Continued success despite Covid

Provisional results 2022.

Despite another incredibly challenging COVID year for students, our consistently high results have held steady and reflect the hard work and perseverance of those students working through their NCEA, the commitment of their teachers, and support of their parents and whānau. 

We are aware that the changes to the timetable this year have raised questions and below are answers to some of the common questions we have heard from students and parents over the past week:

Why change Whānau time?

When evaluating last year’s attendance data, it was evident that most lates occurred in the morning during Whānau time and into P1. Students were coming into school late as they believed that ‘there was no point” coming to school for Whānau time. 

What is different?

School now starts at 8:35 with Period 1. This should and must provide students with a reason to be here on time, if not they will miss a lesson and learning time.

Whānau time has been moved to the end of P2 and there will be some further discussions this year on how best to use this time. Currently it provides the Whānau teacher with valuable time to take the roll, read notices, speak to individual students about attendance, lates, uniform or any other issues or support needs that might crop up. Those students involved in the student leadership team or those who have key roles within school can use this time for their planning meetings.

Why increase the number of lessons a day to 6?

Having 6 period days each 50 minutes long enables us to provide students with the same number of lessons as in the previous timetable but over 4 days rather than 5 (there are just 10 minutes less per class across the week than the old timetable structure). This opens up Wednesdays to provide students with a day to better meet the additional wellbeing and learning needs that students have identified.

Most lessons now work out as ‘double periods’ or 100 minutes, which provides students with more intensive time in a particular subject area, whilst also reducing the need to move from one room to another across the school so often, again increasing learning time and reducing lost learning time due to lateness.

Why do students not have ‘normal’ classes on a Wednesday?

Last year JPII was involved in the PISA study, this is a global study of secondary school students around the world. It looks at many aspects of school life including wellbeing.

Some of the questions focused on resilience: 

This data supports what teachers and school staff have been experiencing ‘on the ground’ here at school, managing significantly increased levels of student anxiety for significantly higher numbers of students. High anxiety levels over the past few years have taken a toll on students and there has been a surge in issues with anxiety and resilience to situations that in previous years would not have been a problem.

Our students are clearly worrying about things more than the national average, feel nervous about exams, and feel they don’t handle stress well.

Wednesday provides us with Wellbeing/Hauora time. This has been purposely built into the timetable and will happen every fortnight. This is a chance for students to work in their House groups, engage in activities, challenges, hear from guest speakers, and more. This is new and has opened the door to endless opportunities – if you have any ideas or could support us during this time, please get in contact with our Hauora Navigator Linda Beach

Our students are also worried about their futures and when this survey was carried out last year felt as though the school had done little to prepare them for adult life. 

Our careers advice and guidance were clearly an issue. We now have Jasmine Fitzgerald as our careers and guidance expert on hand to fill this gap. We will use every other Wednesday as an opportunity to bring in guest speakers to talk to our senior students about careers. If you feel as though you could help us in this space, please get in contact with Jasmine via email

There will also be opportunities for students, who wish to do so, to engage with Scholarships and plan to use this time for study skills, and time to work closely with our Year 11 students who are new to NCEA.

One of the other big wins for introducing the Wednesday is the protection of curriculum time.

Last year our students lost a total of 8689 hours being involved in other school-based activities as opposed to being in their timetabled curriculum subject e.g., these may have been sporting activities, music lessons, etc.

We aim to focus as much of this time as possible on a Wednesday, this way student curriculum time is protected; we all know that attendance in lessons is strongly correlated with achievement.

Our athletics day, swimming sports, cross country, school photos, visiting performances, etc. will not have any impact on curriculum time.

And finally…..Bluelight Bootcamp!

This initiative has been running at JPII for 10 years now and has had so much success in engaging students. Wednesday has provided an opportunity to open this up to all our students. Wednesday this week saw Constable Terri talk to our students along with Martin Greaney and Lisa Thom both personal trainers, who are kindly giving their time to work with our students and teachers each week.

Information has been emailed to parents this week and students have begun completing a pre-bootcamp questionnaire to let us know their thoughts and feelings about the program. We also have this information on our website:

We have 56 responses from students to date and so far, it is great to see most of our students approaching this with an open mind. 

For many students, physical fitness seems to be their focus, although improved fitness brings with it a whole host of other benefits! 

Please ensure students come prepared for Bootcamp with appropriate P.E. wear, a drink bottle and enough food. Students will be supported to go at a pace that suits their needs. Teachers will be participating too! If parents would like to come along and participate too, they/you would be very welcome.

This week those Year 10 to 13 students attending the careers event in Hokitika “Westland's Aspire to Inspire Careers and Youth Event” will also need to bring their uniform to change into as the visit happens after bootcamp is finished.