Monday, 5 September 2016

Current issues in my professional context- Activity 2

Activity 2: Current issues in my professional context

My school (Redcliffs School) is a Decile 10 school currently operating off site at the van Asch Deaf School in the nearby community of Sumner. It was severely affected by the 2010 earthquakes. There are 189* Year 1-8 students at Redcliffs with the vast majority of students living within the school’s zone. Approximately 15% of the school population is of Maori descent. The school is part of the Bays Cluster; an active and collaborative cluster of five local full-primary schools.
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*Before the earthquakes the school role was around 410 students.

The Christchurch City Council (2014)  reported that Redcliffs is an established, higher socio-economic suburb,  In the 2013 census of population and dwellings, 14.3 per cent of residents were identified as being in the over 65 age bracket, with the next highest number in the 50–54 years age bracket (7.2 per cent).
The majority of parents within our school community are self employed, and are highly educated. Parents of our school community would like their children to be well educated individuals that are ready for high school and to be active participants in society.

The American Psychological Association(2016) states that children with higher Socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds were more likely to be proficient on tasks of addition, subtraction, ordinal sequencing and math word problems than children with lower SES backgrounds. Redcliffs School students score predominantly At and Above for Literacy and Maths for National Standards. Interestingly our writing benchmarks standards are higher than our cluster schools. which causes issues when sharing data as the interpretation of how to set these benchmarks for National Standards and reporting them is disparative.

An important foundation for the learning culture is the four values; Manaakitanga, Responsibility, Resilience and Excellence.

Warner (2015) highlighted it is important to have healthy positive school environment as it sets tones for students, teachers, staff parents and the entire school community. A culture of success in a school begins with defining what the beliefs and priorities that drive the thoughts and actions of the people are at the school. The principal is the spokesperson of what these thoughts and beliefs are. The government sets the achievement standards and the School BOT ensures these standards are met. The principal’s job is to create unity to ensure the school’s vision is put into practise (Wilson, 2013). Having a Principal and  Deputy Principal in acting roles and transitional fixed term staff has made it difficult to create a strong school culture.

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Stoll and Fink (1998) identified 10 influencing cultural norms of school improvement. In my school we have tried to incorporate all 10. We are a supportive staff who have been through redeployment, possible school closure and uncertainty. We have always maintained a professional level of conduct and put the children’s needs at the forefront of any decision making.
Our curriculum encourages students to look to the future by exploring such significant future-focused issues as sustainability, citizenship, enterprise, and globalisation. Gargiulo (2014) highlighted for schools to address issues they need to build relationships, teach students the hidden rules and enhance the relationship with parents. While we are off site we have worked hard as a school to communicate with our parents. It is difficult for our parents to pop in before and after school as the children are bussed in to the neighbouring suburb of Sumner.

Academy for SELinSchools. ( 2015, Apr 28).What is school culture and climate? [video file].Retrieved from
APA. (2016). Education and Socioeconomic Status. Retrieved from
Stoll. (1998). School Culture. School Improvement Network’s Bulletin 9. Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved from
TEdEd.(2013, Jun 21). Building a culture of success- Mark Wilson.[video file]. Retrieved from
Warner. E,  (2015) What is culture and climate? Retrieved from


  1. Dion this is an interesting insight for me as an Aucklander to hear how a CHCH school is coping in the aftermath of the earthquakes. It seems to me that you guys are doing a splendid job in the face of quite stressful and uncertain situations. Just being relocated is a huge issue when it comes to establishing a culture. I think mindset had to come into play here a great deal. Your staff must be a group of individuals who made it their mission to not allow the stresses of the 'event' and the 'situation' affect your attitudes or behaviours - it takes great people to do that. You all must have set yourselves a growth mindset in order to cope with the situation ongoing. Fixed mindsets here would have painted a very different picture but also no one would or could hold it against anyone for feeling downhearted in the face of all this upheaval. Clearly you guys are doing the best for your students, your community and yourselves - I see now why mindfulness has come into play here also!

    1. Great observations Claire. We are a tight knitted staff that are really close. Possibly a little too close as we tell each other how it is. We are in an interesting time for our school we all stayed together after the earthquakes until now, but I think there will be more movement. Our school was saved from a proposal of closure and staff that put their lives on hold to fight the fight and support (most importantly) the children feel more comfortable about moving on. It wasn't until I read your comments did I fully reflect on our necessity for having a growth mindset. I am really enjoying using mindfulness activities in my classroom as they give me an immediate measure of how the activities can impact the children.

  2. Oh and loved the school values too - these are really important to reflect attitudes and behaviours and promote the 'right type of culture' - we have very similar ones at our school and constantly refer to them so the children understand the meaning behind the words. Resilience is definitely one that must resonate with anyone working/living in ChCh