Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Tēnā koutou parents, caregivers and whānau, 

Re: Community Consultation Feedback

Throughout Term 4 the Birkdale Intermediate School Board of Trustees and the Leadership Team have been in the process of preparing the school’s 2024-25 Strategic Plan. This is a key document all schools must have and is mandated by the Ministry of Education. 

The purpose of a strategic plan is as follows:

  • meet legislated board primary objectives and show how the school or kura has had particular regard for the National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP)
  • ensure the needs of all ākonga|students are met
  • ensure the voices of all ākonga|students and whānau are heard
  • implement teaching and learning programmes that give effect to the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa to improve outcomes for all ākonga |students
  • give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and support Māori-Crown relationships

To ensure our school’s strategic plan meets the needs of our students, parents and the wider community we actively sought feedback and engagement. This has included seeking feedback from our current parents and whānau, students and staff, as well as proactively seeking feedback from the Year 5 and 6 parents of our contributing schools.

With change in the school and wider community over recent years and a new principal starting, we wanted to ensure that the school’s focus for the next two years reflects the needs and aspirations of our community. 

We have had an overwhelming response from the community. You have shared your thoughts, experiences and recommendations for our school; all of this valuable input will help us ensure that Birkdale Intermediate School is the intermediate school of choice for our community. 

We received almost 500 responses to our surveys. This included a significant number of responses from both our current parents and whānau and contributing school whānau. The education consultancy group supporting our strategic review and community engagement shared with us that they have never experienced this much engagement or this many responses from a community before. It was clear that our community definitely has a voice and is invested in our school. 

From this feedback we were able to identify areas in the school that our community felt were strengths and areas for improvement.

A key summary of the feedback is as follows: 

School Strengths

  • School community/culture
    The school’s focus on local community, and the way it embraces the various cultures in our community to support our students’ development and learning were identified as strengths. Parents see the school as a community kura that is involved in many community events. Also, the school’s culture was noted; teachers are approachable and caring, there is a sense of belonging and care, and it is a small / intimate school. 
  • Cultural awareness
    Our school is seen to value and celebrate diverse cultures. Also the way Te Reo Māori and tikanga is embraced across the school is valued by parents. The school is seen as inclusive and the students and staff represent  a real snapshot of the diversity of New Zealand society.
  • Extra-curricular activities
    The opportunities offered to the students through a variety of different areas are appreciated. Parents liked that their children are offered a range of extra activities to be involved in at school.
  • Local vicinity
    The ability for students to travel to and from school independently is seen as a positive. Parents like that their children can develop their independence while building relationships within their local community.

Other pieces of positive feedback also included an appreciation for the warm and caring nature of our office and admin team. Respondents also expressed an appreciation for the recent opportunity to share thoughts and experiences of our school, and also the positive changes that have been seen in the school during the second half of the year which included more opportunities for parent engagement and enhanced student opportunities. 

There was also important feedback our community shared that highlighted areas we needed to improve on. The three key areas are listed below: 

Areas for Improvement

  • Teaching and learning
    Parents want more challenge in the class programmes and a renewed focus on the core subjects of literacy and maths. Parents would also like higher expectations and standards set in the classroom for students and their learning. There is a community expectation that our staff are always professional and are specialists in their assigned areas.
  • Communication
    Many parents felt communication needs to be more timely in terms of school events and activities their children are involved in. Parents also wanted more consistent communication from their child’s whānau teacher, as well communication from their individual subject teachers. This included formal reporting and feedback at parent teacher interviews.
  • Behaviour discipline and safety
    Parents want to see a more proactive and consistent response to bullying and behavioural issues in the school. This needs to be consistent across all staff and the leadership team. Parents believe the school has a reputation for bullying and there was a clear message to ensure active anti-bullying processes are in place in the school.

Next Steps

  • Communicating the survey results
    Sharing the feedback and insights we received through our community engagements help us ensure we have heard it correctly. This has already included a strategic planning day with the Board of Trustees, sharing with staff key themes and messages, thanking students and sharing a summary of their thoughts and experience and sharing this feedback with our current and contributing school whānau.    
  • Draft our 2024-25 Strategic Plan
    With the overwhelming amount of feedback, it is now our job to draft a strategic plan that meets the needs of our students and community. Within the strategic plan, will be key goals, initiatives, actions and measures.  
  • Launch our new strategic plan
    In early 2024, once our draft plan has been put out for final consultation and confirmed, we will officially launch our new strategic plan. Following this we will monitor and measure that it is on track and achieving positive outcomes.

Finally, I would once again like to thank everyone in our community who took the time to share their thoughts and feelings. It is very clear to me that Birkdale Intermediate School has a very passionate and caring community. They are invested and want their local intermediate school to provide quality learning opportunities, have high expectations and be a safe and supportive learning environment for their children to thrive in. 

Please know that my kaimahi|colleagues and I are committed to making further positive changes in our school to ensure it is the best place for all our learners.

Ngā mihi nui, 

Joel King

Tumuaki | Principal

Birkdale Intermediate School

(09) 483 9168