Background Since the earthquakes in 2010/11 we have had many meetings, and visits from engineers and Ministry of Education Property Managers to discuss the state, and the future, of our school buildings. At the beginning of 2017 we began the big job of writing our Education Brief based on the dreams and ideas we gained from several community consultations, staff and BOT. Some of the parents that participated in the community consultations are no longer at our school as their children have moved on to intermediate and we appreciate that some of you were not involved in the process. We worked with Grow Waitaha to provide a summary of the best possible scenarios for our school moving into the future. Maata, Jared and Marriene are very proud of the work they have done and very thankful for the assistance we had from Suzy Gould who was our Grow Waitaha Navigator. She too has family ties to our school, so it was a joy to have her input, knowing she has a vested interest here too.
Our Education Brief was commended as one of the best that has been presented and this year the Ministry of Education appointed Team Architects to translate our Education Brief into designs and plans. Parents and staff talked about the pool, playground, outside environment and gardens, community involvement and school school values. The overriding theme was the quality of the teachers and the importance of the impact that they have on our children. All of that information was fed into a document called the Education Brief which was sent to the Ministry of Education, Grow Waitaha and eventually the architect charged with making those ideas into a physical plan for our school. “Grow Waitaha is a programme that supports schools through the process of change happening in Canterbury.The goal of Grow Waitaha is to assist schools to achieve pedagogical change in a meaningful and manageable way, with a network of support, and to put learners at the centre of that change.” During those years the ministry plan was to refurbish the existing buildings. The board has consistently presented arguments about the feasibility of this proposal and has always fought for the very best for our students, teachers and community.
While we had no say in the selection process of the architects, we are thrilled that the head of the company has been a board member of one of our Kahukura Schools and the architect we work with is a parent in a local school that has just been rebuilt.
So much has happened in 18 months and we are pleased that we are now able to share some drawings and ideas with you.
You will recall that the Minister for Education announced a few months ago that West Spreydon School was getting three new roll growth classrooms. This is the link to that announcement. HERE What we couldn't announce at that time was that the Ministry of Education has also agreed to a total rebuild of our teaching spaces and the refurbishment of the administration block. That means 14 new teaching spaces for the immediate future, with more to come as the long term plan unfolds.
Many meetings later we have been able to ensure that key points in our Education Brief have been addressed by the architects. We are onto drawing number four and counting. Despite the glitches and rejections from the independent review panel we are getting back on track and we are very excited about showing you some concept drawings so you have an idea of what the future might look like for West Spreydon School.
We have thought deeply about how these teaching spaces can enhance learning experiences for our teachers and children. We have had four years as part of an international contract with Michael Fullan, along with our Kahukura colleagues to gain a good understanding of what effective teaching looks like. We start with the pedagogy and then look at buildings.There will be no compromise on this. Hand in hand with this , is the work we have implemented on attachment and developmental theory so we never lose sight of the importance of the teacher’s relationship with the child. This places us in a strong position to take deeply researched teaching methodology into new spaces. This is a huge advantage that we have over other schools, as many had their buildings before they had time to dig deeply into teacher practice and what works for children.
Our school will have shared teaching spaces with a kitchen/science benches/ wet area attached to each teaching space, and ability to isolate areas and expand as required for different teaching. Each of those “making spaces” will open into a covered outdoor area. That’s exactly what we asked for.The buildings will open into shared outdoor areas and possibly two courts. The buildings are being constructed to allow as much flexibility as possible for the demands of 21 century learners.
The end product will also give us a beautiful library/community space, offices, meeting rooms, outside amphitheatre, and teacher work spaces. There will be breakout rooms in the learning spaces so the children can always be a part of the learning too, but can be withdrawn to a smaller group for special or additional instruction.
The concept drawings acknowledge the importance of the pool, community hangi area and playground.There are staged plans covering 20 years of development. A lot of rebuild will be done in stage one, hopefully within a year of starting the building process.
The board has been champing at the bit to share the concepts with you. Now we are able to. At long last we can see the prospect of lovely buildings to match our beautiful environment, which will serve the needs of generations of children to come through the doors of our school. There are challenges to overcome. Some of them are biggies and will pull us back to our core values and beliefs, or make us rethink what we once took for granted. Some questions we don’t have the answers to yet: When do we start? What’s the timeline? Where do we go when the rebuild is happening? ( Can we stay on site or do we decant?) What will the inside colours, furniture and configuration look like? What’s the long term concept? We want a sense of community and ownership as we face this huge project together. Once again drawing from our shared sense of Attitude, Adventure and Achievement, to create a school facilities that are important part of our local community, its history and its future. Thanks in advance for your insight and support for this next chapter in our story.
We are planning two meetings at the start of 2019 in the school hall where we invite you to share your feedback and comments. We would love you to email your ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can prepare responses to your feedback and questions ahead of time.