About Us

About Kelburn Normal School

Kelburn Normal is a vibrant, creative and highly regarded primary school, situated in an attractive suburb on the fringes of Wellington’s cultural and business centre.

It is a full primary, with a roll of up to 350 children aged from 5 to 13 years.

The school has a strong commitment to high standards of literacy and numeracy, as well as providing opportunities to extend students, by developing their:

• creative skills through performing and visual arts, music, and second languages

• physical skills through a wide range of sporting options

• deeper thinking skills, through programmes and classes run for specific groups and school wide.


Kelburn Normal students are known for their ability to articulate and communicate ideas, for outstanding academic achievement, creativity, leadership and willingness and ability to participate in a range of activities. Information literacy and enhancement of students’ thinking skills are school wide goals.

Class sizes range from about 20 to 30 children. However, junior school classes are kept to smaller numbers where possible. Most classes are composite and contain a spread of personalities and abilities.

The great majority of students identify themselves as NZ European/Pakeha, with the balance of the roll small numbers of Maori, Asian and new immigrants or temporary residents. The roll includes some overseas students, predominantly from Korea, who enjoy a comprehensive and focused programme of studies within their class and during sessions with our ESOL specialist.

Kelburn Normal offers a range of extension classes as well as specialist programmes in the arts. There are also a number of special needs students, and support is provided as appropriate.


The staff are highly valued, professional and dedicated. In addition to delivering a well-rounded academic calendar, they contribute to an extensive array of extra-curricular activities. These include a wide range of sports, four choirs, an orchestra, band, drama, chess and gardening clubs.

The school has 13 classrooms, divided into four syndicates. Classroom teachers are supported by specialist drama, dance, music and ESOL teachers. The school has a director of performing arts who also teaches extension English classes. The Deputy Principal has many roles which include responsibility for pastoral care throughout the school and is often involved directly in the classroom supporting teaching and learning programmes.

The school also has a part-time teacher librarian who specialises in guided enquiry, two part-time teacher aides, two office staff and a caretaker.

School Activity

A typical year at Kelburn Normal School would include:

• Education Outside the Classroom

• Guided Inquiry Learning – school wide, all year round

• Science Fair

• Perceptual Motor Programme (yrs 1-4)

• Cross Country (yrs 4-8)

• Swimming Sports (yrs 4-8)

• Athletics Day (yrs 3-8)

• Western Zones sports (yrs 4-8)

• Technicraft (yrs 7&8)

• Performing Arts production (yrs 1-4 or yrs 5-8, rotating annually)

• Camp (yrs 5&6, 7&8)

• Shakespeare Night (every second year, performed by seniors)

• Musical Refreshment (public recital performed by three choirs, musicians and orchestra, plus musical instrument teachers)

• Visiting speakers and performances

• Mandarin lessons

• Kapa Haka

• Chess Club, including regional competitions

• Gardening Club

• Netball

• Gymnastics

• Talent Quest & Mini Fair

• PTA community and fundraising events


Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard, IPADS, Google Chromebooks and other devices for student use.   There are netbook pods  which are used on a daily basis throughout the school.  Teachers also have individual laptops and tablets for classroom use.  BYOD will soon be a feature of classroom programmes.  It's an exciting time at KNS technology wise! 

The Arts

The school continues to develop performing arts. We have specialist music, drama and dance teachers, four choirs, an orchestra and a band.

The school provides facilities for private music teachers and offers students options for school time tuition in a number of instruments, including piano, violin, voice, flute, recorder, guitar, trumpet and cello.

Future development of visual arts is planned.

Normal School Function

The term "normal school" originated in France in the early 19th century (école normale). The French concept was to provide a model school with model classrooms to teach model teaching practices to its student teachers. Its purpose was to establish teaching standards or norms.

As a normal school, Kelburn Normal benefits from some staffing, salary and funding advantages. In return, the school meets requests for the placement of teacher trainees for varying periods of time for teaching experience, microteaching visits and demonstration lessons.

Staff also work with Victoria University (formerly the Wellington College of Education) to develop effective teacher trainee programmes and to assess and evaluate the progress of trainees.

While other schools also perform many of these functions, the Normal school’s involvement is more frequent and intense.

Staff appointed to the school must have the skills and commitment to meet the requirements of the special feature of the school.


The school currently comprises four buildings. The main block houses the administration services, eleven single-cell classrooms, five shared group teaching rooms, a library, music suite and a centrally located resource storage area. This block was built on a steep slope, and so the northern end of the building is three storeys high.

The other buildings comprise the school hall and the junior reception block of two classrooms and related administration and storage areas.

Play areas are mainly hard surfaces on several levels, linked by steps. A recent addition has been an area of poly grass which has proved to be very popular with the students. There is also an adventure playground located in a steep gully and a large grass area down in The Glen. The PTA has an ongoing project to return the gully area to native bush and this area also has a teaching space.

We are fortunate to have an outdoor stage and seating arena for public performances.


Kelburn Normal was established in 1914. It was built at the same time as the original Wellington Teachers’ Training College, also located in Kowhai Road, Kelburn. This established a strong link between the school and its teacher education function.

In 1970 the school was rebuilt on the same site, while the Wellington College of Education relocated to its current campus in Karori. A Visual Resource Centre was built on the old College site.

The school has just celebrated its centenary this year.