Roll stays relatively steady

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This winter has been more settled than most at Glenavy School.
In recent years, the roll has fluctuated by up to 20 pupils on “Gypsy Day” – when dairy farming workers shift to start the new season at a different property on June 1.
Principal Kate Mansfield said there was “not a lot of movement” this year. The school lost four pupils and gained two. That put its roll at 75, although new enrolments would occur later in the year as children turned 5.
Mrs Mansfield suspected the dairying downturn was a contributing factor to more families “staying for another season”. All those who had left had gone to other jobs.
While the pupil population was relatively steady, there have been staff changes. Former principal John Prescott and his wife, teacher Amanda Prescott, have moved to Waikouaiti School. Mrs Mansfield, who was deputy principal for the last two years and acting principal at the start of 2016, has now been
formally appointed principal.
Mrs Prescott has been replaced by Rachel McLellan, Hannah Beynon joined the teaching staff at the start of the year, and Lynda Andersen is the new office administrator.
Glenavy School retains its multinational character _ something that developed mainly through the arrival of dairy farm employees from all over the world. It has Samoan, Tongan, Fijian Indian, Filipino, South African, Chinese and Australian pupils, as well as Maori and other New Zealanders.
“We celebrate our cultures,” Mrs Mansfield said. “Education is about everybody bringing what they’ve got to the table. We’ve all got something to give.”
The mix of ethnicities was a “real positive” for the school, she said.
“We’ve got tolerance and understanding. The push is about creating a whole child, with values and life skills – really good, independent members of the community.”
Glenavy was a “great, supportive community”, Mrs Mansfield said. “It makes being part of it easy.”
New families that arrived saw others’ involvement in the school as “part of the norm”.
She aimed to provide opportunities for the children to guide their own learning and extend themselves.