About Our School
Banks Avenue School was established in 1956. We are a large Decile 4 urban school situated in the Dallington/Shirley area. As a contributing school we cater for Year 1 – 6 students. The introduction of an enrolment scheme in 2004 saw our roll stabilise with a December figure of around 635 pupils. The earthquake of September 2010, and the subsequent earthquakes during 2011, significantly affected Banks Avenue School in many ways. Many of the homes of our school community are in the red zone and most of the houses were damaged in some way by the shaking and/or liquefaction. In July 2011 the Ministry of Education predicted that the school roll would drop by some 200 children – which it has. We begin 2018 with 351 children and expect to be up to 400 by the end of the year.
Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 have resulted in our once very stable community reducing significantly and becoming more transient. Currently we have over half of our children coming from out of zone. The Ministry are discussing potential changes to our zone in order to take some pressure off of neighbouring schools which are at capacity. If these changes occur it will give us our own catchment area not in the red zone.
The announcements of the Educational Renewal Programme for Christchurch saw the decision for Banks Avenue School to continue. However, because of the cost to stabilise the ground, our school will be rebuilt on the Shirley Boys site in North Avon Parade. Shirley Boys will be relocating to QEII in 2019: at that time the existing school will be demolished and our new school will be built. We anticipate moving into our new school at the beginning of the 2020 school year. This is an exciting prospect and opportunity which we are already planning and preparing for. We know we will be built as an innovative learning environment so therefore we are using the time before we relocate to grow and refine our collaborative teaching practises. Many of our existing classrooms have been modified allowing teachers to work collaboratively: all teachers at Banks Avenue are currently teaching collaboratively in teams of two.
We have variety of ethnicities at Banks Avenue which we value highly. We have children from a range of Pacific nations, Somalia, Afghanistan, India, South Africa, Philippines and other Asian countries as well as children whose families have moved to New Zealand from Europe. We provide a structured ESOL programme to help children learn English in their first months in New Zealand. About 20% of our students are Maori.Our school has a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Our staff is approachable and friendly, and we have been very active in promoting a partnership with the community. Communication with home is regular and detailed, and there is strong parental support and involvement in all aspects of school life. The resilience of our school community, the children, the staff and our parents and whanau, has been demonstrated over the last six years.
Our school is staffed by a very professional group of teachers with positive caring attitudes. They have high expectations of themselves and the children they teach. We have a great balance of teaching experience and subject area strengths in our staff. Current professional development is focusing on building self-regulated learners and building school culture through the lens of PB4L (positive behaviour for learning)
We have 11 permanent classrooms, 10 locatable classrooms and various administrative and storage facilities. Our school hall was demolished in 2014 due to earthquake damage. A new library / information centre and new junior block were built in 2010. Our site has been developed to include three adventure playgrounds. Extensive planting of trees and gardens has taken place to enhance both the safety and aesthetic features of the playground surrounds. We have been waiting for four years to hear where we will be rebuilt therefore we have spent minimal money on maintenance or class refurbishment. Now that we know we still have three years on this site we have spent money on a minor repaint and in putting new carpet into four classrooms. The school is looks bright and refreshed.
We have an after school OSCAR programme which is located in the OSCAR building adjacent to our Bramwell Street entrance. We also have access to another after school programme, Gen Z, to take the overflow of students who need after school care. Children for the Gen Z programme are picked up from school by van and taken off site.
Banks Avenue School is a popular school, and enjoys a reputation for achieving high standards in the delivery of programmes which cater for literacy, numeracy, communication skills, (social or life skills), cultural, artistic and sporting activities.
At BAS the basic curriculum is well covered and many extra-curricular activities are offered including choir, Kapa haka, kiwi netball, basketball, science club, garden club, art club and jump jam.
Outside support services are available to the school to assist children with specific learning difficulties, health and social problems. We currently fund a school social worker to help meet growing needs.
Personnel involved in supporting us and our student’s needs are:
Special Education service personnel including psychologist, truancy officer and behaviour education support team members, speech/language therapist, resource teachers of learning and behaviour, hearing impaired adviser, public health nurse, police education officer, dental therapist, Elmwood vision adviser, chaplains.
There is a strong commitment to community interaction. The school recognises the importance of parents taking an active part in their children’s education. Parent involvement throughout the school is strong with assistance being given in classroom programmes, library, sports activities, transport, curriculum development groups and school consultation processes. A growing number of parents offer their time once a week to provide mentoring for individual students with needs. There is also a very active P.T.A. whose on-going support to the school is very strong.
A close liaison is maintained with Canterbury University College of Education and the Graduate School of Education with a number of our teachers acting as associate teachers.
The school has good liaison with the other education institutions in the area. We belong to the Otakaro Cluster which provides support for local principals and teachers with a number of forward thinking initiatives. This cluster will transition into a Community of Learning in 2017.
The majority of our pupils continue on to Shirley or Chisnallwood Intermediates. We have very close liaison with Avonside Girls’ and Shirley Boys’ High Schools. Tutors from the Shirley Music Scheme are involved with a number of our students. Regular visits are made to our school by a range of local kindergartens.
Three key leadership changes were made at the end of 2014 with the appointment of a new principal and two new deputy principals. This leadership team has the strength, knowledge and expertise to lead the school forward toward future focused teaching and learning.
Photos taken by Ashton and Daniel