27 September 2019

September 27th 2019

Whiria te tangata

(weave the people together)

Kia Ora Tatou

Term 3 has now finished, and for our seniors, this will only leave just over two weeks next term before they go off on study leave and sit their NCEA external examinations. For some of our students, particularly those with high internal assessment components in their course of study, they have already completed their qualifications.  For others they are extremely close, so a carefully planned end of the year study programme is essential if they are going to enjoy a successful end of the year.

We have achieved a tremendous amount this term, derived grade examinations have given the students a good idea of where they are up to with their learning, the NOSCARS, an annual event supported by over 600 attendees, the ski trip, the end of the winter sports season, tournament week, Year 11 semi-formal, the list goes on.  I would encourage you to look carefully at the events calendar for the start of next term when we will be celebrating our students’ successes in a variety of forums and prize-givings.  These are well worth attending.

I was interested to read about the debate regarding the teaching (or lack of) New Zealand history, and that by 2022 that the teaching of New Zealand history will “no longer be left to chance”. My teaching area is the Social Sciences and throughout my career, New Zealand history has always had a strong presence.  Topics include: Tangatawhenua (people of the land), Tauiwi (people who came later), Te Triti o Waitangi, Challenge and Crises (e.g Bastion Point, Springbok Tour of 1981and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior), more contemporary issues such as the protests at Ihumatao and the New Zealand system of government.  I cannot of course generalise that this happens in all schools throughout New Zealand but I would be surprised if it didn’t.  I suspect though, that it is not so much topics that are taught, but more about the interpretation of the history, whose interpretation it is and how well balanced is it.  It will be interesting to see what the new curriculum looks like.

Next term we go into summer uniform, this means that the seniors will no longer need to wear their blazer and ties.  Beanies are no longer to be worn as the weather is warmer.  A reminder though that for our formal occasions such as prize-givings, students are expected to be in the dress uniform which does include the blazer and tie, as well as tights for girls.

I would like to pass a comment about vaping. On the Ministry of Education website, Dr. Murray Winiata states that,

 “Breathing any product into your lungs unnecessarily is not ideal, and that’s why non-smokers should not vape.”

This is the position that our school takes.  Vaping is not accepted at school, (smoking has been long banned) nor is it acceptable for students who are wearing our school uniform when they are out in the community.  I would strongly encourage you to have this discussion with your son or daughter, particularly when the long-term consequences of vaping are not yet known.

I hope that the students all have a restful and successful holiday break.

Nga mihi nui

Grant Jones

3 September 2019

Kia Ora Tatou

Mai i te kōpae ki te urupa, tātou ako tonu ai –

From the cradle to the grave we are forever learning

Derived Grade Assessments

The seniors have recently completed their derived grade assessments.  These were undertaken in the College Hall, and replicated examination conditions that the students would find at the end of the year.  For the year 11 students this would have been a new experience for them and one that was intensive.  One of the things that I found quite different this year was the number of students using their devices to complete their assessments.  In the Level 2 English assessment over 90% of the students fell into this category.  I was pleased with the robustness of the network to cope with all the students logging on at the same time and managing the process. 

One of the important parts of the assessments is the feedback that the students will now receive.  Assuming that they prepared for the assessments as best they could then they will receive valuable insights into where they are up to with their learning and where they need to focus further. This of course may well mean seeking additional help from their teachers

In the next week or so, these results will be posted on the portal.  I would encourage you to check these and discuss the results with your son or daughter.  You will be able to see if they have achieved their assessments, at what level, have they got enough pre-requisites for the courses they may want to take next year, and how many credits that they have still available to them. All of these things are extremely important when planning for the end of the year.

There is approximately four weeks left to the end of the term and as mentioned just over two weeks in Term 4.  Allowing for interruptions such as the Risk Management Trip, Winter Sports Tournaments, several subjects having out of class assessment trips, and Labour Day, most subjects probably have 15-20 periods left until the end of the year. Needless to say, time is short and students will need to make the most of what little they have.

Option Choices

With the derived grade assessments now complete, students in Year 12 and 13 will be selecting their subject choices for next year.  What makes for a good course varies between each individual.  It can often be determined by what the student wants to do when they leave school, what a training organisation or tertiary provider requires as a prerequisite and what the student enjoys.  Increasing though we find students who want to pursue different courses when they leave school and they have not taken subjects that will support their study.  For example, psychology is becoming more popular but an understanding of statistics at university level is important.

