May 2018 Principal's Message

Kia Ora Tatou

Term 2 is now well underway.  I often think of this as the busiest term as it contains the winter sports programme which runs through to early term 3, the school production which has its gala night on Tuesday 29th May, the school ball on 9th June, as well as numerous other activities such as the Junior Triangular with Onslow and Tawa Colleges.  This term we also start getting reading for 2019 (how quickly it comes around) and we will be having our school in action, and open night on Thursday June 14.  While this is all going on there is plenty curriculum and assessment occurring so the students are fully engaged.

As mentioned, the school production Catch Me If You Can begins in two weeks’ time.  History tells us that there is a strong demand for tickets and in the past we have performed to sell out audiences, so if you plan on attending I would encourage you to purchase your tickets soon.  Catch Me If You Can like many musicals targets older audiences and is slightly risqué but it is not out of context and is appropriate for the 1960s setting.  Having watched the students rehearse at the production camp last week, I think the audience will be in for a good night’s entertainment

During the holidays we had two groups of students head off overseas.  One group went up to Rarotonga and were able to trace the origins of the historical Māori migration to New Zealand/Aotearoa by finding similarities in language, place names and culture.


 The other group headed to France where they were able to practice their French in a French context, and survive the usual French transport strikes.


Both groups had a fabulous time and thoroughly enjoyed their experiences.  At the end of the term we have the Basketball trip to the USA occurring, and the Arts trip to New York is also taking place.

I have been advised by the teacher’s union, the PPTA that they will be taking a Paid Union Meeting on Thursday 31st May.  This meeting is covered by the Employment Relations Act.  As a result there will be a normal timetable in the morning, although the periods will be shorter, and at 12:30pm, timetabled classes will conclude. After this the school will be open for supervision only. Students may go home and buses will be organised.  Students in our Learning Support Centre will have different arrangements (because of the taxis) and information regarding this can be found in the LSC newsletter.

The other key date for you to beware of is Queens Birthday weekend.  The school will be closed for Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th June.  Normal classes will resume on the Wednesday.

It would be most appreciated if you require to contact your son or daughter via text message or telephone call during the school day that you please do this during interval and lunchtimes. This will avoid a distraction during class time.

I hope that I will be able to see many of you at the production.

Nga Mihi Nui

Grant Jones


June 2018 Principal's Message

It has been a full on last couple of weeks with students participating in a wide variety of activities. The much mentioned Catch Me if you Can has been playing in front of full houses for each of its performances. So far, we have received many complimentary thank you e-mails and the students are very proud of the final product that they brought to the stage and they have had a wonderful time. Staff involved were: Craig Milmine and Jonathan Skinner as the Co-Directors, David Pegram as the Producer, Anthony Lander as the Music Director and many more. I would like to publically thank all of those staff involved so that our students could once again have such a fabulous experience.

The Queen’s Birthday weekend has come as a welcome break as many of our students are starting to succumb to winter’s coughs and colds.  However the school programme does not let-up much with plenty still coming up.  June 9th is the College Ball and this is definitely one of the highlights of the school calendar.  Once again we are at Te Papa a wonderful venue and I am sure a good time will be had by all.

We have been doing a lot of work reviewing our curriculum so that we can ensure that our students get the best possible education.  More recently this work has slowed as the Minister for Education announced that there was a review of NCEA to be undertaken.  It is hard to plan for something if you do not know what it is.   The initial thinking by the Minister’s reference group is:

  1. Reduce NCEA Level 1 to 40 internally-assessed credits with two parts – literacy and numeracy, and a project “driven by learners’ passions”.
  2. Tighten literacy and numeracy requirements, which students can currently meet by achieving many credits that are not directly related to English or maths; but also look at broadening the definition of “literacy” to include “digital, financial or civic literacy”.
  3. Require at least 20 out of the 80 credits needed for both Levels 2 and 3 to come from “pathways” such as trades courses, research projects and community work in partnership with outside employers, tertiary institutions and community groups.
  4. Reduce the huge number of small chunks of learning that now earn credits to a smaller number of larger chunks, encouraging schools and students to co-develop more coherent courses for each learner.
  5. Redesign what is now the NZ Qualifications Authority’s record of each student’s achievement to include extracurricular activities and community work, describing each student’s strengths and achievements in a format like a curriculum vitae (CV).
  6. Scrap NCEA and scholarship fees and extend special assessment conditions such as reader-writers to more students including those with English as a second language, to reduce barriers to passing NCEA.

