Successful year
At the Board of Trustees December meeting, principal Graham  Avery and chair Gary Reilly reflected on the year which has been 2017. Successes and achievements have been noted in student achievement, teaching quality, professional development, governance and community support. Graham referenced the impressive student achievement results (detailed further at right), not only academically but in sport, culture and leadership. He detailed the high rate of community attendance at school events and our relationship with local iwi Ngati Kuia as being to be proud of. The school finishes the school year with 139 students and will begin 2018 with a number around the mid 120s, bringing further diversity and community spirit to the school. The board has actualised a number of projects during the year and with sound financial planning has cash reserves with which to progress further capital works in the new year.   Board chair Gary Reilly commended the staff for all their hard work and acknowledged Graham for his leadership and support in order for these successes to take place.

Student achievement
Appleby School has had an envious level of student attainment for many years past. As such the school places a higher than average expectation on the students, and their teachers, to achieve their utmost potential.  
The Board was pleased to see the end-of-year student results continued to meet this trend. The targets included: Less than 10% of students below National Standards in Reading, Writing and Mathematics, & more than 50% above National Standards in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

In our end of year results we see that 58% of students are above in reading, 52% in mathematics and 51% in writing. Combine these above figures with the at figures and we have the vast majority of the school meeting or exceeding expectations.   Similarly, we saw that 10% of students are below for reading and 6% in mathematics. However the school did not manage to meet its target for less than 10% of students below in writing. This group finished on 15%. While this is down from 17% earlier in the year it remains an area of priority for the school and teachers.  The other targets that continue to be worked on are: to have less than 10% of boys below standard in reading (currently at 14%, down from 24% in February 2017); to have less than 10% of boys below standard in writing (currently 23% down from 26% at February 2017).

Assisting boys with writing is a region wide focus for the Community of Learning (CoL) and these schools are all looking at how they can work collaboratively to tackle these statistics. As well as academic results, the board was presented with a report on children with special educational needs by SENCO Gemma Bublitz.   It was pleasing to see nearly all of the children with either special needs or special abilities have seen accelerated learning during the year. This report also identified children with special gifts outside of academia and acknowledged their successes in the sporting, cultural, artistic and leadership fields.   It was noted that Ministry funding for reading recovery was provided for two children, at a total of 100 hours in 2017. However, the Board is pleased to have been able to provide reading recovery for eight students, at a total of 250 hours, who of whom made huge gains in their reading over the year. 
The school did apply for further funding via In Class Support. There were 150 applications for the 75 positions available and as such Appleby School was unsuccessful in this application. However the Board is confident that all children who require additional support have and will continue to receive Board-funded assistance.  

Appleby School is proud to ensure all children, wherever their talents or challenges lie, are continually challenged and learning. It is worth noting that this will be the last year student achievement results are presented in this manner, as the new Government plans to replace National Standards.   However Appleby School will continue with its rigorous reporting systems including being able to show parents where their child sits against curriculum level expectations.        

CoL update
Nic Walker has been appointed as the in-school contact for the Waimea Community of Learning.   His position will involve liaison with the other schools in the CoL as they share expertise and work collectively on common problems. Graham and Nic advised the Board that Appleby is in a good starting position as many of the ares of focus for the CoL are areas in which Appleby already excels at. However joint areas of focus such as boys writing will benefit us. Within our CoL there are  270 teachers and 4700 children.        

Policy Review    
Each term several school policies are reviewed and some procedures audited. They are  amended where necessary and ratified accordingly.   Thank you to those who took part in our review of Privacy, Salary Units and Class Release this term. In general people were very happy with the content and the implementation of these policies.   The following procedures have been audited: Appraisals, Principal Appraisal.

Financial Update
The Board examined the school’s income and expenditure for the past month at its December meeting, and assessed the year’s finances.   Income was up by $2000 and some planned expenditure on capital works has yet to be spent. At the same time capital works that did proceed came in under budget.   Additionally higher than expected roll numbers at this time means the Ministry of Education is advancing extra funding to the school before year’s end.   All these figures means the school has $70,000 of surplus capital, over provisions held aside as required.  

The Board sees car parking as the next capital project of priority. With the roll increases comes additional vehicles requiring parking at drop off and pick up times. With the danger of parking on the Highway, the Board is beginning planning for enhanced off-street parking. These surplus funds are being held in expectation of upcoming costs. Machinations have begun for next year’s budget but this cannot be finalised until the school has been notified of the amount of its new operations grants from the Ministry.   The change in Government, the removal of the decile rating system and murmurings about school donations changing has resulted in some unknowns as far as next year’s funding.   This information will be relayed to the school community early in the New Year once information is known and assessed against the existing budget.   The new level of funding is not expected to be detrimental to the school. 

Merry Christmas and a safe & happy New Year to all our Appleby School families.