share at the conclusion of our hui.
We hope that many of you will be able to join us at this event to hear more about what your children have been learning this term. It will be an opportunity to speak informally with teachers and also to catch up with other families.
Kathryn Smith & Sue Campbell