Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

“At St Mary’s: Students …. Learn in a positive and encouraging environment”. 

“Teachers know their students’ learning needs very well and plan programmes to develop them into well rounded citizens”.

“Students in Year Seven and Eight have valuable leadership opportunities, including being positive role models and whanau leaders”.  “Students learn in settled classrooms”. “All students showed high levels of interest and motivation in their learning”  - ERO Review 2012.

 While it is always nice to read good feedback about your school when this feedback came from the Education review Office in a formal review then it is pleasing. The above are just a sample of the pleasing feedback that we received after the ERO March visit.  (The full review can be found on their website).

 The challenge that schools face in this new age of National Standards is to ensure that our pupils receive an excellent grounding in the basic skills (reading, writing and mathematics) but that they are also exposed to a broad curriculum that caters holistically to their individual strengths.  The fact that the ERO team stated “Teachers know their students learning needs very well and plan programmes to develop them into well rounded citizens”, is high praise indeed.

 Recently my son was invited to consider studying the International Baccalaureate syllabus in Years 12 and 13.  The presentation highlighted many positives for the IB syllabus, but to me the aspect that I found most interesting was the holistic nature of the syllabus.  It catered to the whole person and not just the academic.  This is a highly thought of prestigious international qualification that opens the door to the great universities of the world and it’s greatest perceived strength is vthat it caters to the whole person, which is inherent in our New Zealand curriculum.  A curriculum that the ERO team stated “is well implemented to promote and encourage students learning”.

So well done to the teachers and Board for achieving such a great result.

 Recently in conjunction with the first round of school interviews I have been talking to the parents of our Year Six pupils about the opportunities that they can expect in our Year Seven & Eight class.  This was a great opportunity to engage in positive dialogue and I was thrilled with the positive feedback and loyalty that I was privy to.

The large number of Year Six pupils who will be returning to complete their primary education at St Mary’s was very affirming (and while I still have a couple of families to talk with) no one has confirmed that they will be leaving us—a great outlook for our future.


Have a great week

Mike Brosnahan

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