Amesbury School


Kia ora koutou,

It is hard to believe that we are already heading into week 4 of the final, and short, term of the year. How can it be November already! 

We sadly said goodbye to Steph on Friday, who will be spending time with family before heading back over to the UK. We have very much enjoyed and appreciated having Steph back with us as a valued member of our team, and we wish her and Liam all the very best on their onward journey. On Wednesday afternoon staff welcomed Angela Johnston back to the team, although it feels as though she never really left! Angela was part of our foundation leadership team, working with myself and Lesley throughout the first eight years of our school’s journey. She has continued to work with us at times, through her eTap work (our current student management system), and she has also worked with us as a consultant, using her strong junior literacy expertise to create resources for supporting young readers and writers. She joined the Koru team on Wednesday last week for their planning meeting, and worked with Steph on a handover of information about her groups. Angela will now join the Koru team and take over Steph’s groups for the remainder of this year; we warmly welcome her back to the Amesbury whānau.

Looking ahead to 2021

It’s a busy time of time for schools at the moment, as we look to finish the year well, alongside looking ahead to next year. Lesley has communicated with you recently regarding our current school review process, which is focusing on five key learning aspects: personalising learning; real world, authentic contexts for learning; high expectations; student agency & self-directedness; and team teaching & collaboration.

As part of this review, we have spent a number of sessions working with teachers to explore these aspects and review what we feel we are doing well, and what we now need to focus on. We have collected feedback from Harakeke and Pōhutukawa students around their wellbeing and engagement at school, through surveys with all students and further small group discussions with some. Demelza and I will also be working with students next week to gain further feedback around the five key learning aspects from the review.

We have recently spent several days completing close, in-depth observations of all teams, and we are currently completing a very interesting review of a small group of students from each team, chosen at random, tracking them from the information that teachers have about them, through the termly, weekly and daily planning of teachers to see how their learning is being designed and delivered, and how their needs are being met.

So far, this is all giving us a very detailed and useful view of what is happening for our students. This review will continue for another couple of weeks. On November 10th we are holding two feedback sessions with parents, where we will gather your views of those key learning areas. There is also a parent survey where you can contribute your ideas. See this article for further information; it would be great to have input from you into our approach and goals for next year. With this information, combined with all the other review information gathered, we will then create our annual charter goals for 2021.

Alongside this review process, we have also worked with students to gather their ideas and input into our three main inquiries for 2021. We will be completing three inquiries across the school year: Term 1 and part of term 2 will focus on ‘Living as me in the world’ (who am I and how can I live well in and for the world); the rest of term 2 and most of term 3 will look at ‘Living in the universe’ (exploring planet earth and beyond); the rest of term 3 and term 4 will then explore a design thinking approach to living well in and for in the world (identifying needs that people have, and designing or creating something that can fill this need). Demelza, Lisa and I spent a fabulous session exploring this with students and getting their ideas around the learning they would like to explore within these inquiries. Our Design of Learning team will now look at these inquiries in more depth, using and shaping the ideas from students into plans for our teams, with input and feedback from all teachers.

It is a very exciting process and one that will hopefully lead to strong outcomes for all students, and an exciting and productive year ahead.

Events coming up:

Year 0-2 Athletics Carnival - Tues 3rd Nov: at school from 9:30 - 12:30pm Link to article

- Board of Trustees meeting - Wed 4th Nov: school meeting room 5:30 - 7:30pm

- Northern Zone Athletics - Mon 9th Nov: for Y4-6 students who qualified from our school athletics day

- Parent feedback sessions - Tues 10th Nov: part of our school review. Link to article

Have a great week.

Ngā mihi nui,

Urs Cunningham (Acting Principal) 


  1. School Notices - 2 November 2020

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  2. Part time cleaner needed

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  3. Pohutukawa EOTC Week

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  7. Junior Athletics Carnival - Year 0-2 information

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  9. Issue 7 of Scholastic's Book Club is now available for online ordering.

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  10. Amesbury Speech Competition

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