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.