Margaret Dodds, Waitaha School Principal, and Sean Bailey, Lemonwood Grove Principal, share a collaborative staff artwork

Lemonwood Grove thriving

by Mike Isle

Selwyn’s education community is thriving. This week, we turn to the other new school — Lemonwood Grove — under the charge of its principal Sean Bailey.

Lemonwood Grove School — Te Uru Tarata, has been opened for nearly two years to cater for the growth in the south-east part of Rolleston, part of the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Programme to incorporate the latest educational research and principles around effective learning environments. Stage one has spaces for 450 learners — the eventual capacity will be 750.

The school’s curriculum is framed around a clear vision “The best of you, as you.” Sean Bailey says it allows learners to follow their own personalised pathways based on needs, passions and interests. These pathways are supported by the school’s four values: Grit, Integrity, Responsibility and Thinking.

Lemonwood Grove shares its site with Waitaha, a special education school. It is the first time the Ministry of Education has built two new schools together. Although they both have their own principals and boards of trustees, there are many opportunities to collaborate.

Sean sees his biggest challenge is roll growth and making sure all the great systems and structures that have been established so far continue, especially around developing a strong school culture.

He believes one of the most important factors to a school’s success is building strong learner-centred relationships with learners and their families.