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Amesbury School

Amesbury Digest - 8th November 2021

Kia ora koutou,

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Thank you to the people so far who have provided feedback on our school charter, which sets out our school vision, priorities and goals for the next three years. Through my conversations with the Board of Trustees and our teaching team, and the feedback from parents thus far, it is clear that one of the strong features of Amesbury School, and perhaps all schools to a fair extent, is the amount of Amesbury-specific language we use. We have a lot of vocab in our charter that has particular meaning for us as a school, and having a shared understanding of this language can be very powerful. We will be creating an Amesbury glossary to sit as part of our charter, so that our community can easily understand the ideas sitting behind our school vision.

In this digest I want to explain a phrase that is central to our school vision of ‘a humanising education’. Our vision is to ensure a humanising education and for all children to ‘experience what it means to be fully human and to continually fulfill their potential’. For Amesbury School, we see a humanising education as one that acknowledges that there are particular ways of being human. These ways of being human include aspects such as:

- insiderness: understanding that each child is an insider in their own learning and knows themselves best as learners

- agency: to be able to make plans and carry those plans out

- uniqueness: understanding that each child is totally unique and has a unique contribution to make in the world that no-one else can make

- togetherness: understanding that humans need others in order to live well in and for the world

- personal journey: also understanding that while we need other people, we are also on our own journey and we need to know who we are as individuals and what we stand for

- sense-making: as humans we need to find ways to make sense of the world around us

- sense of place: we all need to have a place where we feel we belong, and where we connect with land and with others

- embodiment: having a strong sense of ourselves - our personality, our history, our whānau, our culture.

Our vision as a school is to work towards having all of these aspects of being human embedded into our learning programmes and into the way we operate as a school. We look to view tamariki as full human beings, not as ‘human becomings’ who have not yet grown into full human beings. This means not viewing our tamariki as ‘less than’ adults, but rather seeing them as people who have their own voice and their own unique understandings of what it means to be themselves and of who they are. They will then continue to develop this sense of themselves in the world as they continue to grow and develop.

Creating a humanising education at Amesbury School is a continual work in progress. We don’t claim to be there yet, and I don’t know that we would ever claim this - there is always more we can do. However, at the moment this looks like viewing our tamariki as individuals, as people with their own voices and ideas. It is about ensuring that their feedback and ideas are asked for, listened to and acted upon. It is about trusting that our ākonga know themselves as learners, whilst also looking to guide them and keep growing their knowledge of themselves as continual learners. Being fully human means that we understand that our tamariki are all unique and need different approaches and different ways of learning and understanding the world. We don't look to have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning. How we approach each student depends on the context, their needs and the approach that best fits in the given situation. What this all looks like in action is a continual journey for us. We know that we do not always get it right, but our school vision means we are continually reflecting on our practice and reaching towards our vision.

As a team this vision is a very powerful and meaningful goal, and it is one that continually drives us. It is good to be able to share our understanding of this with you, and we will look to continue to share aspects of our school vision and our learning philosophy with you, particularly focusing on what this looks like in action.

Ngā mihi 

Urs Cunningham


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