BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Malcolm Hollis (Chairperson)
2017 Board Meeting Dates
Board Meetings are held at 6pm in the Principal’s office on the dates listed below. These meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend.
2017 Board Meeting Minutes
2016 Board Meeting Minutes
BOARD OF TRUSTEES NEWS (29/05/2017)
Elmwood Normal School
Board Talk – May 2017
Well we are a third of the way through the year and the Board has been busy with a range of planning, review and policy matters. The staff and management have settled in well for the year and the excitement of children learning can be seen across the school.
To start with the most obvious matter, everyone will be aware of the recent upgrade to the auditorium and painting of the main and other blocks to fresh new colours. The process surrounding the auditorium has been somewhat arduous, given its design, and propensity to leak. A new roof membrane, along with new guttering design and removal of poorly designed skylights has improved this problem markedly (hopefully permanently, but let’s wait and see), and a new floor, carpet and internal paint has sharpened it up inside. Hopefully this will ensure the auditorium lasts for many years to come. Best of all the work has come in under budget, has future proofed the building, and cost nothing like the initial consultant’s report indicated it might! As many people well know managing a construction project can be frustrating and I congratulate Paul for the way he has dealt with the project.
As well as receiving an external paint, the Main Block and other rooms all had heat/air conditioning pumps installed. While these will really only be used at the height of summer for cooling and shoulder seasons for heating before the main boiler is fired up, there’s no doubt that the classrooms affected will be much more comfortable for the students and staff in them.
In other property matters, the Board has approved a medium term (i.e. 5 year) landscaping programme, which will aim to gradually improve various aspects of the school grounds. For example the entranceways will be upgraded and the auditorium frontage improved. These are not big things but are all aimed at enhancing the school’s attractiveness and environment.
Longer term will be the upgrade (replacement!) of the junior school blocks as part of the renewal programme, but this is not on the immediate radar for the current Board.
Also, the upgrade of the Senior Playground was completed in term one, many thanks to ENSCA for contributing to the cost of this project.
Slightly wider than the school grounds itself is the issue of traffic and road management. While we have no direct responsibility in managing the roads beyond, the school is conscious of the desire to have safe roads for our little treasures, especially during peak times. The issue of children crossing Rossall St is one example of this and something we are looking into, in conjunction with the City Council.
Less seen by the community is the work done by Paul and the staff regarding the annual plan, review of the Charter, and ensuring our strategy and direction is in line with what our community would expect. Also, the introduction of a new student management system has been implemented and is currently being trialled and assessed, with the full rollout due at the end of this term.
At the beginning of 2017 we had a number of new staff join Elmwood and it is pleasing to see how well they have settled in and enhanced the culture here at school. While Elmwood has a long and proud history, more than anything new people bring additional enthusiasm and fresh ideas. While I know there are considerable challenges in managing a high performing team, we should not be worried about changes in staff.
On the matter of staff, I take this opportunity to remind our community that they are highly motivated and passionate about teaching our little ones. However unfortunately I still hear of a (albeit very small) number of parents who take umbrage in the fact that their child has missed a sports team/music group/some other matter and take it upon themselves to berate staff. The staff have no problems receiving complaints, but it’s the manner in which they are given that seems to be the issue. Most people raise issues in a respectful way; I ask that you give consideration to this.
This time of year we receive a number of queries about the school uniform. As winter sets in, the wearing of non-standard uniform items increases. Pink tights and long sleeves stand out! The Board has recently had a number of discussions about the way the uniform is worn and how we can improve its use. After looking at various options (many thanks to Kirsten McFaull for presenting a number of options to the Board) the consensus was that the current uniform is not ‘broken’ and doesn’t need major change, but in conjunction with ENSCA we will look to tidy it up and make some modest changes to enhance its look and usage.
Generally compliance with the uniform policy is very good and the Board does not wish staff to take a strong ‘enforcement’ policy for non-compliance. We don’t believe such an approach is suitable at Elmwood. Instead a light-handed approach is taken whereby those with obvious non-compliance are politely asked to consider making a change to what they are wearing the following day. We are not concerned about only black shoes being worn – actually they are not required under the current uniform policy (although personally I prefer them). In my view wearing the uniform is a question of personal pride in our school and I’m sure our children are proud to wear our uniform at school and in the community.
Getting back to the important area of learning, the Board has received reports from the staff in respect of maths and writing and are impressed with the standards being achieved. We really do have a talented bunch of kids. But just as importantly however is how well those that need additional support are identified and given assistance. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again – the learning support programme at Elmwood is second to none and I congratulate all the staff for their work in this important area.
To finish a big thank you to all the supporters of the school, in particular the ENSCA team who continue to run many regular activities for the benefit of our children. Also I attended the ‘Dads and Children’ Antarctica breakfast recently which was an outstanding success (well done to Natasha Lamont and her team) for running this excellent event.
Thank you to my fellow Board members for their valuable contributions to date, and to Paul and his team for the excellent work they do. I look forward to our continued close working relationship to achieve further great progress on behalf of our school community.
All the very best.