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  • Description of Nelson Central
  • History
  • Basic Philosophy
  • Starting School
  • Term Dates
  • Wider School Community
  • Parents Expectations
  • Programmes
  • School Charter
  • Governance Manual
  • Board of Trustees
  • Board of Trustees Meeting Schedule
  • Staff
  • Vacancies

Nelson Central School is a state primary school contributing pupils to Nelson Intermediate School and Nelson College Preparatory Schools.

Front of School

Nelson Central School is a central city school established in 1878 and is confined to a single site. The roll currently ranges between 400 and 490 with around seventy five year old enrolments each year. Almost all new entrants have one to two years in an early childhood education facility. These include kindergartens, playcentres, Montessori pre-schools, creches and day care centres as well as kohanga reo. Transition to school is aided by close liaison and pre-enrolment visits.

Population mobility is a factor which needs to be taken into consideration in each year's organisation. Up to 40% of the total roll can change in any one year. Short term enrolments are common.

The school population is a broad cross-section of the total Nelson socio-economic population with no group predominating. The number of Māori children enrolled at the school is proportionately greater than would be expected given the total Māori population in Nelson city.

Bi-lingual classes are available for any student and whānau members who wish to learn in English and Māori.



The first Europeans entered Nelson Haven in October 1841. Five months later, "in a house built of toi toi" the first school was opened. At the end of the year, the school attended by 120 children, was moved to a specially built school-room in Tasman Street.

By 1878, education in the settlement of Nelson was flourishing. Seven schools, under the governance of the Town Schools Committee, contributed to the beginning of Nelson Central School. Boys and girls were taught at separate schools until 1927 when children were encouraged to enrol at the school nearest their home.

The site of the present school was purchased in 1893. Some thought that at 1,600 pound the 2-acre property was too expensive, but is was the site finally chosen. Renwick House and surrounding grounds (the back field was then a bowling green), were vested in the Nelson Education Board "for the purpose of a public school" following the death of Mrs Renwick. Shortly after, in 1939 it became part of Nelson Central School. Renwick House

J G Gibbs was the first headmaster of Nelson Central Boys School as it was then named. At this time there were 304 pupils on the roll and might be up to 80 children in a class. They sat in pairs, in four rows of desks, running ten deep. Gibbs was an outstandingly gifted headmaster who was keen on informal teaching and out-of-school activities. He was often seen walking in the playground followed by a trail of children chanting their spelling and times tables at him.
He often gave inspiring nature lessons. Gibbs, a keen tree planter, recorded in his diary that the lime trees, an appreciated feature of our school today, were planted at the end of June 1895.

Nelson Central School gained its present name with the enrolment of both boys and girls in 1927. The newly constituted school was made up of the main building in Nile Street which took Standards 3-6 and two side schools; Brook Street, Standards 1 and 2 and Tasman Street which housed the infants.

There were further problems as the main building in Nile Street was already overcrowded and difficult to heat. Brook Street School was inadequate and there was talk about closing it. Upon further investigation, parts of the main building were found to be decayed and weakened by the Murchison earthquake.

A decision was made in favour or rebuilding the main school. The local MP, Mr Harry Atmore, was also Minister of Education and a strong advocate. In October 1929, Cabinet approved the new school and made a grant. The lowest tender to build the new school was accepted at 5.890 pounds and in December 1929, the old building was demolished. In March 1930, Harry Atmore laid the foundation stone of the new building. He gave a long address in which he advised the children to "clean your teeth and keep your muscles in good order by running about". He then allowed them a holiday on the following day.

The new building was finished nearly four months later and officially opened on 23rd June 1930. Allowing for alterations, it is the building we have today.

Tasman Street infant School moved to Nelson Central and was fully integrated by the last term of 1980. Rooms 15 and 16 were moved to the school from the Tasman Street site. These rooms now house Te Pouahi, the bi-lingual Māori/English language unit which began in 1985.

With the development of "Tomorrow's Schools" in June 1989 come the election of the first Board of Trustees, the drawing up of the Charter and Mission Statement, and the adoption of the school logo which we carry today. In 1996 Renwick House was refurbished, in character with its original style and reopened as three classrooms with the teaching resource facilities upstairs. 1997 has seen, with the increased staff numbers and administration load, the construction of an enlarged staffroom and extended office facilities.

