New Hampstead head at helm

Happy principal at happy Hampstead ... Claudine Campbell has taken on the role of principal at Hampstead School.

Hampstead School principal Claudine Campbell has spent the first few days of her new
tenure sorting through covid protocols for the school.

It’s a minefield and a moving situation, one made more important with covid confirmed in Mid Canterbury.

Mrs Campbell started the school year as acting principal, before officially taking over the hot seat left by former principal Peter Melrose, who stepped down at the end of last year.

She found out about her successful appointment to the role last week.

However stepping up from her role as the school’s assistant principal she is already well-versed with the workings of ‘Happy Hampstead’ to use in the top job.

And so far she has loved being on the other side of the desk.

Sorting through covid protocols for the school has been a minefield and a moving situation, especially with cases confirmed in Mid Canterbury.

She knows the pupils and staff, has worked alongside Mr Melrose for the past five years and has working relationships among those in the school community.

The school has a roll of around 330, likely to be around 400 by the end of the year.

It’s a community Mrs Campbell has loved since she first visited more than five years ago.

Her past experience has included teaching at Ashburton Borough School’s Lagmhor site, Methven Primary School and Southbridge School.

“I knew it was the place I wanted to be,” she said, of Hampstead.

“The kids are so grateful for everything and welcoming to others,” she said.

“It really felt welcoming.”

The school term has started with some covid-related precautions in place such as pupils Year 4 and above wearing masks, staggered finishing times, and gate access, for pupils to prevent congestion, and close contact prevention including classroom Zoom assemblies
rather than in person.

There has also been plenty of information gone out to parents and caregivers.

The nice thing about assemblies is we can see each other and learn about what others are doing in their class spaces, Mrs Campbell said.

Despite them being online through Zoom, they still had a pupil of the week, announced new pupils and took the time to come together as a school.

There had been challenges getting covid protocols in place, and information out to
parents and caregivers, in preparation for cases within the school community.

But Mrs Campbell was confident what had been set up would keep children as safe as
could be, and allow pupils to continue learning, with plans for at home learning, if needed.

It has been made easy and everyone can access it when needed, she said.

Keeping Happy Hampstead as a positive place for children to come and learn is important
to Mrs Campbell, regardless of what was going on in their lives.

‘‘I always want it to be a happy place for kids to come to,’’ she said.

She is also looking forward to a time when masks will not be needed, and she can spend
more time in classes seeing the pupils in person.

Born and raised in Lincoln, Mrs Campbell went to University of Canterbury.

She is married to David, who is also a teacher but at Methven Primary School. They have
three children.