25 September

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria

My language is my awakening; my language is the window to my soul

 

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

Our third term has now concluded and like the other two, it has not been without challenges. Normal events such as derived grade exams took place in class time rather than having the seniors on exam leave, winter tournament was held for only a few teams and a lot of our outdoor education such as the Risk Management Trip (a.k.a the Ski Trip) had to be cancelled. At a different level, not being able to hold assemblies had a bigger impact than first thought, the opportunity to be together as a school was lost.

However, we are now at COVID Level 1 and we are able to salvage some things. The Year 11 semi-formal took place at the Sky Stadium last night. It was well attended and the students had an enjoyable night out. The night before, the Kapa Haka group were able to present their performance bracket for whānau, family and friends. They lost their opportunity because the Ngā Hau e Whā Festival was cancelled and this provided an opportunity to showcase all their hard work.

The above whakatauki I felt was appropriate given we have been celebrating and participating in Mahuru Māori (a month when we are challenged to write, sing and speak in Te reo Māori) and Te Wiki o te Reo (Māori Language Week). This whakatauki is closely associated with language revitalization, a struggle that is very important in maintaining culture and we had a wide range of activities occurring in the school. These included the making of a hangi, learning new waiata, and more unusual activities such as holding lunchtime Yoga classes in Te Reo Māori.

While a lot of sport was lost during the season, many codes managed to get a competition up and running even if it was a shortened season. We were very excited that our Girls Football Team won the Premier 2 competition and won the Onslow Cup. This is a first for us in over 20 years! Well done team.

Board of Trustees Election 2021: Student Representative

We are pleased to announce that the students have elected Josh Taefu as their representative. Next year Josh will be in Year 12 and studying a mix of NCEA Level 2 and 3 subjects.

Next Term

Next term is going to be full on as we try to manage a wide range of activities in a very short space of time. To give you an indication of what lies ahead, a list is provided below. Please be mindful that many of these events will have to be managed under Alert Level 1 and will be different from previous years. We have had to make the decision that socially responsible seating will be in place; this will limit seating capacity to some extent and there will be no food or drink provided or permitted to be brought into the events. 

Invitations and details for each of these events will be sent to you at the beginning of Term 4.

October:

Tuesday 13               NOSCARS (this has been sold out)

Friday16                    Senior Ball

Tuesday 20               Spring Serenade

Thursday 22              Celebration of Sport

Monday 26                Labour Day

Wednesday 28         Celebration of Arts

November

Tuesday 3                 Art Exhibition

Wednesday 4            Year 11-13 Final Assemblies

Thursday 5                Senior Prizegiving

Friday 6                      Senior Examination Tutorials begin

Monday 16                NCEA Begins

Tuesday 17               Teacher Only Day (This is mandated by the Ministry of Education for all Secondary Schools)

I will advise you of the balance of the year in a Principal’s Message next term, but for your planning, the last day of school for our juniors will be Thursday December 3rd, and NCEA will finish on Wednesday December 9th. Please note that NCEA is run independently of the College and we have no part in its organisation.

Finally, as we head into Term 4 some of our school uniform requirements change. Ties and Blazers, unless needed for a formal occasion e.g. prize giving become optional, and beanies are not to be worn. The rest remains the same.

I hope that you all have an enjoyable break.

Ngā manaakitanga

Grant Jones

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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