The Foundations of a Quality School

The philosophy and principles that are the foundations for the creation of a successful school committed to children and to the provision or quality educational programmes.

Academic excellence
The core purpose of a school is to foster academic excellence such that each pupil can achieve to the best of their ability. This school strives for academic excellence both individually and collectively.

The aims of this school are inherent in our systems, our philosophy and our approach. They are contained specifically in our charter and vision. Basically our aim is that each child should achieve to their maximum potential.

Annual plan
Each year we develop an annual plan detailing the key events of the year and the curriculum coverage, outline of professional development etc. This is a broad stroke picture or outline of the year.

Things to avoid include:
– Excuses
– Pettiness
– Associating with negative people – life is too short to waste with whiners, complainers and drainers

“you get from others what you expect, demand and model”

Balanced curriculum
This school takes pride in ensuring balanced coverage of the state curriculum and within each curriculum, balanced coverage of the strands. Additionally, we provide balanced coverage of extension areas and also in meeting the needs of children in physical, social and emotional areas.

The argument over emphasis on the “basics” and the recent concentration on numeracy and literacy was a non-event for this school because we never left them. From our original Charter, our main community goal was an emphasis on the academic basics.

Best practice
We are consistently involved in whole school professional development, engage in professional reading and participate in professional and curriculum bodies to identify and develop best practice in all areas of the curriculum.

Ceremony & celebration
It is important for organizations to have structure, ceremony and celebration. We celebrate our school successes in various ways and have ceremonies, which are part of our school tradition – Poetry Competitions, Speech Competitions, Essay Contests, Sports Day, Cross Country, Concert, Picnic, Helpers Morning tea and Prizegiving.

An important part of success at school and improved achievement is facing and succeeding at challenge. An integral part of our classroom, sports, cultural, outreach and G.A.T.E programmes, is giving children opportunity to successfully face challenge.

Child Centered
Matipo is a child centered school. We advocate strongly for children. We individualize instruction as far as possible and have regard for individual learning styles. We provide a strong and extensive education for children. We are here for children.

Child Protection
We have a number of systems in place to protect children and to be proactive in assisting children. We use a behaviour monitoring system, Touch Base, Public Health Nurse, Pacifika Health, Counsellor, Youth Aid and a school Lawyer to help and protect our pupils.

This is a major focus of our school. We demonstrate a strong commitment to children and their learning. A strong commitment by staff to the school, the children, to improvement and to their own personal development is encouraged and fostered.

In any organization, this is vital. We have excellent communication systems including annual, termly, weekly and daily to staff and a weekly newsletter to parents. Various other notices and -Help Your Child- newsletters are also sent home. We offer open access to the school and twice yearly interviews and reports are done. We also offer curriculum support meetings and a range of parent help options.

Our disciplinary approach is proactive as far as possible. We have lots of programmes and activities in place for children. However, when children do transgress it is important for them to know that there is a consistent system of consequences in place. If they do something wrong, there will be a consequence.

Core Purpose
The core purpose of this school is to meet the needs of our pupils to the best of our ability and to foster academic excellence and discipline. We foster self discipline and strong personal values in children and encourage them to aim high.

– Academic Excellence
– Discipline
– Improved Pupil Achievement

Curriculum Extension
We offer a number of opportunities for curriculum extension, for challenge and for broadening the scope of a child’s education, by attending this school. The range is broad and includes sports, culture, music, social and language opportunities.

Our approach is to be proactive rather then reactive. We have a number of progammes and systems in place to promote proactive measures. Being well planned and prepared as teachers, having strong expectations and consequences and treating children in a fair, consistent and dignified way are the ingredients of our strong success in this area.

Nothing comes easy. Success comes in small pieces. We need as teachers to keep chipping away, to refining, to improving our teaching and to make endurance part or our commitment to children. If children -don-t get it- then we need to break down the learning task and keep enduring until the child does “get it”.

