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Our School & History

Our School & History

Restorative Practice

Restorative Practice is about building and restoring relationships. There are two parts to the Restorative Practice plan at Bell Block School. Firstly, we build the school culture so that we all have the skills we need to relate effectively to others. Secondly, we have processes to solve our problems. Restorative Practice is the foundation of the whole school culture at Bell Block School.

Whānau Groups

Each class is allocated to a whānau group within the school. These four whānau – Pīwaiwaka, Takahē, Kōtuku and Kererū are the basis for some of our school activities and include students from all age groups as well as an opportunity for interaction with staff from other areas of the school. A whānau shield is presented to the winning whānau at the end of each year.

Celebration Assemblies

Celebration assemblies occur fortnightly on Fridays at 2pm, and whānau are welcome to attend. Students have the opportunity to perform or share work with the school, their achievements are celebrated, and Triple A Awards are presented.  We welcome parents/whānau to attend as often as they can.

Performing Arts

There are a number of opportunities available in the Performing Arts, which currently include whole school singing, choir, orchestra and a jump jam performance group. There are also opportunities to learn a musical instrument with after school providers.

School Production

Every alternate year the school produces a major musical production which involves the whole school. Our last two productions were Alice in Wonderland and Madagascar Jnr. We are always very proud of our students’ performance.

Māori Culture

All classes integrate Te Reo Māori as part of the regular school programme. Overnight and day visits to our local marae on alternating years are included in class programmes.

Kapa Haka

Kapa haka is provided for Senior and Intermediate students at Bell Block School.  Through learning te reo and tikanga together and practising and performing together, our four groups, their tutors and teachers involved all contribute positively to the cohesion in our school community. Each group performs throughout the year at school and out in the community. We are working hard towards the Tātarakihi and Puanga festivals later in the year with the help of Whaea Raewyn Ashby.

Intermediate Technology

In Years 7 & 8 students experience a range of Technology subjects. This year students will be engaging in Manufacturing, Hospitality, Visual Arts, Digital Technology, Performing Arts and Enterprise.

Outdoor Academy

Outdoor Academy is a way of recognising and providing opportunities for our Intermediate students who demonstrate and strive towards our school Vision, Triple A – Attitude/Ability/Action and our school motto, Kaha i ngā wā katoa – Our Best Always. Examples of these opportunities range from outings such as horse riding, archery, surfing, SUP, kayaking and learning to sail. These activities aim to help develop confidence and promote team building.

Intermediate Excellence Awards

These awards recognise, reward and encourage students who participate in school activities and contribute to school life. This is a two year programme in which students earn points for participation in each of the four areas: Academic, Cultural, Citizenship and Sports. When the required points are reached in each area a certificate is awarded. When all four certificates are earned, an Honours Badge is awarded.

School Camps

The Year 7/8 students take part in a bi-annual week long camp. Camps in recent years have included skiing on Mt Ruapehu and outdoor activities in and around Taupō.
The Year 5/6 students also have a camp every second year, often at Vertical Horizon.


We are fortunate to have daily use of the Bell Block Methanex Aquatic Centre in Term 1 and for a three week block in Term 4. All Bell Block School students swim at least twice a week during these terms. The teachers and teacher aides follow the State Kiwi Swim Safe programme to enable them to help our students become competent swimmers who enjoy the water.
In 2013 Bell Block School was the State Kiwi Swim School of the Year.

Parent App

The school parent portal is called @School Mobile and is our main form of communication.  When your child is enrolled, setup and login details will be emailed to you automatically.  If you require assistance to get started please contact the office or refer to the attached instructions.  The app can be used to submit an absence, sign permission slips, read newsletters, view reports and receive important communications from school.  Remember to turn on notifications so you don’t miss any important information relevant to your child/ren.

The school app can also be accessed via a website. If you do not have the app, use the ‘@school’ website to access school communications and stay informed: You will need your UserID and password to log in. If you do not have these, please email the office who will be happy to provide it to you.

