3 September 2020

2 September 2020

He manga wai koia kia kore e whitikia.

(Is a river never to be crossed?)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

As I sit in my office writing this principal’s message, I can see the school van arrive with a group of boys who have played at the Winter Hockey Tournament. It is bitterly cold outside, there is rain, but they seem to be in good spirits. Along with girls and boys football and badminton they are the only teams we have competing this year, the rest have been cancelled because of Alert Level 2. Like so many things at the moment, we are either cancelling, postponing, or trying to find different ways to provide opportunities for our students. Term 4 is now becoming decidedly congested, we have moved the NOSCARS and the Ball into the first week and we are now considering how we might run events such as the Arts, Sports and Prize Giving ceremonies if the current Alert Level requirements remain in place.

One of the decisions that we made earlier was not to hold formal derived grade examinations in the hall, although some examinations are being held during class time. This will enable more teaching time and the feedback is that most subjects are confident of completing their courses well in advance of the seniors leaving date. Feedback is available on line in the Portal. One concern we do have though is that the Learning Recognition (LR) Credits that I mentioned in my last newsletter are being considered by some students as substitute credits rather than as a backup, so they are planning to not fully participate in the external examinations in November. LR Credits are non-specific i.e. not attached to any particular subject, so students must be mindful of gaining the necessary perquisites if they wish to study at a higher level.

I received some interesting data about attendance. Nationwide, this is becoming an issue as many students have not returned to school after the COVID Alert Levels were lowered. In some cases, this is due to students working to support their families, in other cases wellbeing issues are a concern. Our school is currently running at about 90% attendance with a further 6-7% of absences justified. Justified absences are those where a student is away for a legitimate reason that we know about. I understand why some students are staying away because of legitimate underlying health reasons, but if your child is not coming back to school because of issues such as fear, or low resilience, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can support them and you as their families. The Education Review Office in a recent publication about school attendance provides further details, but one of the telling comment was that if a child attended school for 90% of their legal school life i.e 5-15 years old then they would lose about one year of learning which is a huge amount.

One of the things that we have managed to achieve, with appropriate social distancing is the celebration of multi-cultural day. I have included a few photos for you to enjoy.

I will write again towards the end of the term and share with you some of our thinking regarding Term 4 celebrations and events.

Ngā manaakitanga

Grant Jones

August 2020

10 August 2020

 

Mā te whiritahi, ka whakatutuki

ai ngā pūmanawa ā tāngata

 

(Together weaving the realisation of potential)

 

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

Term 3 is now well under way and the students have settled back into their routines. I was pleased to see that the number of internal assessment standards that the seniors have completed is similar to where were last year (about 35%). What is also pleasing is that the levels of achievement are higher than where we were last year. By not having the derived grade examination week, the extension of Term 4 by 2 weeks and students being able to gain Learning Recognition (LR) credits they are well placed to be successful this year. If you are not familiar with LR credits NZQA announced that,

“Students at NCEA Level 1 are eligible for up to a maximum of 10 additional credits while those at Levels 2 or 3 are eligible for up to a maximum of 8 additional credits. These will be known as Learning Recognition (LR) credits.”

For every five credits that the students gain, they will qualify for one LR credit. This is for 2020 only, and LR credits do not count as prerequisites for higher-level study.

While we are on the topic of courses, we will be asking students to select their subjects for next year in the next few weeks. Year 13 students should be working with our Careers Counsellor, Ms Te Morenga, regarding their next steps after college.

One of the things that we have recently discovered is that some of you have not been receiving e-mails from the college. This became evident during our last Parent Teachers bookings on online. It seems that some internet providers e.g. Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo and Windows Live, have been filtering our bulk e-mails and not forwarding them. We are now using a different process, but if you were affected, our apologies are extended to you.

We are well advanced now with enrolling for next year. The ballot has now been held and other than students who have a prior association with the college e.g a sibling already here, we took virtually no one from it. Despite this, our Year 9 intake continues to grow and we will probably be in the range of 265-275 students. We have been in discussions with the Ministry of Education about this issue for us, and while we will be replacing some buildings because of water tightness issues, the criteria for roll growth classrooms that we have been working to has changed. This has set us back 18 months so any increase in classrooms for roll growth probably will not be completed until 2025 at the earliest. Sadly, this paints a picture of our school having a prefabricated village being created. This has already happened in the quad area.

The rest of the term has a lot of exciting activities coming up for the students, a locally held winter sports tournament, the completion of the winter sports programme, the Ball, the Year 11 semi-formal, and the NOSCARs and the Ngā hau e Wha fesitival are a few examples. Please keep your eye on the events calendar.

Ngā manaakitanga

Grant Jones


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