We are grateful to the members of the Principal’s Email Group who took part in the latest survey- the focus being on reviewing the year, and looking ahead to 2020 and beyond.

There were 3 sections to the latest survey- What is our point of difference? What could we improve heading into 2020? What facilities should we be targeting for attention? We found the feedback very useful, and we are integrating the thoughts and ideas into our strategic planning moving forward.

As a school, what have you noticed we do particularly well? What’s the Pigeon Mountain ‘point of difference’?

The feedback about our point of difference was very affirming. A number of trends emerged in the responses- the values in particular, as well as the sense of community which we have nurtured with our teachers and parents.

-I feel that Pigeon Mountain is very good at living it’s values in the education of the children, in imparting education, values and in character formation.

-Open door policy! I love how approachable and friendly all the staff are. I’ve never been made to feel in the way or wrong. Love having a Principal that knows everyone, listens and genuinely cares about his students.

-Accepts different cultures

-So far, all the teachers we have had have been amazing. Supportive, adaptive to the children’s needs and willing to listen. The school has a lovely atmosphere and culture. We picked Pigeon Mountain out of zone because of the multiple recommendations, both about Ian and the great results the school gets. Not just academically but in general.

-Education with a heart -strong values

-From a personal point of view the care and individual attention the kids get is great. Teachers knowing lots of students outside their own etc, the whole education with a heart does really feel to come through. I feel parents are always well received and encouraged to be part of school life. You guys live the mission statement in my opinion.

-I think the school assemblies are fantastic. The good thing is that it is the students who lead assemblies, and it is different every time. I can see the students enjoy the assemblies. It is also a great opportunity to show their works that something they can be proud of.

-The values.

-Something that I have noticed that Pigeon Mountain Primary does well is that it has a very close-knit community feel to it. A familiar, welcoming environment to send our children into each day has been created. It is obvious from the personal greetings at the gate each morning, to the way children are spoken to by teachers that they are shown that they are important and valued members of the school. Pigeon Mountain’s point of difference is that its values are not only discussed, but they are actually implemented and demonstrated every day. I love seeing my children demonstrate these values outside of school, too. The overall impression is that children at Pigeon Mountain Primary display a sense of pride and responsibility for their learning, environment and behaviour.

-Good teachers, more after school choices eg violin

-You have a diverse range of teachers ranging from very experienced to new, older and younger, and from different ethnicities and backgrounds. I really value this for my kids, having come from a newly established school that had inexperienced teachers. I love that the teachers care about the kids, and take the time to give feedback.

-Feels like the teachers really care. Children are happy and engaged.

-I think the school infrastructure, big field, playground area, nice and well kept areas, classrooms too are good.

-Committed management and some great teacher with the ability to value the student.

-Communication with whanau is excellent.

-Striving to constantly improve and including consultation with community and parents to get those improvements right is commendable.

-Positive reinforcement and celebration of student achievements (certificates, assemblies etc..) is very encouraging.

-Emphasis on sports, movement and outdoor play is excellent – when the body moves the brain grows.

Although there are many students in the school it still feels small and family like. Each teacher does an amazing job to engage and encourage our children.

-School values

-I think the PB4L has had a great influence on the children, my son speaks about this all the time and can assess situations and tell me what he is dealing with.

As a school, what could we do differently in 2020? Is there anything we’re not doing that we could start to do?

This feedback is very useful and help illustrate a number of things in our power to enhance for the benefit of families and learners. Clearly, communication plays a vital role in keeping parents in the loop with regards to learning and school events. We intend to develop a communications strategy to provide clearer information about the what, why and where of communication from PMPS.

-I love the way the school operates.

-Dance education. Mindfulness for children.

-Get some interaction between year groups. The team structure has meant children know very few other children in their own year group and also created an unfairness in education outside the classroom which could be corrected by year group interaction for these trips

– Communication tends to be too short notice. I work full time and often get notice for events where I could attend too late notice to organise my diary.

-healthier lunch options for lunch orders

-I saw swimming announcements on the Facebook page for other years. Not sure how that works / where it is but I would say offering swimming – although I know you do it I don’t really know where etc.

-Otherwise I’d say communication is still the one for improvement. It seems that there are too many options for communication and info. Newsletters, bits of paper in bags, children telling us. If there was one, all encompassing platform that is effectively ‘the bible’ and has all the info I think that would be great. Basically declare that channel X – newsletter, Facebook, class dojo, the website etc is the absolute master of info. I think I feel it more as a 50% parent. Some stuff goes to the other house and so on

-I think school could find a way to reduce traffic during the drop off and pick up time. Encourage families to make students walk to school. For example, by arranging neighbor students groups, by giving responsibilities to the senior students to take care of younger ones during the walk, giving them banana bucks if they take responsibilities, etc. It is much healthier for students to walk, and it’s also good for the environment. And I think it might be good if the students are allowed to wear rain boots and raincoats during winter time as long as they leave boots outside the classroom so that they don’t get cold when they arrive at school. Rain shouldn’t stop them to walk to school.

-Possibly exploring emergent technologies with students; virtual reality, driverless cars etc. Getting them excited about the possibilities in the future.

-I am really happy with the school’s structure, in terms of academic education, so don’t have any suggestions on things to do differently.

-More updates on classdojo, we would like to see more photos of what’s happening in the class thanks

-I would love to see opportunities for the children to do volunteering activities in the community.

-Communication definitely improved but would like to see more on facebook about what is happening and photos. Could classrooms / sports teams have their own form of electronic communications that could keep parents involved or aware of what was happening that week? Can permission forms for trip, teams, activities be done online?

-I think the sport part is not well engaged. This year we participate the basketball team and I could easily see how well prepared were the other primary school. Our school should engage kids and train more.

-Bring more science, history and world knowledge topics.

-Play-based learning programme for new entrants ( in line with emerging research).

-Continue using technology in the classroom but limiting screen time (heavily limited and restricted for very young students – 5 year olds do not need screen time to learn at school.

-Ask for help when it’s needed eg. Family planting/gardening days.

-More parent-teacher communication opportunities

-Choose one form of communication and that all communication through outlets is consistent, perhaps if one person is in charge of all communication then it would ultimately all be the same. The teams need to talk to each other more so that there is no conflict of interest in a situation, for example the upcoming senior speeches.

We are looking at how we could strategically enhance our school facilities into 2020 and beyond. What should we add, remove or improve?

Analysis of the data coming from the options which parents could identify as high, medium or low priority, the following areas emerged as HIGH priority areas for change/addition or redevelopment; Modernisation of hall, Addition of extra classrooms, Better ventilation in learning spaces, Extending and enlarging current learning spaces.

The following areas were lowest priorities according to responses; Fencing around school, Car parking, 1 to 1 device programme, Adding turf areas, Solar power.

As ever, we are grateful to those who took the time to add their thoughts and opinions. If you would like to join this group, please email iand@pmps.school.nz to be added to the mailing list. Surveys are sent 2-3 times each term, and take 5-10 minutes to complete.