It is critical that children enjoy school. Our programmes need to be enjoyable, interesting, relevant and presented with flair. We need plenty of things for children to do and plenty of things to look forward to. We need to provide opportunity for all our pupils to experience success. We also provide fun days for children and fun activities through our Outreach Programme.

A major factor in improving achievement and in behaviour management is expectation. All staff are encouraged to have the highest possible expectations of every single child. It is indefensible to have a pre-determined expectation of failure. If children are not achieving, then staff need to look at themselves first.

“Race, home circumstances and poverty are poor excuses for low expectations.”

We need to have faith in our systems, our leadership and our instincts. As teachers we need to have faith in ourselves, our colleagues, our children and our mission.

Matipo School has a lot of formality. It is part of our emphasis on structure and routine. It provides predictability to both staff and pupils. There is safety in formality. Our treatment of children, our expectations, our planning and preparation are all very formal and ordered. Our formality is the basis of our success.

General Goals
1. To provide the best environment, equipment and materials to enable children to learn.
2. To provide a balanced curriculum with variety, enrichment, encouragement and challenge to meet the needs of all pupils.
3. To provide all children with opportunities for success and enjoyment.
4. To develop self-esteem, social and cultural awareness in children – self-discipline, manners, tolerance, respect and co-operation.
5. To encourage community support and involvement in the school.

Improved Learning and Teaching
We have an absolute commitment to improved learning and teaching. The key to improvements in learning achievement of children is the quality of teachers and teaching. If we improve teaching outcomes we will improve learning outcomes. Our Matipo Achievement Project is a simple means of improving our teaching and learning.

We try and be as inclusive as possible in our teaching of children. All children are treated with dignity and respect. We try hard to include all children having equity and access to the full range of school resources and programmes. We spend a lot of money to support inclusiveness in our special programme assistance.

Because of our commitment to continual professional development and to best practice, we also have a commitment to innovation. We trial new approaches, methods and resources. We have been a pioneer in the areas of ICT, Child Management and our Value Added Programmes. We promote our own research and in 2001 are involved in a Spelling Resource trial and a Reading Resource trial by the University of Auckland. We have led a number of district, regional and national initiatives.

Leadership is the most critical factor in school improvement and learning improvement. A leader must lead. The leader needs to stimulate and provide the vision, the energy, the ideas, to take risks and to advocate strongly for the best possible resources and finances. The leader must be the “leading learner leading learning”. The leader has to keep abreast of curriculum and methodology developments, read widely, network strongly and make a strong commitment to their own on-going professional development and to be clear that their first role in the school is to be the -instructional leader.- A leader must be able to make decisions.

Learning Styles
In this school we accept that children learn in different ways and also that variety of material and methodology is important. We engage in whole class, group, paired and individual instruction. While a lot of learning is linguistically based, we are also aware that some children do well in other learning areas and we try and provide opportunities for this to take place.

Teachers are also performers. The classroom is also a stage. Each day we need to perform for children. We need to inject passion, humour and enjoyment into our teaching. We need to enthuse children for learning. We need to inject magic into our learning. At times we will act as if we are angry, sad, excited and over the moon. Children must enjoy school and enjoy their learning.

Formal, focused, teacher directed, instructional learning with variety of material and approach is the basis of our methodology. There is an expectation of good planning and preparation, varied and interesting programmes, opportunities for challenge and success and emphasis on high expectation, presentation and output. There is no “one way”. The “way” is anything that works.

do whatever it takes.

Mission Statement
The purpose of Matipo School is to educate the children of our community to the best of our ability. We do this in a positive, caring, learning environment and aim to develop the whole child – physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and culturally. Children are seen as individuals and we aim; that each child may grow to be the best person that they can be; and that they may help others to do the same.

Teacher’s dress, deportment, punctuality, care, attitude, language, expectation and enthusiasm are powerful and significant models to children. What you give out, you’ll get back.

The staff and principal work with the Board and community for the betterment of the school while not losing sight of the core purpose of the school. Parental involvement and communication is encouraged. We have a number of joint Board / Staff / Parent Sub Committees and working groups which give concrete expression of partnership.

