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 Open letter to parents

RE: Y4 - Y8 programmes

Dear parents

As a school we actively seek, and receive a lot of feedback from parents and members of the community about what we are doing well and areas we could improve in.

We recently received a letter from 1 parent that we wanted to reply to in an open way, so all parents were able to see our response to the concerns raised.

There appears to be a perception among a few parents that the Year 4-8s are able to watch Youtube clips at school.  The only time children are allowed to watch Youtube is when it is being used as part of a lesson (for example a clip from Kahn Academy in maths). Children are not going on Youtube at any other time of the day.  Occasionally there are optional lessons that children can access from home and these may include educational Youtube clips.

There is a perception among a few parents that the Year 4-8s do not have books in our classrooms.  There are fully stocked bookshelves in every home room area in our school.  Each term we receive a fresh set of books from the National Library. This term these books were a mixture of quality picture books, novels and a range of other books to engage readers.  Children are able to read these books at their leisure.

All our home groups visit our school library once a week.  They are encouraged to return and get out new books and they are expected to have a book 'on the go' at school all the time. Our Year 7 and 8s go off to the city library every second week to get books out and hear a library talk from a librarian. Children are allowed to go to our school library during any break time to read or issue books to read at another time.  

There is a perception among a few parents that the Year 4-8s do a lot of reading on a device.  The Year 5-8s have recently undertaken a novel study. It was difficult to access all the books that the students needed so some students chose to access these on the Wellington City Library website through Overdrive or through our e-library on our website.  Technology is providing our students with greater access than ever before to great literature that they may not have been able to get their hands on in the past.

There is a perception among a few parents that the Year 4-8 teachers don’t teach reading comprehension.  We run the SHARP reading programme at our school, and this actually has a strong comprehension focus. The SHARP reading programme is based on sound research and has been shown to be highly effective at improving children’s reading comprehension ability.  We don’t just want to keep children busy with reading follow up activities that have questionable benefits, instead we aim to ensure that their learning time is purposeful at every time of the day.

Our children achieve success in many ways every day both within the standard curriculum areas such as maths, reading and writing as well as participating in many activities that sit outside the traditional curriculum.  Extra-curricular activities that we are involved in as a school include philosophy, chess club and chess tournament, city visas for Year 7 and 8s, Artsplash, Dancesplash, Jump Jam, Kids' Lit Quiz, Tournament of Minds, Art Exhibition (Term 3 this year) Enviroschool activities and trips, City Gallery trips, camps, Ridgway's Got Talent, netball, miniball, basketball, electives (with badminton, ASB sports trips), coding, robotics....

When we receive feedback and opinions from parents we take these seriously and work as a team to establish what the valid concerns are and then we work hard to resolve these.  If you’ve got questions, we encourage you to ask us to explain what we are doing, and why we are doing it.

Yours sincerely

Ridgway School Senior Leadership Team

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