Our school has moved forwards to maintain its recognition as an active and progressive inner city school, with a challenging and happy learning environment for the children, who are, as always, the primary focus of our school.

Taken from:- 1878-1978 NELSON CENTRAL SCHOOL - A History by Maurice Gee.

The welfare, respect, education and growth of the child will be central to all the school's operations. Individual differences in relation to needs, intellectual attainment, physical ability, emotional development and social competency will be recognised and catered for in school and classroom programmes.

Fostering a positive self-esteem and a respect for others is seen as being crucial in all aspects of the school's pursuits. Establishing clear objectives, selecting appropriate learning experiences and resources and carrying out intensive evaluation, often in conjunction with the learner, will be developed as being central to effective learning.

Striving for personal excellence (Aim High/Ki Runga Rawa) will be encouraged and acknowledged. A high degree of self discipline will be expected and positive and supportive steps will be taken to ensure that children make steady growth towards this.

Aim High

School Visits

Starting school is a special and unique time for you, your child and your family. Sometimes this can be a slightly daunting process. The transition from home and pre-school is eased by the opportunity for you and your child to visit in the four weeks preceding his or her birthday. These visits are held on Friday mornings, three visits from 8.55 a.m. until 10.30 a.m. and the fourth visit is from 8.55am until approximately 1pm. This fourth visit offers your child an opportunity to stay for lunch and experience a whole morning at school. These visits are valuable because they provide an opportunity for your child to spend time in the classroom familiarizing themselves with the teacher and the other students. You and your child are welcome to stay during the morning interval on the first three visits. We prefer that younger siblings don't attend these visits. Please discuss any difficulties with this arrangement. Five year old children begin school in the Kowhai Syndicate which is the group of Year 0 / 1 classes based in or near historic Renwick House at the rear of the school. Please note that additional visits can be arranged if needed - please contact the classroom teacher to arrange this.

Parent Information Sessions

During the school visits your child will go with the class to the Kowhai Syndicate assembly from 10 a.m. - 10.30 a.m., and you will have the opportunity to gather with the other parents and one of the syndicate teachers for an informal parent information session. Topics covered include discussions about the school curriculum, how you can help your child settle into school and some of the things to expect in those early weeks. It is a time for you to meet us and other parents and ask any questions you may have. We enjoy the chance to meet with you.

First Day at School

Both parents and children can be nervous about the first day, but a blend of family warmth and encouragement plus a matter-of-fact "we know you can do it" positive attitude can greatly help the initial process. Your child will be supported by classmates and the teacher through the settling in period. We recognise that you know your child best and we want you to feel reassured that your child's teacher is trained and experienced at guiding children into school.

Junior PlaygroundAdventure Playground

Year 0 - Year 1 students have a separate playground.
They are also able to play in all playground areas.


Please name them. It's a tremendous help to teachers and children if they are. Velcro and buckle shoes are easier than laces for young children. Layered clothes are best in our Nelson climate as it can get quite hot in the middle of the day.

School bags and lunch

School bags need to be big enough for swimming togs, home pack, clothing and a lunch box. If children help to pack their bags they learn some independence and also know what is in it.
A named lunch box and plastic water bottle are a great idea. The Kowhai Syndicate children eat separately from the rest of the school in a supervised area. Children are encouraged to take uneaten lunches home.

2013 Term Dates

Term 1 starts Wednesday 30 January
Term 1 finishes Friday 19 April
Term 2 starts Monday 6 May
Term 2 finishes Friday 12 July
Term 3 starts Monday 29 July
Term 3 finishes Friday 27 September
Term 4 starts Monday 14 October
Term 4 finishes Wednesday 18 December

2014 Term Dates

Term 1 starts Tuesday 4th February
Term 1 finishes Thursday 17 April
Term 2 starts Monday 5 May
Term 2 finishes Friday 4 July
Term 3 starts Monday 21 July
Term 3 finishes Friday 26 September
Term 4 starts Monday 13 October
Term 4 finishes Friday 19 December

Public Holidays During Term Time
Waitangi Day 6 February (Thursday)
Anzac Day 25 April (Friday)
Queen's Birthday 2 June (Monday)
Labour Day - 27 October (Monday)


Nelson Central School's community is concentrated into five distinct geographical regions:

  1. City
  2. Wood area
  3. Brook Valley
  4. Maitai Valley
  5. Atawhai

Some children who live outside these general areas attend the school. Reasons for this are:

  • Bi-lingual classes
  • Parent involvement in central city, activities such as Polytechnic
  • Parental preference

These factors mean that the school community is widely dispersed and that establishing a "sense of community" is not aided by pockets of valley settlement separated by hills.