Teachers need to have passion for teaching, for children and for subjects. They need to enthuse children with their passion. If teachers are passionate about reading, then so will their children.

Planning and Preparation
Our planning requirements are quite formal. Teachers are expected to be well planned and prepared in advance – long term planning, unit plans, weekly planning book. Good planning equates with good management, good teaching and “good” learning.

Positive Feedback
Another factor in raising achievement is for children to get positive feedback of their work. If the marking of work in cursory or non-existent, then very soon, so will be the effort. All children-s work must be marked and wherever possible, commented upon.

It is expected that staff should focus in all aspects on the positive rather then the negative, on what is possible rather than not possible and on how to make something work rather than why it won-t work.

Prime Time Teaching
Wherever possible, the 9.00 – 12.30pm timeslot should be the prime time teaching slot for the core academic subjects. The sports and cultural subjects should occur in the afternoons. Both common sense as well as research, supports this concept.

We try to be proactive rather than reactive. We engage in early identification of children with academic and behaviourial needs and have many programmes in place to try and eliminate problems before they occur.

Professional Development
Our professional development programme is a feature of the school. Having looked at many models, the best model is whole school, task oriented, purposeful professional development. We also have a professional reading component and staff are encouraged to develop self reflective and self reviewing processes.

All staff are expected to act in a professional manner towards their children, colleagues, parents and others. Normal conventions of teaching behaviour should be observed as a matter or course. Respect and adherence to the school corporate, its governance, leadership, policies and practices is mandatory. Professional ethics should be adhered to in all aspects of school life.

Another factor is raising pupil achievement is for children to understand the purpose of learning. If they understand the purpose of each unit and of each lesson then it will have more relevance. Relevance is a motivating factor of learning.

We are a quality school in the breadth and depth of our curriculum coverage, our values, standards and expectations. Children at the school receive a quality education and we try and do everything in a professional and quality driven manner.

Risk Taking
Part of progressive organizations and of leadership is risk taking. This is part of being proactive, of advocacy and of being innovative. We need to push the boundaries and take risks in advancing learning and the school.

Strong routines are a feature of the school. These give children certainty, predictability and security.

Self Review
We have a strong process of self review of systems, policies, curriculum areas and of teaching review. Teachers are encouraged to take part in a continual self review and self reflection system. From our formal self reviews we engage in a process of continual improvement.

Sequential Learning
Children learn sequentially and we need to have regard to both the stages of learning ie: concrete, abstract etc, and to the sequence of learning eg: oracy comes before written. Within a learning task it may be necessary to do a task analysis of the learning and present it in a smaller sequence of learning tasks.

We aspire to have the highest standard of behaviour, attainment, presentation and output. Having high standards and values is an integral part of the school.

Strategic Plan
The school is required to have a strategic plan. It outlines in broad terms our goals and objectives based on the National Achievement Goals and anticipated projects and developments for a 3 year period. It also outlines our review process.

This school has strong structures and our foundations are firmly embedded in structure, routine and predictability. Such structures and routines are well established, well communicated and well practiced.

All children at this school must have opportunity to experience success. They should experience success in the classroom, in the playground and in our various extension and added value options. We should acknowledge their success as much as possible and also celebrate and acknowledge school successes. Our emphasis must always be on the positive.

This school is about teaching and learning. Teaching is about transforming children-s lives. It is about giving them challenge, learning, knowledge, routine, structure, order, predictability, consistency, discipline, consequence, guidance, reward, hope, fun, laughter, love, respect, and a future.

We must prepare children for the future. They already live in a world full of technology and this is increasing and expanding daily. We need to equip our children with the skills and processes necessary to utilize the technology available to them and to enable then to enhance their learning by access to the information technology tools available.

Our school values are widely disseminated, displayed and practiced. We include value teaching in our assemblies and in our social studies programmes and in our treatment of children.