Chris­tian School gets an A

Matamata Chronicle - - Conversations - ABBY BROWN

Mata­mata Chris­tian School has achieved some­thing only 15 per cent of New Zealand schools have. Af­ter its re­cent ERO re­view the school will now be re­viewed in four to five years.

Schools not in the 15 per cent are re­viewed in three-year cy­cles, al­though it is ‘‘less than that for strug­gling schools’’, the school’s prin­ci­pal Alis­tair Pater­son said.

He at­trib­uted their suc­cess to a team ef­fort of ten staff, in­clud­ing sup­port staff and the two boards. As well as a Board of Trustees the school has a Pro­pri­etor Board which owns the school. The school has an agree­ment with the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide the cur­ricu­lum em­bued with their Chris­tian val­ues. ‘‘If God cre­ated us then why take him out of ed­u­ca­tion is my main ques­tion.’’

He said his school is the only one in the re­gion, other than high schools, which has a maths spe­cial­ist. He said he had been work­ing hard in that role this year. He has been with the school for a to­tal of nine years.

The school’s fur­ni­ture also re­flected the dif­fer­ent needs for learn­ing. The fur­ni­ture is at ‘‘dif­fer­ent al­ti­tudes’’, with every­thing from coun­ters to cof­fee ta­bles used for var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties. A round ta­ble and a donut-shaped couch are used for brain­storm­ing so stu­dents can bounce ideas off each other.

The stu­dents even de­signed their own out­side class­room as part of a break­out project. They had been tasked with mak­ing one af­ter re­search showed that work- ing out­side in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Re­cent high­lights in terms of stu­dent achieve­ment in­cluded a singer’s top hon­ours at a mu­sic fes­ti­val. The cur­rent Mata­mata Col­lege head boy is a former stu­dent. An­other former stu­dent gained top hon­ours in their sec­ond year of a Waikato Univer­sity course. Most of the stu­dents in the old­est net­ball team made a rep­re­sen­ta­tive team a few years ago.

The school was started in 1988 from a vi­sion of two pas­tors and a me­chanic. It was ini­tially based in the prin­ci­pal’s base­ment. Politi­cian Bob Clark­son owned land on Smith St which he sold to the school in 1991.

There are cur­rently 66 stu­dents en­rolled at Mata­mata Chris­tian School. The high­est num­ber on the roll was 115, 12 to 13 years ago.

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

Mata­mata Chris­tian School stu­dents, from left, Jazz Vi­damo, 6, Aaron Lam­bert, 6, Maraea Whare­mate, 5, and Pey­ton Aarsen, 6, are happy with their ERO re­port which prin­ci­pal Alis­tair Pater­son, also pic­tured, par­tially at­trib­uted to their great Noah’s Ark play­ground.

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