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Avondale Primary had experienced a gradual declining roll since the September 2010 earthquake. However, since the February 22nd quake of 2011, there has been a significant roll reduction now exceeding 30% as families took flight and permanently left Christchurch and or they have been located in “Red zones”.. This pattern has been experienced in schools right across the Eastern suburbs. Our pre-quake five year July roll average of 505 pupils cannot be replicated with likely projections for upcoming years suggesting it will average approximately 330. This continues to have a significant impact on the school in terms of staffing and operational funding through since 2012. In September 2012, Avondale was also identified as one of five Aranui schools to be forcibly closed, with the creation of a proposed new, year 1-13 Area school. Avondale school and its community have rejected this proposal, maintaining that we remain a viable learning institution.

The school's natural catchment has a mix of residential properties with a complete cross-section of families from those on benefits to those in business or in a profession. The school is a Decile 2, reflecting the diverse community make-up.

The school is fully staffed with professionally competent and experienced teachers. The reduced teacher staffing rate (FTTE) is 18.27 which includes a Resource Teacher of Literacy (RTLit) who is based on site and who serves a number of schools in the NE of Christchurch. Additional staffing made up of one identified surplus teacher position is being used to support reading recovery. Administrative and associate support staff, caretaker and cleaners complete the staffing team.

The school has established a reputation for providing quality education for all its pupils and attending to the needs of students with special needs or abilities in the area. Significant achievement gains have been made by our students given that many pupils enroll with a narrow range of experiences and opportunities, necessitating special programmes to provide the foundation skills for learning. As a school we have a prime focus on literacy and numeracy. Strong behavioral management systems are in place both within the classrooms and in the playground. A strengthening community partnership has seen groups of trained and supervised parent helpers, assisting in a variety of learning programmes such as Perceptual Motor programmes.

Avondale is well resourced and has become an Information, communication and technology (ICT) school with which teachers use to enhance aspects of the curriculum. Teaching staff completed a 3 year ICT cluster contract in 2004. Since 2011 until the present time, Avondale has belonged to the GCSN (Greater Christchurch Schools Network) which has been a well resourced ICT programme funded by a variety of sources for a number of schools post earthquake. The school library is regarded as an Information Centre and is considered to be the “hub” of the school.

Education outside the classroom is encouraged through trips and visits by all children. Older children experience a class camp on each of their final two years at school.

Since the beginning of 2001, the school had catered for International students and qualified as a “Code of practice” institution. This programme had proved to be enormously successful and had been supported by an ESOL teacher. These children were integrated into mainstream classes but are withdrawn to receive specialist language support. Regrettably as a consequence of the Earthquakes this programme cannot be supported beyond 2012 as enrollments have dried up.

Special Needs
Avondale school has been recognised as a “magnet” school for the provision of special needs programmes by the wider community. The school has a special needs subcommittee, chaired by the Assistant Principal with a Special Needs Coordinator (SENCO) portfolio that apportions resources (including Teacher Aides) to identified children through out the school. The school administers a large number of Individualised Education Programmes (IEPs) to approximately 5% of the children on the roll. The school uses a number of mechanisms to determine eligibility of children for extra support; from diagnostic testing to off-site specialist referrals from outside agencies. The subcommittee is made up of representatives from the teaching staff, senior management and teacher aides. The committee convenes formally once each term. There are many programmes and plans in place to support children’s learning generally, either individually or in groups, both within the classroom setting and outside. There is an emphasis on inclusiveness. Programmes are run by classroom teachers, teacher aides, trained parent helpers or other specialists. Specialist programmes include PMP and oral language programmes.

Restorative Practice
From the beginning of 2008, Avondale begun to introduce restorative practices within the school. Each year we have always reflected on the ways that we manage student behaviours. We have always considered that we have done fairly well with behaviour management and this was confirmed by past ERO reviewers. Having said that, we feel that we can do more. Restorative practices moves towards changing habits that have lead to inappropriate behaviours or actions. It gives perpetrators opportunities to more fully understand the consequences of their actions and to face up to what has been done and for victims to feel that their voice has been heard. It involves taking responsibility for one’s actions and encourages them to decide how they can make things “right” and to repair the damage done. The fundamental concepts of restorative practices are:

• Misconduct is a violation of people and relationships 
• Violations create obligations and liabilities 
• restorative practice seeks to heal and put things right.

We acknowledge that this is not a quick-fix solution and effort is required each year to “imbed” restorative practices as part of the school culture.

New NZ Curriculum and National Standards
From the beginning of 2010, Avondale implemented its new “Avondale” curriculum, based on the new curriculum framework. Extensive work has been undertaken within the staff to best meet the needs of our students and to further cement key competencies. It has strong links to the new National Standards in literacy and numeracy and these are emphasised in the school’s Annual plan in these areas. 2011 saw the implementation of the New National standards and the adoption of NAG 2a which strengthens school and home partnerships around achievement reporting to our parent community.

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Raewyn MurrayBy:
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Parents, Staff, Communities

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Avondale and surrounding areas


children, christchurch, parents, primary schools, teachers


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