Principal's Message

Message from the principal

Ilminster still believes in ‘student choice and voice’ and learning that builds on students’ strengths, talents and interests. In 2018 your child will still choose a centre based on their strengths and interests and spend every afternoon working within their own class or collaboratively across the centre/s connecting with the community. This will be based on an Inquiry Approach exploring appropriate curriculum learning areas. 2018 Centre choices will be Challenge, Discovery, Expressive, TecKnow and Xcel. Connections is a centre which every student will attend as part of their learning.

The great thing about being in education is that you come face to face with the realities of learning every day. Students - we learn as much from them as they do from us and that’s why 2017 has seen the introduction of Matauranga Groups that operate across the school and include Literacy, Numeracy, Health, P.E. & Connections [Food, Music & Art].

For many years I have been concerned at the huge demands placed on Primary Teachers to teach every area of the curriculum and of course to be an expert in each one. At Ilminster, staff now get to focus on one core curriculum learning area as well as their Centre curriculum focus, and have time to refine and develop their practice in order to better cater for the strengths, interests and needs of their students and be supported by and contribute to a team of teachers to do so. Students benefit from high quality teaching in the core curriculum and to enjoy smaller numbers within their Matauranga Groups. They also benefit from interactions within a range of settings and contexts. It’s early days and there are always teething problems but we have seen and experienced enough positives from our students and staff, to know that this is something we are prepared to keep working at. When you strive to be ‘simply the best’ there is no end. There’s always just another beginning.

Ilminster doesn’t have modern learning environments, and we know that these alone don’t magically create good teachers. Staff and students have excellent teaching and learning spaces and we will continue to ensure spaces are attractive. Everyone in a school contributes to developing that great learning environment by building positive relationships and striving to be more effective because they care. 2017 has been a great year - and like every other year in any social organisation, there are issues - but you manage them, because you are clear on what your priorities are. Our focus continues to be our students, their well-being and their progress and achievement - socially, culturally and academically.

If you want your child to be in a school - that is not too big, and not too small, where for two years they get to mix with other students from a range of contributing schools and from a range of life experiences, where they will have challenges that take them out of their comfort zone and where they will be supported and encouraged to give things a go - then we believe we might just be that school. The board of trustees, staff and I look forward to having your child at ‘Simply the Best’ Intermediate in 2018!

Peter Ferris