Source: NZ Herald

There is a lot of interesting thinking in here and the college is already well down some of these paths with our Wa Ako and Active Learning.  Public consultation continues until September 16th.

Key Dates for Enrolments in 2018 for Students in 2019

On Thursday 14 June we are holding our ‘School in Action' morning and this will be followed on by an Open Evening. This is an ideal opportunity for anyone considering sending their son or daughter to the college to get a better sense of what it has on offer.

The School in Action starts at 9.15 am until 10.45am with families being met in the hall by student guides. The Open Evening will begin at 6.00 pm in the Hall followed by a tour of the school.

Please Note:  This year, for the first time all enrolment forms need to be completed on-line.  These can be found under the Enrolments         Enrolmnent Process on our Website

The enrolment timeline is as follows:

  • We would like all interviews for in-zone enrolments are to be completed by Friday 27th Please ring to make an appointment time. Dates for interviews are:
  • Friday 15 June 8.30 am – 3.30 pm
  • Monday 18 June: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm
  • Tuesday 19 June: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm
  • Wednesday 20 June: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm
  • Thursday 21 June: 8.30 am – 3.30 pm
  • Friday 22 June: 8.30 am – 3.30 pm

Year 9 Out of Zone Enrolments

  • Completed applications to be received by Monday 30 July 2017
  • Ballot for out of zone applications, notification of ballot results and acceptance of place offered via ballot will be advised following this date.

Year 10, 11, 12 and 13

  • Out of zone applications close Thursday 18 October 2018
  • Ballot held if required Monday 5 November 2018
  • Parents notified of outcome Wednesday 7 November 2018

Please also be aware that Parent/Teachers evenings are coming up on Thursday 21 June and Monday 25 June from 4.00-6.25 pm. Bookings can be made electronically and this information has already been advised to you.

Grant Jones


Near Misses with School Children on Train Tracks

We have received the following message.  Can you please discuss it with your son/daughter/ward.

There have been some near misses recently involving children crossing train tracks before and after school.  They all have one thing in common:  children aren’t expecting a “second train”.  In all of these recent near misses, bells and lights have still been operating, but because the first train has passed, students make the mistake of thinking it’s safe to cross. This can be extremely dangerous as the track crossings in areas with double tracks always have the potential for a second train to pass.  This link shows footage of one near miss:  As well as looking and listening before crossing, please make it clear to children that if bells and lights are going, it’s because a second train could be coming and it’s not safe to cross.  Thank you for your support in getting this safety message out to children.  For more information about safe behaviour around tracks and trains,

 Kirsty Barr | School Travel Coordinator

July 2018 Principal's Message

Kia Ora Tatou

The term is now drawing to a close and it has certainly been a busy one. The winter sports programme is now well advanced with most teams having approximately five to six weeks of play next term before the season ends with tournament week which starts on September 3rd. Earlier this week I farewelled our basketball players who are heading up to San Francisco and New York to be part of the summer training camps.  One student has never been on a plane before so a big adventure is about to be had.  Tuesday night we had the Winter Wander where our music, art and drama students performed before family and friends.  Some of them will leave this Saturday on huge adventure as they too, head off to New York.

Another highlight was our school ball which was a huge success.  Often in the media we hear about school balls and things that go wrong.  This was certainly not the case for us, and it never has been.  It was a night of celebration and our students certainly seemed to have a great night out.

We recently had two days off timetable so that our students could pursue their active learning projects that they had been planning during the term.  All manner of projects were completed, everything from cleaning up a beach, creating You Tube clips of things such as, How to get your Scooter License, baking cakes to sell for charity, as well as creating apps, and learning Korean.  We will be having a display night scheduled for the middle of next term.  It will be well worth visiting as project based learning is one of the key features that is currently being discussed as part of the NCEA review.

As you will be aware I will be away on sabbatical starting August 6th.  Deb King will be Principal (Acting) while I am away and Susan MacDiarmid will become the Acting Deputy Principal.  Mr Pegram and Ms Mills, current Deputy Principals will complete the Senior Management Team.  I will return on Monday November 12

This week we have also been celebrating Matariki which is a special time of the year.  It is nice to think the days will now start getting longer.  As part of our celebration our students raised some money so that we could plant 9 Pukapuka trees.  This grove will represent Pleiades and serve as a special part of the entrance to the school

We have a big term coming up after the break.  Please check the calendar for the end of the winter sports season, senior assessment week and the NOSCARS. It is also the time when the students will start selecting their subjects for next year.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ablaze who has provided us with considerable support in providing laboratory safety equipment.

I hope that you all have a good break.

Nga Mihi Nui

Grant Jones

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