Riversdale School Newsletter Week 5 Term 3

Tena Koutou Parents, Caregivers and Whanau.

Hello everyone,

Kia ora e hoa mä.


Congratulations to our wonderful speakers


I had the pleasure of hearing our Years 5 and 6 speech finalists, Clodagh Greene and Jake Eden, and our Years 7 and 8 finalists, Fletcher Pomare and Amanda-Rose McMath speak at the Waimea round in Balfour on Monday.


A very big congratulations goes to


Amanda-Rose McMath – 1st place

Fletcher Pomare – 2nd place


These children will now go forward to the Northern Western Zone finals, held at Northern Southland College on Monday 2 September at 6.30pm.


Well done to Jake and Clodagh who presented their speeches really well.


Just an aside


Interestingly I get a lot of feedback from parents of children who have left our school and are in

Year 9 at secondary school. I always have. Recently a conversation was around how well they

were prepared for Year 9. This is no surprise to me, as I know from the time they enter Riversdale School they are ‘encouraged’ to be their very best. Riversdale School has very skilled teachers, and none more so that Kimberley with our 5 and 6 year olds and Tiffany with our years 7 and 8 class.


The parent was commenting on the fact that it seemed that their child had already covered most of the work that was being taught in Year 9. From our perspective this is a great thing as it allows them to achieve excellence although I do not believe it is actually correct as Tiffany is teaching at Level 4 and early Level 5 for those who can manage it, of the curriculum, and in Year 9 children begin Level 5. However, my concern was that the Year 9 teachers are not having the same push as we do. I can see why as they are getting children in Year 9 who do not know their times tables, who don’t have the range of maths knowledge and strategies that our children are taught, who cannot write a persuasion or response or explanation, who do not know how to write a complex sentence and what the dependent and independent clauses are, all of the things that we teach so thoroughly here.


All schooling should be equitable, so if your child is a high achiever, mid-range or has learning differences, they should all get an opportunity to progress in their learning. We have such well prepared children that actually I think that some could be doing NCEA Level 1 work in their second year of high school. If you want to know what learning might look like for your child in Year 9, ask another parent who has just had a child leave Riversdale, about how well their child coped and let me, Miss Harper and Miss Przewieda know, because we are really interested. I speak with Kate Nicholson (St Peters) and John McKinlay (Gore High) and they do say “those lovely, capable Riversdale kids”, for the most part. They love getting our well prepared Year 9 children.


We are not prepared to slow down learning or lower our expectations of what we do at Riversdale School. We have always held high expectations for children across learning and social areas, and this is what ensures their smooth transition into secondary school. When you are exploring Year 9 options ask about extension programmes, and find out about the teachers. At secondary school teachers are as critical as they are at primary. Time and time again I hear of children who in Year 9 don’t like their maths teacher, and so don’t do well, yet in Year 10 they love their maths teacher and then excel.


The track record of Riversdale ex-students being in leadership roles (Head boy/girl, Deputy head boy/girl, Dux, Captains of school sports teams etc.) shows that we are a fabulous community with great parents, and a school who wants to see every child achieve to their best ability.


School Lunches


We ensure that children are sitting for the first 15 minutes of lunchtime. Children must eat their sandwich/heat-up food first. After this we do not insist that they eat other food from their lunchboxes. Often children are most hungry at ‘feed and read’ time, and we are finding a number of senior children are eating all of their lunch then, and not having anything left at lunchtime. Fortunately, we can give them Weetabix and milk, or cheese and crackers. We would prefer that your child has double sandwiches, so that if they are hungry at playtime they can have a sandwich then, and still have one left for lunch. Sending whole apples or pears to school is often a waste, as children take 3 bites then throw them into the bin. It may be better to only send half a piece of fruit along or a couple of cube or slices that can be quickly eaten. Teachers will let children leave the lunch area if they still have a number of wrapped ‘bars, fruit things etc.’ in their lunch boxes as long as they have eaten their sandwich.


