You will notice that most of the children didn’t talk about knowledge but talked about the ‘soft skills’ of co-operating, collaborating, helping others, persevering, solving problems. These are the skills that employers are now looking for in workers and it was especially pleasing that the children mentioned these as what they thought good learning is about. Of course, reading, writing and maths are our core business, but we are all about preparing children for their life beyond school and based on what these children said, it appears we are on track.
This year we are reviewing assessment practices and all teachers will be participating in professional development in assessment in order to further extend their knowledge and understanding of the use of assessment to inform teaching.
There is a national review of the NZ Curriculum happening at the moment. We are reviewing the VAS curriculum as well so the two sets of review recommendations will form the basis of our curriculum. I will be asking for your thoughts during term 2 so that the VAS curriculum is responsive to the wishes of the parents as well as meeting the requirements of the NZ Curriculum.
We reviewed reporting to parents last year and put in place a new draft reporting system. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the parent portal we had subscribed to in 2018 and we found that what we particularly wanted to share with parents was still being constructed! So we had a bit of a messy year as often happens when you start something new and different. I will be seeking feedback from parents later this term so we can use your thoughts as we refine the system. SeeSaw as the parent portal to view learning is already underway so look out for your individual logins being sent home next week.
We are reviewing our inquiry model and looking at inquiry skills at each year level so as to scaffold children across 6 years of primary school. We are also undertaking a minor review of health and PE.
This year, all year levels will have a social sciences (social studies) topic; in terms 2 and 4 we will have science topics; in term 3 we will be doing Keeping Ourselves Safe as well as technology based topics.
Student achievement at the end of the year showed that VAS students continue to do very well against national expectations. The results for 2018 against national curriculum level expectations are in keeping with the 2017 results measured against National Standards. We like that we are now able to identify the numbers of children who are ‘well above’ expectation, something we weren’t able to do with National Standards.