Somerset Crescent School is situated in Highbury. It draws its students from the south-west area of Palmerston North known as Takaro/ Westbrook/ Highbury, which is 4 kms from the city square. Birmingham St, Botanical Rd, Tremaine Ave and Amberley Avenue form approximate boundaries for the school's catchment area. Until 2002 the school was known as Highbury School.
Tangata whenua are Rangitane, although our students are from many different iwi. We have affiliations with St Michael's Marae, the Highbury Whanau Centre, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Te Aroha Noa, a Samoan language nest, a kohanga reo and other pre-schools in the area, Monrad Intermediate School and Awatapu College. We enjoy good relationships with members of the public.
We share a School Social Worker with two other schools, and have access to the RTLB and Group Special Education services, the Mobile Dental Van, the Public Health Nurse and School Doctor, and a variety of other services.
Our students take part in after-school sporting activities, some run by the school and some by the sports clubs.
Highbury is comprised of a wide cross-section of people coming from a mixture of housing types. Many Somerset families live in rental accommodation and a proportion of our roll is transient in nature. A feature is that, while most new five-year-olds come from local kindergartens and early childhood centres, some have had little preschool experience.
Our decile rating is 1C and our roll is approximately 50% Maori, 32% Pacific Island and 16% Pakeha/ European. This is an exciting mix which enables us to have a strong cultural and performing arts factor.
We have three performance groups, the Hau Pihi Kapahaka Group, Pasifika Pride and the Performing arts group.
Our students are lively, energetic, smart, friendly and caring, with a wide range of abilities. Our parents are keen for their children to do well and are supportive of their teachers. We mainstream special needs students within the school and we are respected for our knowledge and inclusive practices in this area.
Classroom programmes cover all areas of the NZ curriculum with a focus on literacy, maths, health, P.E and social skills.
Teachers have had extensive, deep professional development over the last few years. They are enthusiastic, caring and reflective classroom practitioners, and programmes are in line with current educational thinking and practices. All classes have interactive whiteboards, tablets or Netbooks .
Current staffing allows for: 10 classroom teachers with the DP and Principal in “walking” positions and a SENCO. This enables us to carry out excellent classroom and professional development programmes and mentor teachers.
The school runs a student management programme based on the U-ROCK school values of respect, cooperation, kindness and onto-it behaviour. Our school-wide philosophy aims to help children become life-long learners, and we emphasise the teaching of self-management skills. There is a strong focus on student goal setting, individualised learning, and achievement. We report to parents frequently in several different ways.
The features of the school are its special programmes which include ESOL, literacy support, enrichment & extension support, Perceptual Motor Programme, Junior Discovery programme, leadership training for senior students, as well as projects linked to community groups.
In line with our children first policy, all our classrooms have been refurbished over the last few years and are bright, clean, attractive, child-friendly places. They are carpeted with noise-absorbent walls, ample cupboard space and sinks and workbenches. The library is well-equipped with books, a photocopier and computers, and the computer suite has a digital projector for class teaching.
The staffroom is equipped for professional development. There is a colour photocopier and colour printer for staff and supervised student use, and laminating and bookbinding equipment. We have a number of digital cameras and video cameras. We employ an ICT technician to keep equipment working well. We have teacher resource rooms and an art storage room. Our large school hall is useful for assemblies and other school and community activities.
We have a new administration block, which includes a modern teacher workspace.
We employ several teacher aides. They support a wide variety of our children with their learning.
In addition we have an outdoor swimming pool which is open for 4 months of the year.
We have four long-standing BOT members plus newer parent reps and staff rep. Our executive members have special expertise in finance and property. Staff and Principal have an excellent relationship with the Board.
Somerset Crescent School was last reviewed by the Education Review Office as part of its normal review cycle 5th December 2016, the full report is avaliable here. The next review is due as part of the normal three year cycle in 2019.