Achievements as Rere School Principal 


In term four 1998 my wife Vanessa and I were appointed to the positions of Class room teacher and Teaching Principal of Rere School.   Rere School is a full primary area school located 40 kilometres south-west of Gisborne within a farming community. The role has fluctuated between 32 and 56 pupils with a Maori role of 30%.

My role as Principal has been both exciting and challenging and during our time at Rere we have tested and proven our idealistic teaching pedagogy on a school wide scale.

Academic Progress

Over the last two years Rere School students have made outstanding progress.
In several curriculum areas this progress is easily quantifiable and is clearly over and above chronological progress. This has been achieved through the implementation of several new programmes designed to; meet learning needs, fill in missing links and strategies and give wider coverage.

Reading Comprehension

When my wife and I first arrived at Rere School a serious reading comprehension problem was evident and generally excepted as acceptable.  Within the Junior and Middle school students were reading material below their chronological age. While in the Senior area students were reading material at or above their age but when they were tested for comprehension, in most cases a frightening lack of understanding was evident. These students had good essential phonetical skills but lacked "reading for meaning".

Several projects and programmes were put into place involving; an increase in free choice and in-depth reading activities, changing Running Record methods, training of five parent helpers to assist within classroom programmes and finally parents education on Pause-Prompt-Praise methods.

The results have been exciting, within Reading Comprehension during 1999 Rere students averaged 2 to 3 years progress in one year. The individual success stories are everywhere, parents are excited and students themselves are aware of and have ownership for their success. Improved students attainment has also been reflected in this years P.A.T. results which are now inline with national norms rather than being negatively skewed.

                                                2000             1999               1998
(mean)                                         54                 32                   30
(median)                                      61                 35                   35
Percentage above 49%               56%              31%               17%



Students at Rere school have dramatically improved in mathematics and many are this year being extended to exciting levels of attainment. This success has been due to a focus on relational understandings rather than rote learning. Within Number and Numeration many middle and senior school students were missing vital links; place value, relational understanding of operations and (in several cases) even concrete number understandings. Students were also lacking experience across curriculum areas.
New programmes covering all areas in an organised manner while filling in vital missing links were implemented.

The focus has been on:

  • practical confidence building and fun activities,
  • problem-solving fun,
  • pattern recognition and relational understandings.

Several students and parents have commented on maths anxiety being overcome and the gaining of new confidence. Basic facts computations speeds have doubled and even tripled enabling students to experience success and extension.
This success has continued, resulting in many students requiring extension. For example I have a form one student working successfully through a fifth form math programme and I believe next year we would have 2 students ready for this level and the year after 3- possibly 4.  
Improved students attainment has once again been reflected in this years P.A.T.


Graph showing dramatic improvement in Mathematics PAT National Norms, for the same sample of students.
                                             2000            1999            1998
(mean)                                      54                38                32
(median)                                   57                39                30
Percentage above 49%             74%             33%             16%


Rere students have made outstanding progress in Science. The emphasis has been switched from a research to an investigative type approach. Rather than reading about science and copying down facts students are now able to follow the investigative process, working out their own investigative questions and even planning and carry out their own investigations.

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