Bold new vision
A new principal hopes a rejigged curriculum will improve her pupils’ achievement rates.
Feilding Intermediate pupils have until now chosen their own learning path, with their classes targeted on either physical activity, science, arts or academic.
But Diane Crate is now broadening their focus for greater focus on literacy and numeracy.
While pupils will continue to select their field of study, they will break into ‘‘interest centres’’ for only half a day. Morning sessions will tackle traditional subjects.
Crate, who has been at the helm since term 3, will also introduce a fitness bootcamp for pupils who want to exercise before school, followed by a shared meal.
She has also called for a uniform review after meeting with teachers and pupils following her arrival.
The Manawatu¯ school, which has a roll of 350 pupils, was the first in the district to introduce interest centres, which were designed to capitalise on the preferences of students.
While they didn’t match the content of textbooks they provided learners with hands-on education that they could pursue at their own pace, Crate said.
‘‘High levels of engagement and enthusiasm are present in all classes because teaches work to deliberately teach to their students’ strengths and interests.’’
Crate came to Feilding from Hamilton, where she was the deputy principal at Deanwell School. Before that she was a literacy advisor at the University of Waikato.
She is particularly interested in Ma¯ori achievement, given Ma¯ ori children comprise 30 per cent of the roll.
Many of them are enrolled in the physical activity interest centre, allowing them to use sporting contexts to explore other curriculum areas, such as maths and English.
‘‘Some of them would rather I go out and watch them play rugby on a Saturday than go through their maths book.’’
Gone are the days of stern, scary principals, she said.
Crate enjoyed spending time with pupils, and has been seen competing against them in basketball and handball competitions, and even at cross-country. It’s about togetherness, she said.
‘‘We’re trying to bring on those forged relationships. Learning is more than just English, science and maths – it’s making relationships,’’ she said.
Feilding Intermediate principal Diane Crate hopes a rejigged curriculum will push Feilding Intermediate into the 21st century.