Coming Up This Term….


Monday 26 August - Shuttle time, Badminton skills learning for children.

Wednesday 28 August - Polyfest for our Kapa Haka children in Invercargill.

Monday 2 September - Shuttle time, Badminton skills learning for children.

Wednesday 4 September - Years 5 and 6 PE session in Invercargill.

Friday 6 September - Auditions for School Production lead roles.

Friday 13 September - School Disco in the Hall – 6.30pm - 8.00pm.

Friday 13 September - Children advised of Production parts.

Monday 23 September - Board of Trustees Meeting 7.30pm.

Thursday 26 September - Cultural Evening in the school hall, 6.30 start.

Friday 27 September - Last day of Term 3.

Monday14 October - First Day of Term 4.

Monday 28 October - Labour Day – School closed.


Board of Trustee news


At the Monday evening meeting of the Board the following matters were discussed.

  • The English Curriculum Plan has been updated. This is a key foundation teachers document.

  • Mid-Year Reading Writing and Maths progress report was presented to the Board. A copy of this is on the noticeboard at the office. There are quite a number of children working towards, and we would expect a large number of these children to be at expected level by the end of this year. We have groups of children in the senior school who will get support to progress their learning. Children get extra teachers time, teacher aide time and some children are going to receive the Feuerstein programme. It was also discussed about the possibility of some parents coming before school to hear children read, or practise spelling or sight words, help children learn their basic facts.

  • Report to the Board – Basic Facts. Good gains were seen. This is also on the noticeboard.

  • Feuerstein programme. We are beginning this programme in the school. Mrs Roy and I trained last holidays. Mrs Roy will take a group of children 4 days a week. Feuerstein is looking at skills to help organise thinking, visual perception, organisation and precision, analytical thinking, and through this range of exercises, life lessons are taught. For example, if I am precise in this exercise, when I come to bake a cake, or build a shed, it will work out. If I am organised in this exercise, I will be able to find my socks, as I will tidy and organise my bedroom. These are the types of life lessons that the programme leads children to thinking about, and doing. Its mantra is “Just a moment … let me think!” Something we all need to be able to do in life.

  • Property matters. Some minor repairs have been done around the school. Thank you to Richard Clarkson for cleaning out spouting. The swimming pool has been emptying which is a significant issue. The Pool Committee are working on this.

  • The school has purchased a new accounting package called Xero, and this is up and running.

  • Chatbus – the committee have advertised for a counsellor, so it is hoped this will be up and running soon.

  • Staff well-being was discussed. The Board appreciates the complex job that teaching is, the pressure that staff work under, and the drive to do their best for the children. At times like reporting, there is additional pressure, that the Board are aware of. Part of the role of the Board of Trustees is to ensure they are ‘good employers’ and managing staff well-being as best they can.

  • Bus routes. Correspondence was received from the Ministry of Education around bus routes for 2020. Kay is to follow up with this.

  • Kay met with Ros McQuillan-Mains, her appraiser, and set up for the 2019-2020 school year. Goals were set.

  • Water testing results were clear.

  • The schools insurance is being checked on to ensure that it meets requirements but the premium is as low as possible.

Meeting closed 9.40pm. Next meeting is Monday 23 September, 7.30pm in the staffroom. All are welcome to attend. Please advise the office if you are coming along.


WANTED - Parent Help 8.45am – 9.00am


If you have a spare 15 minutes in the morning, and would like to help out, please see your child’s teacher, or Mrs Stevens. We’d love some parents to hear children read, practise basic facts, spelling words or sight words, or work on number knowledge.


The Year 6 Riversdale Waikaia Netball team competed in the Southland Primary School Tournament in Invercargill on Tuesday. They won 4 out of 6 of their games and came 6th over all for the day. What an amazing effort.

Dillon and Blaine have been selected for the Eastern Friendship Hockey team. Great achievement boys.








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New Zealand 9744

Phone. (03) 202 5814

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