When making subject choices, it is important that families discuss what the selection will be and I strongly recommend that a conversation with our Careers and Transition Advisor, Ms Te Morenga be had.

Our junior students whose choice is more limited have been making their selections in the last couple of weeks and this process should now be completed.

Up-Coming Important Events

Term 4 is nearly upon us and it is the time that we like to celebrate our student successes.  The last week of term is the NOSCARS, then early next term we have Senior NCEA Art Portfolios, Celebration of Sports, Arts Awards and Senior Prize giving. The dates can be found below.

NOSCARS: 19 September

Senior NCEA Art Portfolios: 16 October

Celebration of Sports: 17 October

Arts Awards: 22 October

Senior Prize Giving: 31 October


A special congratulations to our Newlands College 2 Netball team.  They began the season playing Collegiate A, won their way into the Premier Reserve 5 competition and have now won this, meaning the team will play in the Premier 4 Reserve competition next year.

A huge achievement by the team and their coaches.


Nga Mihi Nui

Grant Jones

August 2019

Kia Ora Tatou

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain


Term 3 is now well underway, with three weeks completed. We began the term by welcoming over 25 new students to our school.  While some were local, others were from other parts of New Zealand, and we also had students from Japan, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Brazil and Syria arrive.  We were pleased to welcome them all to our College.

Kapa Haka Regionals

At the end of last term I mentioned that our students had been performing at the Kapa Haka Regionals, but due to the timing of the event I was unable to report on how they went.  The students had been preparing for the day over the previous months and I was extremely impressed by their commitment and self-discipline.  Considering they were going to be competing against the different Kuras it was always going to be challenging for them.  However, they acquitted themselves extremely well and we received numerous compliments around the accuracy of their performances and the authenticity of what they produced.  We were all immensely proud of the group.

Wa Ako

Last week we had the Wa Ako Active Learning Showcase.  Despite the horrible weather we had a good turnout of parents and the students were pleased to show and talk about what they had produced.  The results were wide and varied, such as a computer generated orienteering course for the College, several fundraisers for worthy causes, undertaking an analysis of the school rubbish to determine how effective we were at recycling and one student created a croquembouche. 

As an aside, when students are applying for jobs, scholarships or entry into restricted tertiary courses, increasingly we are being asked to comment how students’ problem solve, undertake community service, voluntary service or think creatively. Wa Ako is an excellent vehicle for students to pursue their own projects and meet the requirements described above.

Shave for a Cure

Last Friday 16 students and staff participated in Shave for a Cure. This was very altruistic of them and in the process over $10 000 was raised which is extremely generous.  In some cases, students who had long hair were able to donate this for the making of wigs. I do not think many of them realised how cold their heads would be afterwards though, however this was tempered by the supporting of a worthy cause.

Derived Grade Examinations

The Derived Grade Examinations begin on Friday 23rd August and will run through the following week.  All senior students sitting NCEA and some year 10 students will be involved.  This examinations are extremely important.  If a student is unable to sit their end of year examination the derived grade they will receive will be the one they get for these examinations.  Reasons why students can’t sit their end of year examinations tend to sickness and family bereavements, however in the past we have experienced flooding and earthquakes which meant that students needed to use their derived grade. 

The other thing to consider is that if students are properly prepared it will give them a good indicator of where they are up to with their learning and what they need to address before the end of the year.

In some cases, subjects such as Art and Hard Technology do not have examinations.  However, time will be allocated to the class so that they can have a large block of time to work on their projects.

Option Choices

We are planning for 2020 and as part of this process students will begin to select their subject choices for next year.  This process will be completed in about six weeks’ time. For the seniors, the Derived Grade Examinations will provide good information about how the students are progressing.  Students in year 12 and 13 next year will need to have achieved certain pre-requisites before they can access different courses.  The structure of our curriculum can be found at Newlands College Curriculum on our website.  Option Booklets will be released shortly and we would encourage you to discuss your son/daughter’s choices with them.


Congratulations to Lauren Smith who is representing New Zealand at the World U21 Indoor Netball Championships which are being held in South Africa.

Winter sport is now coming to close with most competitions finishing by the end of the month.

Winter Sports Tournament starts September 2nd.

Nga Mihi Nu

Grant Jones

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