Board of Trustees Newsletter Term 1 2018

Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihinui ki a koutou.

Welcome to all of our Ridgway whanau and especially those new to our school! This is the first of our quarterly Board Newsletters for 2018. Although this is a chance for the Board to update you on what's happening around the school, this is not the only opportunity for you to engage with the Board. We will be hosting various forums throughout the year which we hope you can attend. We also post documents of interest to the Ridgway community on the school website including our updated school charter (strategic plan) Board minutes and spending priorities for the next 2 years. You can also approach our Board members as we're all happy to discuss things. For any specific concerns, you can email me directly at

Thank you to those parents/carers who attended the Board's ‘Cookies and Chat’ evening on 22 March. It was a surprisingly good turnout considering the dreadful weather that night. We discussed a number of things including the charter, some of the property projects going on around the school (Bikes In School and Sandpit/Shading projects) as well as the proposal from Frenz (a parent-led association focusing on bilingual French education) on the possibility of including a French language immersion class within our school. More information about these are included further on in the newsletter. We also discussed some of the property issues that both students and teachers have had to endure during the term - this is not acceptable and the Board is working closely with the Ministry of Education to rectify what we can as soon as possible - as we outlined during the discussion, many of the property issues the school has had to deal with recently are a culmination of years of long term property development delays. We'll keep you updated on this work as things develop.

Finally I'd like to formally welcome our two new Board members - Vicki Pewhairangi-Kremm and Rachel Kirkman - and thank Rachel Young, who resigned as a parent trustee at the end of 2017, for all her work on the Board.

Noho ora mai

Richard Ngatai (Board Chair)

Sandpit & Shade Project

The Board of Trustees have been working on a project to put some shade areas over the sandpit for a while now. A concept design for the sandpit area has now been reworked to fit the space, deal with the windy site, and comply with the building code.

At the same time it was also decided to have another new shelter designed to sit along the concrete block wall in the same playground area which will be a place to sit and have lunch and possibly also have outdoor classes. The idea is to have some shade from the sun and a place to sit out of the rain…when it is not raining horizontally!

It is also hoped that some of the art projects that will be happening around the school in the future will be able to be part of the shelter designs. At a later date we are looking at working on a possible mural along this concrete wall to tie in with the future seating design in the shelter.

The building consent was issued for the shelters this week. This process took some time as the school playground has been built partly on council land and while the school has been using that area for years (it used to be the site of the old swimming pool), getting this building consent to build in that area meant we needed to apply for an encroachment license as well as get permissions to build on council land.

The board is now discussing the pricing and while a start date of the work is not yet determined hopefully we will have some action on site soon.

Building developments

School representatives met with Ministry of Education staff during March and we now have the go ahead to undertake urgent repairs. There are two areas of the main school building that are included in this project work. Firstly the flat roof areas over part of Room 1 and the library will be replaced with a pitched roof. Secondly the junior area toilets will be upgraded. Both of these jobs require some investigation into the amount of damage that exists. Once this is done design work will be needed before we see any actual building. We have engaged Catalyst to oversee these two projects and they are underway with the design work already.

Charter Update

All schools are required to have a charter. The charter sets out the key areas a school board will focus on in both the short and long-term, this is the strategic direction for the board. The Ridgway School charter can be found in the board section of the website also housed here are the spending priorities that the board agreed for 2018.

Take the time to have a look at these, and if you have any questions please get in touch with us.

Tawatawa - Vogelmorn Bike Track

The first stage of our new bike track, the 400m asphalt track, is now constructed, and bikes and helmets have been purchased for our students to use during school hours. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the project so far, especially the parents from Ridgway and Brooklyn Schools who initiated this project and have worked hard to make it a reality. We are very pleased that our students and others from the wider community can now use this great facility.

The track's name, Tawatawa - Vogelman Bike Track, refers to the name of the ridge (Tawatawa ridge) which the school and field are located on and which runs from Brooklyn to Island Bay. The Tawatawa tree is in abundance on this ridge.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the fundraising campaign so far, especially the bike raffle and the recent movie night. We are currently fundraising for the next stage of the track, which is a skills area and pump track. There is a Givealittle fundraising page if you would like to make a contribution:

Proposed French Bilingual Unit at Ridgway School

What is it?

Ridgway School has been approached by a French-speaking community group to establish a French-English bilingual unit.

There is demand from the local French speaking community for a bilingual unit in Wellington. Auckland already has two schools which are running very successful French bilingual units and Christchurch has one. Anyone can attend the unit not just children from French speaking families (subject to some criteria).

Benefits to our school

Ridgway would have a more stable roll which benefits the school to maintain management units and for funding of our upcoming renovation projects. The other benefit would be the introduction of French language and culture to our students with the potential for French lessons for all students.

How would it run

The school would employ a New Zealand registered teacher who is bilingual in French and English. Those students who are part of the bilingual unit would learn the New Zealand Curriculum in French (60%) and join the rest of the school for classes in English (40%). The unit would be a composite class, like the other classes at Ridgway, made up of students of various year groups.

The Board is adamant that any proposal should not detract from the special ethos of the school or our ongoing commitment to te reo and tikanga Maori. In addition, Ridgway will continue to support the learning of other languages and cultures to reflect the increasing diversity of our society.

The bilingual unit would not take away resources from Ridgway school - any funding for resources and for the bilingual teacher which is not covered by MoE funds is provided by Frenz.

Consultation with Ridgway community

We want your thoughts on this proposal. There will be a detailed consultation with the school community early in Term 2. After this the school will weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision in July.

If this proposal goes ahead, it is anticipated it will be in place by the start of 2019.

In the meantime, please chat to the Board, Kathryn Smith or Julie Hanify if you have any questions.

We thank you all for your support over the past term, and a special thank you to all the Ridgway staff for their hard work and commitment. We hope your children have an enjoyable school holidays and we look forward to seeing you all back in Term 2.

Ridgway School Board of Trustees.

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