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Henderson South School


The school integrated its annual Meet the Parent night with an Aquatics Night where students and their families were encouraged to participate in activities involving water.


Aim/Focus: Community

  • To develop positive parent/student attitudes towards aquatics.


In recent years, a lot of students at Henderson South School did not participate in the Aquatics Programme in term 1 of the school year. This was shown by annual reports indicating that teachers could not fully report on students’ abilities in the water. The need to improve attitudes towards aquatics became a whole school and community focus.

Process undertaken

A plan was developed in consultation with school staff/Team Solutions and Sport Waitakere. This long-term plan identified three goals that Henderson South wanted to focus on during 2007. One of these was the goal to develop positive parent/student attitudes towards aquatics, and from this, a short-term plan was developed for the first term of 2007.

During term 1, the staff undertook professional development from outside agencies and from staff within the school. Appropriate resources were accessed and shared between staff members to ensure consistency and confidence for all teaching staff. The staff also monitored their own classes and reported regularly to School Community Physical Activity Project (SCPAP) Lead Teachers about students’ participation in the Aquatics Programme.

Surveys were used to collect evidence about student and parent attitudes, and experiences they have had with water. The information from these surveys was used to inform the current teaching practice and help with plans for future Aquatics Programmes.

The school integrated its annual Meet the Parent night with an Aquatics Night where students and their families were encouraged to participate in activities involving water. Our trip to the local pool showcased what students had learnt throughout the term.

All the information, video footage, and photos were used at the end of term to measure against the outcomes indicated on our long-term plan.

The facilitators from Team Solutions and Sport Waitakere worked alongside the SCPAP Lead Teachers and staff to support community events, staff development, and the teaching and learning programme.


The SCPAP Lead Teachers and facilitators organised professional development and information for staff, and planned for the community night in consultation with staff and students. They promoted aquatics using people, resources, and programmes throughout the term.

The teaching staff implemented a quality teaching and learning programme to motivate students and build their enthusiasm in the water. Our grounds man ensured our pool was ready to use at the beginning of the term, and tested the pool daily.

The students planned our community night, took part in the teaching and learning programme, and shared their thoughts and feelings about aquatics with their classroom teacher. The Board of Trustees members supported the initiative, and were aware of our long-term plan and the outcomes we were striving to achieve.

The community supported the community night and shared with staff and SCPAP Lead Teachers their feelings, experiences, and attitudes towards aquatics.

Lessons learnt

Regular communication with staff is essential. Discussion around student participation and involving them in the timetabling of class sessions is important. We need to talk to parents if students are not participating in the Aquatics Programme, as students will say anything if they are fearful of the water. Professional development needs to take place before the Aquatics Programme begins each year. We must continue to look after our caretaker, as he is the reason we are able to use our pool.


The people involved were our most utilised and valuable resources – people from outside agencies including Swim Safe New Zealand, Water Safe New Zealand, West Wave, Surf Lifesaving, Sport Waitakere, Team Solutions, SPARC, and so on. These people also provided us with other resources for the teaching and learning programme, aquatics promotion, and community night. People from the school community were an integral part of this process, including board members, families, staff, and students.


Our outcomes focused on participation by all students in the Aquatics Programme and involvement by parents to develop or maintain positive attitudes towards aquatics. Other outcomes ensured parents have a clear understanding of the Aquatics Programme and why we teach it at school. Outcomes also addressed co-curricular activities, and the pool environment being accessible and ready to use for teaching and learning programmes and at 'choice' times.


The surveys completed by parents showed that attitudes towards aquatics, and the teaching of aquatics, were already positively perceived and that it was the communication between school and home that needed to be strengthened. Phone conversations between a SCPAP Lead Teacher and parents supported this belief, as parents just needed to know when their child would be swimming and when they needed their togs. The specific focus and professional development enhanced the teaching and learning programme for our students and our teachers.


  • The teachers and their dedication to providing quality programmes.
  • The professional development given to staff on day 1 of the school year.
  • The 'people' factor – agencies, SCPAP team, staff, and students.
  • The community evening – sharing the focus with families through a practical session and an informative session.
  • The information we were able to collect and use to enhance our current and future Aquatics Programmes.