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Newtown School roll bounces back after quake risks losses

May 7th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest News, News

NEWTOWN School has bounced back after a roll decrease caused by earthquake worries in 2011.

About 30 students left after it was discovered that the main school building was below earthquake standards and had to be evacuated.

Since then, between 50 and 60 children, mostly new entrants, have started attending the school, says principal Rhys McKinley.

Mr McKinley had expected around a 10% to 20% decrease in the roll, which was 239 students at the time.

“It is the biggest roll in 15 years or so,” said Mr McKinley.

The students are putting up with prefab classrooms and lessons in the school hall until new rooms are finished next year.

Even with the lack of a main school building, the students are still progressing well with their studies.

In their 2011 ERO report it states that many students achieve at or above stage or age expectations in numeracy and literacy.

Mr McKinley has helped this by sending parents personal invitations to attend after school study sessions.

He says in the past, it has been difficult to get the parents of Pasifika children to go to after school study sessions with their children because of possible language barriers.

This has been remedied by having staff take ESOL lessons and allowing the parents to talk in their native language when discussing problems with their children’s learning.

“It is about engaging parents,” said Mr McKinley.

Another initiative which is working is the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) technique.

PB4L was created after a meeting in Wellington focusing on child behaviour in 2009, and focuses on teaching children proper behaviour to help their study.

One technique that PB4L uses is allowing children to come up with their own rules for each area of the school, with the rules focussing on what is right to do rather than what not to do.

If a student sees another student follow the rules, they write their name down on a piece of paper and place it in a container.

At the end of every week, a piece of paper is pulled from the container and the student with their name on it gets a reward.

Once the container, right, reaches one of three set points, there is a school wide reward which can range from going swimming at H20 Extreme, to having a movie night at the school.

Mr McKinley says cleaning staff do not enjoy movie night as they have to deal with the popcorn on the floor afterwards.


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is a Whitireia Journalism student covering the Newtown area of the Wellington region.
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