There is also diversity in occupational groups, socio-economic strata and composition of family groups. These reflect the full range present in the general population without any noticeable group predominating. This diversity does not contribute to significant stratification.


The location of the school means that a wide range of community facilities are easily accessible to the school and its classes - both for in-school support or as the focal point for educational visits. All classes will make use of the community and its resources as in integral part of class programmes. The school too plays a role in providing community groups, often unrelated to the school, with meeting facilities, a platform for observation and study, a means of realising or assisting with their objectives, and/or the beneficiary of their good works.


Indications are that the parent-body find the school open to them in respect to a variety of facets. Many respond positively to calls for assistance, invitations to meet, suggestions to assist their children, requests to be involved in decision-making, and opportunities to express their point of view.

Teachers are generally seen to be accessible and supportive and there are many parents who demonstrate a commitment and loyalty to the staff and the school in many spheres. These attitudes are seen as important in maintaining and nurturing close school/community relationships and support mechanisms. Valuing parent involvement is evident.

Parent expectations of the school are naturally individual in character and relate very much to the needs, abilities and interests of the child. Most appear to expect the school to be welcoming and friendly with approachable staff members who respect children as individuals. They generally appear to expect the teachers to be competent, professional, and organised.

Opportunities to be actively involved in their children's education, consulted about programme or organisational changes, and informed about progress and matters of concern are often seen as rights. Academic competence appears to be strongly valued but not at the expense of personal happiness, social skills or a positive self esteem.

Competence in 'basic' areas of the curriculum is usually identified as a primary task of the school. Maintaining a balance with cultural, aesthetic, social, and physical activities to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes also appears to be given importance. Parents also support the school in providing direct experiences as a basis for learning. Being part of a school drawing on a diversity of social, cultural and family background appears to be recognised as a strength by many.

For a significant number of parents the opportunity for children, particularly Māori, the opportunity to learn, use and value te reo Māori and tikanga Māori is a high priority. Parents seem to judge the school on the successes it achieves with their child. They demonstrate an expectation that their child learn skills of communication, numeration, self reliance, self-discipline, initiative and perseverance. They appear to see the need for their child to learn how to learn and to want to learn. They expect the child to feel secure, recognised and confident in the activities and context of the school.

They expect that the 'whole child' will demonstrate growth in response to the school's teaching and learning programmes engendering respect for others and the environment is also often given prominence by many.

These expectations emphasise the centrality of the child in all that the school does.



Tena koutou and greetings from your newly elected Board of Trustees. We wanted to let you know who we are, and to really encourage you to make contact with any of us if you have any questions or concerns about the school. The Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for the running of the school, so it is crucial that we know what our parents think.

I have been on the Board since being co-opted on in mid-2012, and Chairperson since the beginning of 2013. My daughter Lily has attended Nelson Central since late 2012, and my youngest son Otis is waiting in the wings at Brook Street Kindergarten. I think Nelson Central is a fantastic school with amazing teachers, excellent management and a wonderful setting. I work as a Senior Education Advisor for Nelson Tasman Kindergartens, and I am a Doctor of Philosophy in Education. I am pleased to be involved with the Board and humbled by the opportunity to serve as Chairperson. This is a great school and it is an honour to be involved.


Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au!
Ko Ruapehu raua ko Tauakira oku maunga
Ko Whanganui raua ko Mangawhero oku awa
Ko Pamoana te tangata
Ko Koriniti raua ko Otoko oku marae
Ko Paul Potaka toku ingoa
Tihei mauriora !
No Whanganui toku kainga tuturu ahakoa, ko Whakatu toku kainga inaianei.

