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.
Kapa Haka & Te Reo Maori Learning
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 Friday 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 Service, the Matakana Farmers Market & Christmas Market, Leigh Church etc. The roopu (group) includes some of the Leigh Community Pre-School cuties as well.
Additionally in the past we have had staff from the local Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust coming in weekly to take Te Reo lessons with the rangatahi (children) across all classes. Over the last 5 years we have had a weekly Te Reo tutor visit our school and we are currently securing a new one with details to be confirmed as soon as possible. As you can tell, our commitment to Leigh School children learning Te Reo is high!
We have been very lucky to have renowned Kapa Haka tutor Whaea Vikki Demant also work with our children. She is a judge of the National Kapa Haka Competitions and a real expert who has been involved with Leigh School for a number of years. In 2014 she moved back to Auckland so travelled up twice a term to coach our school and fine tune them for special performances. We are currently securing a new kapa haka tutor for Whaea Vikki’s role as her city commitments have become too great for her to continue driving up to Leigh.
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.
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.
In addition to fundraising for IT through PTA efforts, we have been donated 8 Chromebooks which are used by the senior class, the senior class also has 6 iPads, an Apple TV and 11 Macbooks. The middle class has a TV connected to the classroom laptop, a number of new iPads to share and Chromebooks. The Junior class has 8 iPads.
The range of technology is used in a variety of ways to engage the children in their learning. For example learning apps – eg 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, so Ms Gibbings takes Drama, Ms Meharry (who is a practicing artist & also moonlights at the well known local gallery: The Vivian) and Ms Waterhouse (a former Graphic Designer), take 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. In 2014 & 2015 we had had famous local choreographer Ann Dewey teaching contemporary dance and we have the talented Lucy Duffield working on a theatre performance for the end of year assembly.
Finally – volunteers from our awesome local community do come in and work with our kids too.
We have an amazing instructor Tony Mordaunt who delivers expert sports coaching to our students. Each term Tony has a focus on a different sport. He’s a great coach and the children really enjoy his fun interactive lessons, and the way that he teaches them about sportsmanship, not just the actual sports. He has been a professional coach for 20 years and has worked all over the world including in England, Denmark, South Korea and Malaysia. Most recently Tony had the role of Development Manager for Badminton Oceania, and delivered coaching education courses for teachers and coaches across the entire Oceania region.
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 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 both an excellent piano / keyboard teacher Barbara Hamilton and a fantastic guitar / ukulele teacher Chris Carr who come in to Leigh School to work one on one with selected pupils.
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 have several children who are achieving well above the standards in all areas of the curriculum. To cater for the needs of these children we have a range of strategies in place that we utilise where required to challenge and extend these students. 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 are very lucky to have fully funded swimming lessons throughout summer with Ingrid Carter. Each child is eligible for 10 lessons, so we run these for 10 weeks. She teaches the kids survival skills in the water as well as swimming. Our kids are great swimmers and do well in the inter-school competitions held in term one each year.
Lucy Duffield teaches drama to individuals and groups of children. Over the years that she has been working at Leigh School, she has produced some amazing and very memorable plays which the children have performed at various times and venues throughout the year. Most often these appear on the programme of our annual Grandparents Day and the end of year Prizegiving. In 2014 her drama lessons will run for Terms 3 & 4.