Around the table

2015 update from Titirangi School's Board of Trustees

Welcome

As we near the end of the school year we would like to take this opportunity to update and inform you about the Board's work this year. It is a privilege to be a part of Titirangi Primary School which is a place that as trustees, parents, and staff, those of us that sit on the Board of Trustees have great confidence in our vision for the future. We believe the school strikes a balance between educational leadership and high achievement, and providing well-rounded opportunities for our amazing, unique kids. Some of the things we are really proud of include our reading, writing and maths results, which sit well above benchmark for a school of this type. Despite this, the leadership team continuously drive for improvement in learning. Outside of the classroom, every week you can read in our school newsletter about the great achievements of our children on the sports field and in cultural activities. Our PTA have done a sterling job of both bringing the community together this year and raising funds for school projects. But one of the most special aspects of Titirangi School is that we sit at the centre of a vibrant community, and we enjoy, thanks to a committed team of teachers who inquire into their professional practice, and a dedicated principal, senior leadership team, learning support and support staff, a place where children have a voice and grow as confident, self-directed learners who are encouraged to explore and fulfil their potential.


Thank you,


Zoe Hawkins

Chair

Titirangi School Board of Trustees

What is our role?

In very simple terms, the Ministry of Education entrusts the Board of Trustees with the overall governance of the school. The Board is a Crown entity that employs all staff in the school, set the school’s strategic direction, and ensures that the school provides a quality environment and education for our learners.


As a board, we are responsible for overseeing the management of:

  • Personnel
  • Curriculum
  • Property
  • Finance
  • Administration


We have two key tools for doing this: one is the Charter document which is agreed on each year between ourselves and the Ministry of Education. The other is our policies. We write the policies, and review them regularly in response to legislative changes and any changes of focus within the school.


Our Principal, Alan Jackson, who is also a member of the Board, is charged with implementing the policies, and, working with his staff, creating the procedures that flow from them. He runs the school on a day to day basis, and the selection of a Principal, and ongoing performance review, is another of our most critical roles.

Board Focuses in 2015

These projects have been significant undertakings for your Board of Trustees in the last school year:


Achieving financial sustainability

Achieving a sustainable budget has been a challenge and a target for your Board of Trustees. Our funding from the Ministry of Education provides for most but not all of the aspects of an education that our families expect for their children, and therefore careful management of spending, sound decision making, and contributions from families by way of voluntary donations, and fundraising activities are heavily relied on. We lifted our voluntary donation in 2015, to enable the school to continue to be able to deliver the excellence that parents in our community expect, and we thank all the families that have contributed.


Review of school policies

Thoroughly reviewing and redrafting school policies has been a major project for the board in 2015. Our policies are now up to date, and published on the school website.


Creation of master plan for Titirangi School property

The masterplan for Titirangi School's grounds, buildings and infrastructure looks ahead to the way the school will look in the future as it moves towards the Ministry of Education's vision for modern learning environments. With funding allocated by the Ministry to update and maintain our school grounds over five and ten year periods, and grant applications underway for specific projects it's important to ensure that all of the work that we do is contributing towards a shared long term vision. The board is working through a strategic plan for its land, buildings and assets that will inform the next five and ten year property plans which we submit to the Ministry of Education. We have recently reviewed the first draft of the plan and are excited about presenting it to the school in 2016.


Outdoor spaces

We now have a grant applications project underway to enable new developments. We are very keen to develop an outdoor adventure area on the bank between the lower and bottom fields. Thanks to Alan Jackson for leading this and former BOT member and chair Jody Kelly for assisting us with grant applications for this project, we are half way to being able to deliver the first component.


Communities of learning

Titirangi School is an active and founding member of the Kotuitui Network, a group of ten local schools that are fostering relationships and links for the benefit of our learners.


Technology in classrooms

Following the successful trial of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in Year 6, the board supported the teaching staff's request to trial BYOD in Year 5. Interestingly, several of us around the table have children in Year 5 in 2016, that will be part of this trial, and therefore a personal interest in making the right decision. It is our belief that teachers at Titirangi School have the skills to use technology in a balanced and meaningful way to achieve better learning outcomes for our children. The Board also approved the development of a BYOD Policy for year six students, which will mean that BYOD becomes a permanent part of the school, in this year at least.


Investment in Infastructure

Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) and an upgrade of the centralised classroom heating system, which was at the end of its life, were key investments delivered in this school year.

Meet your Trustees

Our Board includes a skilled and dedicated team that possess a well rounded mix of skills and specialisations that are required to govern the school effectively:


We'd also like to acknowledge the school's finance officer Christine Landers, who attends every meeting to take minutes and keeps our paperwork in good shape.

How do we know if we are doing a good job?

Your Board has a moral and legal obligation to make sure that we are doing the best we possibly can for Titirangi School. We have some solid checks and balances in place to ensure we are doing a good job as governors:


  1. A self-review calendar - this outlines areas for specific strategic review, including policy, principal performance, finance, property and curriculum. It is maintained by our Principal and looks ahead as far as 2017.
  2. ERO Reviews - The Education Review Office visits all schools on a regular basis. It conducts a very thorough review of all aspects of the school, including the board’s performance, and makes a detailed report and recommendations. Our last review was in 2012, and we expect our next review to occur in the next 1-2 years.
  3. Our own performance appraisal process that will be next completed in Term 1 of 2016.

The Charter

Titirangi School’s Charter is essentially an agreement between the board and the Ministry of Education that sets out our strategic goals, our vision, and details of plans that are in place to support these. We review and update it each year in a process that takes several months. It is the responsibility of the board to ensure that we do what we say we are going to do, and to explain any variations in results.


The Charter comes about through consultation with the school community, which we input both as elected parent trustees, by consultation with students, parents, teachers and staff, and other methods of direct consultation.


The Charter is published on our website. Soon we will be finalising the 2016 charter including the strategic goals, and we will communicate on those when the time comes. Thank you to Alan Jackson for his extensive work on this document, and the teaching and support staff for their input and collaboration.

Upcoming elections - would you like to be involved?

School trustees are elected by the school community. The next election is in May 2016. If you are interested in becoming a board member, please reply to this email with your details, so that we can have a discussion about what's involved.
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