First Christchurch merger school off to flying start

Issue: Volume 95, Number 16

Posted: 5 September 2016
Reference #: 1H9d4L

Christchurch’s Waitākiri Primary School, the first post-earthquake merged school to open, has received an exceptional Education Review Office report.

Waitākiri Primary School opened in 2014, after the merger of Burwood and Windsor schools. It continued to operate over two sites until opening in brand new, purpose-built facilities earlier this year.

ERO praised the way that the new school has recognised and celebrated the traditions and history of the two schools that were merged. It also noted the work of the previous board of trustees to support the positive transition to the new school.

Principal Neill O’Reilly says that following the merger the school’s vision was to go forward in a positive way.

“We wanted to honour the past in both communities,” he says. “We spent a lot of time trying to understand the strengths and qualities of the two old schools and bringing them to the new school.”

The flexible learning spaces are also having a positive impact, with ERO commenting on the positive way that teaching teams are working together in the spaces, making high-quality teaching more visible.

“We talk to the students quite frequently about what they think of the new learning studios and the feedback is that they absolutely love it,” says Neill.

Prior to the building move, Neill says the teachers and support staff spent three years preparing to work in the new flexible spaces.

“My hat goes off to them; they worked incredibly hard to get to where we are now.”

According to the report, most children at Waitākiri achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics, and are at or above the National Standards.

Because of the positive findings in the report, ERO is likely to carry out the next review at Waitākiri Primary School in four to five years.

Many Canterbury schools were extensively damaged in the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. The Ministry of Education is working with the community and education leaders in Christchurch on a $1.137 billion programme to renew education and create some of the most modern schools in the country.

Further information

Education Review Office (ERO) report(external link) on Waitākiri Primary School
Rebuilding Christchurch Schools 2013–2022(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:37 pm, 5 September 2016

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