News, Events and Culture

Somerset Crescent School

The 'We ROCK' School

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 Rangitāne, although our students are from
many different iwi. We have affiliations with St Michael's Marae,
the Highbury Whānau 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 George Parkyn One Day School, the Public Health Nurse and
School Doctor, and a variety of other services.
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 roll is approximately 51% Maori, 27% Pacific Island and 22%
Pakeha/ European. This is an exciting mix which enables us to have
a strong cultural and performing arts factor. Our students
take part in after-school sporting activities, some run by the
school and some by the sports clubs. We run two main cultural
clubs: the Hau Pihi Kapahaka Group and Pacific Pride, while at the
same time other children participate in the Music/ Choir, Dance,
Computer and Technical & Gardening clubs.
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 & physical education and
social skills. There are several computers and laptops in every
classroom. All children learn computer and technology skills and
most learning activities are very "hands-on".
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. Current staffing allows for 11
teachers: 9 classroom teachers with the Deputy Principal and
Principal in "walking" positions. This enables us to carry out
excellent classroom and professional development programmes and
mentor teachers. We also employ two part time 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
goalsetting, individualised learning, and achievement. We report to
parents frequently in several different ways.
Other features of the school are its special programmes which
include ESOL, literacy enrichment & extension, literacy and
maths remedial workshops, Perceptual Motor Programme, Junior
Discovery programme, leadership training for senior students, as
well as projects linked to community groups.
We are currently developing a Technology Room with some special
funding so students can carry out cooking and other technology
activities. All Years 4 - 6 students are part of the Junior
Neighbourhood Support scheme, which encourages and rewards acts of
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. We have recently added Wii software and a screen
for interactive learning. The staffroom is equipped for
professional development with a digital projector and screen. 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 a teacher resource room and an art storage room. Our
large school hall is useful for assemblies and other school
We employ 13 teacher aides. This enables every classroom to have
teacher aide assistance during literacy time, and for some special
In addition we have a cold-water swimming pool which is open for
4 months of the year.
We have three long-standing BOT members plus a newer parent rep
and staff rep. Our executive members have special expertise in
finance and property. Staff and Principal have an excellent
relationship with the Board.