Principal’s End of Year Speech


I would like to extend a very warm welcome to everyone here tonight – it is wonderful to have the opportunity to share reflections and highlights of the past year with you -our school community.

I seem to say the same thing every year but it is hard to believe the festive season is once again upon us!

I was in Kiwi class at lunchtime talking to some kids about the fact I had to do a speech tonight. Sophie popped up and said oh don’t worry about it Sean. Just get up there and say it’s been a good year, mostly positive with a couple of negatives, and thanks for coming. Thanks for the tips Sophie.

I’d like to begin my presentation tonight by acknowledging the changes and proposed changes before us as communicated this year by Education Ministry representatives. While the path ahead is still somewhat undetermined, it is clear that 2013 will see changes for us all, with Canterbury schools being a key focus group.

The anxiety, change process frustrations and unanswered questions have indeed been a distraction, however I believe we need to remind ourselves that while we may not agree with every proposal, the intention is to improve educational outcomes for our students. As a school community it is critical that our feedback is well considered and focused and clearly represents the learning and cultural aspirations we want to achieve. You can be assured that this is a key objective for me and the Board and we will continue to keep you well informed.

Most of you will be aware of concerns I have around aspects of the National Standards strategy such as how it seems to exclude learning activities that enrichen our students development and life outside the classroom – something Ladbrooks excels at; as well as concerns I have around the potential for increased class sizes and following this, the closure and merger strategy implementation. However, although there remain many unknowns and whatever happens, we have a well established and successful school culture and community and academic record and so any changes introduced will be done so in a way that preserves that where ever possible.

Focusing now on our school community directly, 2012 has been an outstanding year and we have achieved a number of actions around our 8 strategic goals which has been satisfying as a school and board.

Our school is highly regarded internally and externally and it always makes me proud to hear consistently positive feedback from visitors.

Lois Christmas an external reviewer (and appropriate person to quote at this time of year), commented in her report on the ‘positive vibe’ and ‘feel good factor’ Ladbrooks has in both the physical environment and the relationships both internally and externally. I’m sure you would agree with this observation and we should feel proud jointly for this achievement.

2012 has been a year of positive change, growth and development for us and one change I am personally very proud of is the huge improvements we have achieved in the connectedness between all groups associated with the school.

Walt Disney once said ‘you can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful idea in the world, but it requires people to make the dream reality. This is certainly the case as a Principal. The reality is that the learning experiences and projects that have taken place this year could not have happened without a great deal of commitment and support from you.

One of the most critical factors of any successful school is the staff. The team at Ladbrooks continue to work collaboratively together to best meet the needs of our students. I am grateful for the time and energy they put into their positions. They give so much more than what is expected to the school and your children. Thank you Keryn, Jo, Ali, Linda, and Amy for everything you do for our school and community. I would also like to acknowledge the support staff  that do their upmost for our students. Thank you Heather, Lee, Lesley, Maree, Sarah,Sandra, Matt and Janet and Ashley. You are an important part of our team. Tonight we farewell two of our Teacher Aides Cheryl, on behalf of the board, thank you for your dedication to Ladbrooks. We hope you are enjoying parenthood. Janet thank you for all your awesome work and sense of fun.

I want to especially acknowledge Dot tonight. Dot’s role in the school is critical. Dot you are a pleasure to work with. We always have a few laughs and the occasional rant especially during the implementation of Novopay which has had the potential of driving any office manager away. Dot continues to get us through many system hiccups which is a true mark of her consummate professionalism

Many other projects have also been undertaken this year by a number of groups associated with the school. PALs have been instrumental in terms of fundraising with initiatives such as school lunches and asparagus picking. This has provided a huge amount of funding which has been used for subsidizing senior school camps, contributing towards the cost of ICT equipment and the sandpit, and new furniture for Tui. I would like to thank Tui and her amazing team for their commitment and energy.

Thank you also to Kathryn Picton -Warlow for her generosity.

At this point I would also like to mention the huge amount of support that Frana Bain has given our school this year in terms of environmental education. Without your commitment Frana, a number of our projects would not have made it from a dream to reality. We are really grateful.

To Sandra Keown, thank you for the huge effort you have put into our library this year.

I would also like to acknowledge Trish Hann who has organised the Lincoln Agricultural club for the last two years. This has been a big effort and much appreciated Trish.

Our Board of Trustees continue to govern our school in an effective way. This year we started implementing our revised strategic plan which provides a clear framework for how we go about raising achievement at Ladbrooks. Thank you Mark, Nick, Maree, Derek and Ali and Andrew for your involvement, Jackie thank you for your work as Chairperson.

Our school is full of awesome kids who arrive each day Ready, Willing and Able to Learn Together. This year we introduced 4 values into our school. These are aroha, achievement, positivity and responsibility. Our ‘Ladbrooks Learners’ have the ability to demonstrate these values not only at school, but also in the community. Here are some comments that the children made during Lois Christmas visit: We know our values, they are working well. In this school the little kids are well looked after by us as seniors, everyone gets on in our school, this is a good environment for learning, there is a good atmosphere to learn in. These comments say it all! – Thank you kids for making this school great.

We have a number of new learning initiatives that will take place next year. The major focus will be continuing our journey with 21st Century learning which will involve implementing a number of new digital tools into classrooms and switching over to fibre in order to operate these at a much faster rate which is really exciting.

We will continue to work together as the Lincoln Learning Cluster. As you know we submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education a week ago which outlined 3 key vision statements which we believe define the future of education in our local area. These are engaging learning, future ready and developing a collaborative learning neighbourhood.

Tonight we farewell our ten Year 8 students. On behalf of Ladbrooks, I would like to thank you for your involvement in our school. When I look around you have all left your mark  in a really positive way. Thank you Stephanie , Sophie , Olivia Rose, Emma H, Brooklyn, Samantha , Emma K, Bradley and Kaylyn. We wish you all the best for your next stage in life – High School.

Thank you for your support this year. We have a great school which is at the heart of the community. Have a relaxing Christmas and holiday with your families.