Sherenden & Districts School
2129 Taihape Road, Hastings Ph: 06 874 3738
Making a positive difference
Sherenden and Districts School, like all rural schools, is the hub of its community and for quite some time has been dogged by rumours of closure, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Falling roll numbers led to the general perception that closure was imminent; however, Principal Leonie Egan says that’s just not true.
Prior to Leonie’s arrival in January this year, the school was facing some huge issues. There was not a quality learning environment and the kids were missing out.
With Leonie’s arrival, the feeling in the school changed, resulting in happy kids who want to come to school.
“We are getting there, but it takes a while to change the community’s perception. A lot of people further afield had the notion that the school was going to close. We are far from closing. The biggest battle is letting everyone know that the school is no longer what it was.”
Leonie says she finds it difficult getting prospective families in the door.
“If you can’t get them in the door, you’ve lost the battle before you even begin. We’ve had some big community events, like the tapas evening. We ended up with 130 people attending, the hall was bulging, but it was a great opportunity for the children to share their learning.”
Leonie says there have been a lot of “whiz bang things” going on and that helps to change the perception.
“You need to get out there and promote what you are doing.”
Prior to her arrival at Sherenden and Districts School, Leonie taught at Peterhead School in Flaxmere for almost nine years. During that time, she attended many professional development courses that equipped her with all the skills needed to take the country school into the future.
“Armed with all the right tools, you can make a really big difference.”
She says moving to a small country school provided her with the opportunity to get involved in management and make changes.
“This school was the ideal place because it had hit rock bottom, and that left it open for me to pick it up and run with fresh new ideas.”
Leonie says it’s been a big team drive for the kids to get to where they are now, and it’s not something
Photo captions –
Children out fishing on the Senator Cat as part of their EOTC week. Students enjoy their time at school, they strive to achieve through opportunities they experience both in and outside the classroom. ERO October 2008.
Katrina Nelson, Hunter van der Jagt, Kimberley Weir, Paula-Kayte Shannon, and Jack McGhie in front, proudly tend to the school’s vegetable garden. They are eagerly awaiting the end of the year when they have a feast planned.