These are all questions that we ask ourselves when choosing a school. As a parent I well remember the first day my eldest daughter headed off to school. The emotions, aspirations and dreams that we have for our children as they start on this journey are ones we will never experience again. The excitement and anxiety of our child is reflected by the parent and this doesn't change until the end of the first day when your son or daughter comes home with a beaming smile and says: "I had a great day Daddy! I made a friend".
Indeed, making a friend is the best beginning for any child and we here at Southwell go to great lengths to ensure that every child has that sort of beginning which will set them up for the rest of their time at school.
We achieve this by ensuring that attention is paid to each individual child. The teacher/pupil ratio is one of the mechanisms we use to do this. One teacher to every 15 students, averaged across the whole school, is a ratio which is the envy of every school in Hamilton. In the Junior School it is even better than this.
The teaching staff are highly-qualified in their roles and they are committed on assisting your child to become the brightest star they can be. We have a large number of male teachers in the school, providing a balance of role models for both boys and girls. Teachers are observed regularly and evaluated to ensure that their practice is always at the highest level. Most teachers coach sports teams and all take an active role in extra-curricular activities. These include chess, drama, hobbies, craft, bands, orchestra, choirs, Kids for Christ (KFC) and Opera.
Southwell School is the best resourced primary school in New Zealand. We are fortunate to have specialist teaching in Art, Pottery, Science, Sport, Technology, Music, Drama, eLearning, Chinese and French. In addition we have a Learning Support Department that is geared to assisting those children identified as needing extra help, whether for learning difficulties, giftedness or English as a Second Language.
Our fully equipped theatre seats 400 people and is a significant resource for both the school and wider community. Pause a moment and imagine the excitement that pulses through the entire school during Opera season! Hall facilities, a drama room, music room and itinerant music studios round out the picture.
Our gymnasium is used for all aspects of the physical education programme. We have an astro turf specifically for hockey and tennis and an Indoor Recreation Centre complete with a rock climbing wall.
All Hallows, our Chapel is the heart of our School community which school chapel services offered each day, as well as a place to provide support for all children and their families. Southwell is unique - a very special place. Come and look around and see for yourself.