Hero photograph
Staff-student sport every Friday in the New Gym
Photo by Andy England

From the principal, 11 June 2020

Andy England —

Level 1 is here :) Lots of good things are happening but we also know there are tough times for many families and we want to work together as a community towards the best future possible.

Kia ora koutou.

The move to Covid-19 Alert Level 1 is very exciting - life can get back to near normality for most of us. The changes within school aren't big, and it's my hope that the great aspects of Level 2 (school feels like a really happy place) can continue. 

To that end, informed by survey data and lots of conversations with students and staff, we've decided that we will keep the break times we've been enjoying since our return from lockdown. There are some issues with this, as there are with any system, and we will review this again towards the end of term 3.

From Monday 15 June, years 12 and 13 will be allowed to go to Parky's or cross High Street and will not have to use passes; years 9, 10 and 11 will stay onsite. (There is a small number of students in all years who will have a pass to go home for lunch). The reason for this is that there is no need for these years to go offsite now that we have a perfectly good cafe here. School culture feels better when we have the majority of students onsite (I'm hoping years 12 and 13 will mostly stay onsite too) and it's been great to see students playing games and talking to each other. Most schools I know of don't allow students off site at all and our year 11 students have only had this privilege in recent years. 

There is a constant issue of a few addicted smokers (students!), most of whom are known by their families, who cannot smoke on the school site or in public in uniform. If this is an issue for you, I'd like to hear from you so we can try to work out a way to improve this situation. 

We're really aware that our community will continue to be affected by job losses in the coming weeks and months. That will affect school, for example buying uniform. We've looked at cheaper alternatives and decided they aren't worth it, as they're not much cheaper if you want reasonable quality. All students should have full school uniform, a Chromebook for school and access to all school experiences. So we want to help families with this if school costs are a barrier for you and we've had support from a number of community organisations and individuals. Please don't be afraid to speak with your child's mentor teacher or Dean

Our new Head of Health and PE, Mr David McTaggart, joined us this week and we're excited about what he can bring to our team. We're still working to try to get an immigration exemption for our Food Tech teacher who is stuck in South Africa due to CV19 rules. 

Kyle Hsieh has been accepted into the NZ secondary school Brass band. He's one of 40 band members and will be attending training camp later in the year. To be accepted among the top 8 percussionists in the South Island at this age is amazing and this is two years in a row. Well done, Kyle, we're very proud of you.