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Thursday, 13th December 2018
Koa te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou hari
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Congratulations to our prizewinners at Tuesday’s Junior Prizegiving. It was a great occasion as we acknowledged the success of our junior students this year. It was good to see so many parents and whānau/extended family attend the ceremony and share in their child’s success. Rebecca Chan, former Head Prefect, gave an inspiring speech to the students as she described life after school and shared some perceptive insights. With her permission, I have included a copy of her speech in this newsletter.
Thank you to Mr Robertson (Deputy Principal) and everyone else who contributed to this event.
Building Programme – On the Move
If you drove past the college on Wednesday or Thursday, you may have seen three rooms being shifted from their current site inside Gate 3 to the far side of the Somerville (Music) block. This is the start of the enabling work for our new Science Block, construction of which is scheduled to start in July next year. The Student Services building is now opposite the Tuck Shop and new netball and tennis courts will be constructed in front of the Moore gym over the summer.
Last week, we formally opened the refurbished Quad and recognised the people who helped design and build it, as well as the families who donated to the project. I spoke at the ceremony about how it was significant to me that the first project in our property redevelopment is a student space at the heart of the college. As vital as the academic and co-curricular spaces are, it is important that we also invest in the social and recreational spaces for our students. Spaces for them to relax and unwind, and to gather and have fun together.
The year 13 class of 2018 donated a beautiful artwork for the courtyard and it looks stunning. If you get a chance, have a walk through the Quad and admire the sculpture. Thank you very much to our outgoing year 13 students.
As I look forward to 2019, I am excited about what it will bring. I talked to next year’s Head Prefects and they are especially excited about the new houses and the spirit and leadership that is growing through these. I am pleased with how staff have used the MYP initiative to review their junior curriculum … how we teach, how we assess, and how we prepare our students for ongoing success at NCEA and NZ Scholarship. There are many exciting initiatives happening in junior classes across the school through this programme.
2018 has been a busy, challenging and rewarding year. We introduced four new houses – Tawhirimātea, Tāne Mahuta, Tangaraoa, and Rūaumoko. Thank you to our amazing Deans, Assistant Deans, Prefects and all the others who have made the new houses a great success. The houses have captured the minds of students and created wonderful spirit inside the college.
We launched the MYP programme which will extend our students academically, as well as bringing more global perspectives into our junior curriculum. A number of staff have lead this initiative and it’s exciting to see what faculties are doing in years 9 and 10 as a result. This culminated in the community project in term 4, with students running an exhibition of their work for parents and friends in the library after school. I was impressed with the calibre of the students and their work, and look forward to extending this service project across the entire junior school.
We joined the Glendowie Community of Learning (Kahui Āko) to strengthen the interaction between the college and our contributing schools. This has been a positive initiative as it brings the four schools, and their staff, closer together.
We mourned the passing of a student - Gabriel Steadman. This was a difficult moment in the life of our school and community, and I thank everyone inside and outside of the college who helped support Gabriel’s whānau and friends, and guide our community through this tragedy.
Beyond the college, 2019 will be eventful for New Zealand education. The spectre of industrial relations and uncertainty due to the many reviews initiated this year by the Coalition government, will hang over the sector.
The Ministry of Education and PPTA are poles apart from a solution in the pay round negotiations, and we will inevitably have strikes in term 1 and possibly beyond. I believe that we’re at a tipping point in NZ education and hope that the Government recognises that its most important priority for our country is to make teaching a highly valued career option, and ensure we get our best and brightest graduates choosing to go teaching and work with the young people of New Zealand.
Many of the large education reviews initiated by the Coalition government will be debated in detail next year. The Tomorrow’s Schools report came out last Friday and is radical in its proposals, including recommending devolving power from school boards to central agencies and potentially limiting or reducing funding for schools such as Glendowie College. The report is out for consultation until April 2019. It is a very significant document that will define education in New Zealand for years to come. As parents, it is important that you are informed about this and give your feedback to the Government. I will provide more information to you about this early in 2019.
Whai i te raumati nui … Have a great summer
For now, it’s time to relax and unwind. I hope that you and your family have an enjoyable summer break. I wish you safe travel and a relaxing Christmas and New Year.
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