I am in my 14th year as principal of Nelson Central School and it feels as if I started only yesterday! Prior to this I was principal of Fergusson Intermediate in Upper Hutt, a liaison officer and policy analyst with the Ministry of Education and District Adviser on Reading with the Department of Education. I have also held principalships in Whanganui and Otago and have also taught in Southland. My wife Lynne works as a teachers’ aide at Maitai School. We have two daughters living in Singapore; one teaches in an International School with her husband and the other works in finance with her husband. We have two grandchildren – a daughter (3 yrs) to one daughter and a son (11 mths) to the other. My aspiration for the school is to be forever on the cutting edge while maintaining our grounding in reality.


I was first co-opted onto the Board in June 2009 to take over the Property and Grounds portfolio from a departing member of the board. My background in engineering and construction made for a smooth transition into the role, and since this time I have been involved in the remodeling of the Art Centre, Room 10 and the additional new entrant classroom. My husband and I operate a construction project management company in Nelson and our three sons, Lochie, Aulay and Dylan attend Nelson Central School in years 5,3,and 1.


I have two children at Central School, Will in Room 13, and Ed in Room 11, and I am married to Susannah Roddick. My experience since the boys started their education at Central has been extremely positive and I am grateful for the chance to be more involved in school life through the Board of Trustees. I work as a publisher, and am a co-owner and the Executive Director of Craig Potton Publishing here in Nelson.





I am originally from the UK and moved to Nelson in 2008 with my partner and our two daughters Eva, who is in Room 4 and Sylvie, who is in Room 7. I worked as a secondary school teacher before retraining over 15 years ago as a social worker. I have worked in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. Since coming to Nelson I have worked for the District Health Board as an Alcohol and Drug Clinician and more recently for the youth mentoring programme, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson.
I am new to the Board of Trustees and feel excited by the opportunity to become more involved in the life of Nelson Central. I am passionate about the role of the school in meeting the needs of individual students and in building a strong and inclusive community.


I have been the Staff Trustee on the Board since 2011. I am part of the Kowhai Syndicate and teach a Year 0-1 class in Room 10. My role is to represent staff opinion on the Board and to provide a channel for communication between the Board and staff. I started my teaching career 22 years ago in the UK where I was also a staff rep for the school's Governing Body. I then taught in British schools in Romania and Cambodia before finally settling here in Nelson. As well as teaching I am currently studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching with an endorsement in Autism.


Term 1

Term 2


Meeting 1
8 February

Meeting 2
15 March

Meeting 3
17 May

Meeting 4
21 June

Student Achievement

2011 curriculum targets set

Special needs

Student achievement report

Management report on Heath & Physical Education

Strategic Decisions

Election of Chairperson

Approve  endorse  annual plan  priorities for 2011
Approve  endorse Strategic Plan for 2010-2013
Communication plan

2010 auditor’s report accepted


Strategic Discussions

Review of  NCS strategic/annual plan 2010 – 2013
Governing the School

Management report on Leading and Managing  the School
Management report on improvements to student achievement data

Building development and grounds plan

Management report on implementation of NZ curriculum

Monitoring – Self-Review

Update on building development
Compliance Term 4

National standards implementation
Plan for Self Review

Update 5-year property plan
Compliance Term 1
Science and Technology

National standards – update

Key Competencies

Board Admin

Update on potential  marae noho with Te Pouahi Whanau


Professional development for BOT

STA conference Auckland  confirm attendance for 22 to 24 July 2012


Term 3

Term 4


Meeting 5
16 August

Meeting 6
20 Sept

Meeting 7
26 Oct

Meeting 8
15 Nov

Meeting 9
13 Dec

Student Achievement

Management report on E-learning

Management report on arts / music / cultural and sports


Student achievement report
Special needs

Review 2011 curriculum targets
2012 curriculum targets

Strategic Decisions

Priorities for 2012 annual plan



Set goals for principal 2012


Strategic Discussions

Management report on self-review

Management report on Maori education strategy for mainstream
Management report on  Te Pouahi

Review of 2012 staffing and roll implications
Management report on attendance
Mngmnt. report on bullying

Meeting with Runanga Mātua
Meeting  with School Community Group

BOT Self-review   2011
Set calendar plan for 2012
Draft budget

Monitoring – Self-Review

Parent survey
Report on Student management & engagement
Report on engaging parents and whanau
Compliance Term 2

Principal’s appraisal process
National standards progress update

Compliance Term 3


Principal’s appraisal
Effective Teaching