Click here for app setup instructions: Parent App logo

International Competitions

Our most able students from Year 3 upwards can choose to participate in the International Competitions and Assessments (ICAS) in science, digital technology, english, spelling bee and mathematics. These competitions give students an opportunity to challenge themselves against others in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.


Our library is a hive of activity in the grounds of Bell Block School.
We have a wonderful collection of fiction, nonfiction, picture books, magazines and more.
It is a space where everyone is invited, it is cosy, comfortable, colourful and safe for every student at our school.

The library is open for scheduled classes throughout the day during term time and is available for visits during the morning tea and lunch time breaks. We have a range of activities during these times – colouring in, games, puzzles, audiobooks, story time and more where students can quietly catch up with friends or read the books they love!

We are lucky to have our collection online via our catalogue which is available for all students to access during school and outside of school hours. You can visit the catalogue by clicking on the image below:

If students would like to log into the catalogue online where they can see their current issues, previous issues and reserve books, they can see our Librarian Ms Manukonga in the library for this information.

Our School & History

School History

The name of Bell Block comes from Francis Dillon Bell (later Sir) who purchased the Bell Block land (1500 acres) in November 1848 from the local Puketapu people.

Formal schooling in Bell Block goes back 158 years. The settlers of the district first requested the Superintendent of the Province for a site for a chapel, school house and cemetery in September 1854. Grants for schools were unheard of then and a site for a chapel only given. The Primitive Methodists, who were the first to give any kind of education to the early settlers of New Plymouth, allowed the use of their chapel (built 1855) situated on the corner of the now Devon and Mangati Roads. They also helped in procuring a teacher, Mr Joseph King, from Sydney. Record of the actual opening date of the school appears to have been lost but in 1856 the roll was reported as 17.

In 1872 and under the Taranaki Education Reserve Act of 1871 a school was built on a triangular piece of land lying between what was then Chesney and Devon Roads approximately where the Middle team classrooms are now. It had two rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. In 1878 by another Act public education became “free, secular and compulsory” and was provided for from the general finance of the country in addition to educational endowments. 

By 1886 the original school was inadequate (roll 82) and the Education Board had a new one built. The old school was dismantled and removed for use elsewhere. The new school also had two rooms and a porch although the classes by now were combined with boys and girls no longer being kept in separate rooms. The grounds were not adequate for sports as part had to be used as a horse paddock where ponies were left while the children were at school.

In 1935 the Education Board finally decided to make a grant for more playing fields and in 1936 a large area on the northern side of Chesney Street was purchased, the street closed and a large playing area made.

In 1952 Fitzroy School was becoming overcrowded as for nearly 10 years previously Hillsborough and Tarurutangi Schools had been closed and students bused to it. The Education Board decided to build a new modern school at Bell Block and bus the students here instead. The building of 1886 was shifted to a position near the entrance to the school grounds. A small swimming pool for learners was opened in November 1952.

With the population of Bell Block growing rapidly, as many new areas of land were being subdivided into residential sections, this school too was soon inadequate and prefabricated buildings were brought in. In 1959 there was a roll of 280 pupils with 10 teachers. A new pool was constructed in 1968 and the old one demolished. This pool is still in use and is incorporated in the new complex built 1989/90. In 1973 the combined school and community hall was opened.

In 1978 the roll was 609 with 20 teachers and 19 classrooms in use. In 1979 the roll was nearly 700. This was alleviated with the opening of Puketapu School in 1980 and the roll dropped back to 554, and has decreased further with changing population patterns. The roll has risen over the last five years and is now governed by an enrolment policy. Over the last few years we have added a new sand pit and an adventure playground.

A PTA was formed in 1993 to coordinate educational, social and fundraising activities within the school community.

The school is well established and set in attractive and well cared for grounds. Historically, Bell Block School has been noted for its achievement in academic, social, cultural and sporting fields with past pupils often featuring prominently at New Plymouth Girls’ and Boys’ High Schools and Inglewood High School, tertiary organisations and beyond.