Kia ora koutou,
An important milestone has been reached for our teacher aides across the country, with more than 22,000 teachers aides, most of whom are women, winning pay equity with male-dominated roles of similar value. We are so very pleased that this decision has been made, and recognition given to this very valuable role. This is a perfect time to celebrate our very fabulous Navy, who does so much in a very quiet and unassuming way for staff and students at Amesbury School. Navy Ny is our incredible teacher aide; she works with students across the school who need some additional support, and is a central person in our current phonics programme with small groups of students. She also completes valuable work in the office and admin area, and creates wonderful morning teas for the whole staff each Friday. Navy is out on road crossing duty come rain, hail or shine four days a week (thank you Mary Jane for the fifth day!), and she is unfailingly cheerful and kind, even when soaking wet from downpours! She keeps us all in line when it comes to keeping the commons (staff area) clean and tidy, and we miss her terribly when she is not around. Navy, and the many other wonderful teacher aides in all of our schools, very much deserve this recognition and pay equity.
As we move into our third week of level 2 back at school, it is very pleasing to note that almost all of our students have now returned or will be returning this week. There is a very buzzy feel at school, and it is so nice to see students connecting with friends, getting out on their bikes and scooters, and making the most of being out and about in the school grounds. Having our co-curricular lessons resume last week was one more step towards normality, and led to further buzz around the place. A number of parents and teachers have also commented on how good it is to see the levels of independence increasing with our students through our recent necessary change in dropping children off at the edge of school grounds. Our younger students are coming into school by themselves and showing more confidence in doing some of the basic tasks such as putting bags away and signing in by themselves.
Our teams are remaining very diligent about hand washing and sanitising, and students are also very mindful of these routines. I tied the shoelace of a young student recently and he very seriously reminded me to wash my hands afterwards as he ran off - fantastic (and a useful reminder)!
Safe driving and parking
One area where we are still experiencing some issues, is in our safety for students at drop off and pick up times. Whilst many people are making a great effort to either walk or use safe parking habits by parking a little way from school and walking the last little way, we do still have some areas of considerable concern. We are very worried for the safety of our students, and we are also concerned about the lack of respect and consideration being shown for our closest neighbours.
Below is a reminder of some key expectations and considerations. If a whānau member or caregiver picks up your child, it is important that you ensure you have clearly passed on this information to them:
*Amesbury Drive: the yellow lines on both sides of Amesbury Drive are not parking spaces or drop off areas. They must be kept clear at all times. They are currently being used with regularity as a drop off zone, and this is neither safe nor appropriate. It is also not acceptable to park across any part of a driveway.
*Romaine Road: It is not appropriate or legal to park across any part of people’s driveways. The grassy verge on one side of the road is also not a parking area. In order for the road to be safe and clear for cars and young children, the grassy side of the road must be kept clear. There is no parking on any pavement - this is unsafe and very inconsiderate of children and adults using the pathway, especially people with wheelchairs, mobility scooters or buggies. This road is particulalry tight for cars, and the safest option is to park further away and walk down the road or have your child/ren walk up to meet you. Even having just one or two cars trying to turn around at the bottom of Romaine Road means cars need to go up onto pavements or into driveways to turn around, making it very unsafe for young children who are not always easily seen.
*Crossing Amesbury Drive: There is a zebra crossing that is patrolled by an adult (either the wonderful Navy or the fabulous Mary Jane) from 8:30 - 9am, and 2:50-3:15pm every day. This crossing is the safest place to cross near to school. We ask that no adults or children cross the road opposite the school or near to Erlestoke Crescent, as this is very unsafe for children. Adults may be able to see over the tops of parked cars, but children can’t. Children copy what they see adults doing, so please take the extra minute to walk down to the safe patrolled crossing.
* Rainy days: It is a clear pattern that driving, parking and crossing behaviours around school are all poorer and less safe when it is raining. People are more likely to be in a rush and are more determined to park very close to school, to avoid family members getting wet. However, rainy days are when we need to be even safer than usual, given that visibility is low and stopping distances are greater on wet roads. We understand that people want to stay as dry as possible, but it is better to be a little wet and stay safe and alive, than to risk an accident. Please take extra care to leave all non-parking spaces free at all times, drive slowly and carefully, and cross at the school crossing. If you are still able to walk to school, please do so.
Thank you to you all for being mindful of all children at our school. Their safety is all of our concern, and we all need to do our bit to ensure it.
Events coming up:
Board of Trustees meeting: school library on Wednesday 3rd June at 5:30pm. Main items on the agenda: Start of our BoT self review; finances for April 2020; several policies up for review: Code of Ethics for BoT // BoT meeting protocols.
Four Year Old Programme starts back up on Thursday 4th June
We hope your long weekend has gone well - a much needed break after the long rāhui! Have a lovely (short) week.
Ngā mihi nui,
John Bunting (BoT Chairperson) and Urs Cunningham (Acting Principal)