The ‘Best You Can Be’ Programme
Our school has a very strong emphasis on being the (absolute) best that you can be. We have a full school assembly every Monday morning in which we talk about one of the four areas of the programme – Best Respect, You Co-operate, Can Lead and Be Excellent; and what sorts of things we should be doing to achieve the goals in each of these four areas.
The children are also awarded certificates at the Friday student-led assemblies for positive behaviour and achievements in their learning.
At the end of each term, all children are assessed on how well they have achieved the goals for the term and are awarded a certificate to celebrate their success. If they have four certificates at the end of the year, then they receive a badge which they can then wear on their school hats. As an added incentive they can achieve at a bronze, silver or gold level.
This programme is a great way of encouraging the development of desirable values and attitudes and our children are wonderful examples of the success of the programme.
The renowned Leigh School Kapa Haka group was established in 2010 by one of our school parents, Jake Tahitahi. Everyone at the school participates in the weekly practices and additionally, those that choose to, can extend their abilities further by becoming part of our Performance Group – ‘Te Whanau o Omaha’. This group participates in the annual Kaipara Festival at Rodney College as well as performing at a variety of other venues throughout the year. These include the famous Leigh Carnival, the Leigh Fishing Competition, the Leigh Anzac Day Memorial Service, Leigh Church Christmas Pageant, the Matakana Farmers Market & Christmas Market etc. The rōpū (group) includes some of the Leigh Community Pre-School cuties as well.
We have been very lucky to have secured a new kapa haka tutor Danyelle Nathan (Ngāti Whātua, Tainui, Ngāti Porou, Ngā Puhi) to work with our tamariki. Following on from our former much loved tutor Whaea Vikki Demant’s role, Danyelle will be travelling up to Leigh twice a term to teach new waiata and polish up the rōpū before performances, as well as accompanying them to public performances. Danyelle is currently doing a 4 week intensive block to teach the tamariki a set of new original songs including himene, waiata-a-ringa and haka.
Whaea Danyelle also works teaching Kapa Haka at Whangaparoa College (and recently coached them up to perform at the Auckland Polyfest for the first time ever). She is also a Te Reo Māori tutor for adults at Te Herenga Waka o Orewa Marae.
The contact for our ‘Te Whanau o Omaha’ Kapa Haka group, if you wish to inquire about a performance or have another question, is Sarah Calder.
Te Reo Māori
Our commitment to Leigh School children learning Te Reo is strong! We have had Te Reo tutors teaching our tamariki (children) weekly, consistently over the last 5+ years.
In the past we’ve been lucky enough to have had staff from the local Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust coming in to take Te Reo lessons with the rangatahi (children) across all classes.
We are happy to announce that local Leigh community member Lili Crockett (Ngai Tūhoe, Ngati Kahungunu) started in Term 2, 2017 as our new tutor. She is doing weekly sessions with each class.
For a small school, Leigh is blessed with a really good amount of IT equipment.
In 2015 the school implemented an amazing NZ designed online management programme called Hapara. It allows the teacher to have a ‘dashboard’ that gives them access and the ability to manage all of the students work and online activity. It also means that the children can log in to their work from home and parents will be able to view their individual child’s work.
We have one device available for each child in our middle and senior classes. The junior class has 2 brand new iPads as well as a number of older ones. Each class has a TV.
The range of technology is used in a variety of ways to engage the children in their learning. For example learning apps – e.g. maths and spelling games are used by the Junior classes. The older children use IT to research topics they are studying, create presentations etc.
As a school we are excited to move forward as we learn how best to utilise technology to increase our students learning, but we aim to always ensure that our kids spend a lot of time outdoors and learning in a broad range of other ways too.
The teachers at Leigh School are very artistically talented. We have decided that in order to make the best use of these special talents we would each take responsibility for a different area of the Arts curriculum. For example – Ms Waterhouse (a former Graphic Designer), takes visual art and Ms Turner takes music. The children are divided into four groups and the each group has a block of eight to ten weeks working in two areas of the Arts programme. When we have finished our block, we have a performance to share with the parents the work that we have covered over the term.
We also have visiting arts practitioners come in to the school to perform dance, theatre, take musical workshops etc. Over the last 3 years we have had famous local choreographer Ann Dewey teaching contemporary dance, and she will be joining us again later this year for our arts programme.
Finally – lots of volunteers from our awesome local community do come in and work with our kids too.
We have specialist Sport North Harbour coaches who come in to deliver specific sessions (e.g. Basketball) and otherwise the teachers cover Physical Education.
Our Rippa Rugby is coached by (Mahurangi Football Club Chairman) Ian Bradnam. We have a mixed age team that can include kids from Year 3 – 6, and is made up of both girls and boys. They practice at lunchtimes and play at three tournaments during the year. If they make it to the finals (which they have done in the past!), they get to play a curtain-raiser game at the North Harbour Stadium.
Additionally, our teachers and parents are actively involved with other seasonal sports including Hockey (which we have 2 excellent school teams), coaching Soccer (our kids join the Matakana School teams) etc.
In 2016 we put together a team of Year 5&6 students for the Maharangi Junior Basketball League. This was managed by teacher Rachel Waterhouse and coached by local teen Alex Calder.
Our hockey team is managed by Peter Browne.
We have an excellent piano / keyboard teacher Barbara Hamilton. Barbara is a professional musician who lives in Matheson Bay. She has been a music teacher for more than 40 years and used to be in the Auckland Symphony Orchestra playing the double bass. She is a current member of the group Matakantata and performs with them regularly. Barbara predominantly teaches Keyboard and Piano at Leigh School, but is happy to give Double Bass lessons if your child has access to their own instrument.
Special Needs / Gifted and Talented
Occasionally we have children who need a little extra support to help them to get to where they should be in their learning. We have Fiona Napier & Liz Brown who are our excellent Teacher Aides who work closely with our teachers to implement these programmes and support children’s learning either in or out of the classroom. Additionally, we run Accelerated Literacy Learning programmes in 10 week blocks for students who may need extra help. These are run by the teacher best suited to the curriculum area with the Principal relieving their classes during this time.
We also often have children who are achieving well above the standards in all areas of the curriculum. The majority of their needs are addressed within the classroom through individual student agency – where the children work at their own level with support from their teacher. In addition, if we need to further challenge and extend these students, we have a range of strategies in place that we can utilise. For example:
- Differentiated teaching – catering for all learning needs in the classroom
- Opportunities to participate in additional individual or group activities e.g.Kapa Haka, drama, guitar lessons, piano lessons etc
- Opportunities to participate in inter-school events including sports
- Problem solving or challenge activities like ‘Webquest’ ‘Future Problem Solving’ or ‘Crest’
- Withdrawal from class to work in an extension group
- Unit study extension activities e.g. higher order thinking, Inquiry (independent) learning
- Competitions, national or international testing e.g. Mathex, ICAS, Lit Quiz.
Being a competent swimmer is essential in a coastal based region like Leigh, so we do a lot of swimming throughout the summer season (and have a solar cover for our pool to extend the swimming season). Our kids are great swimmers and always do really well in the inter-school competitions held in term one each year.