I am very proud that after 5 years as principal of Nayland College, I can say with some certainty that we have been on a transformational pathway.
Earlier this year it was announced that Nayland College were finalists in the Prime Minister's Educational Excellence awards. The judges had the following to say:
“In order to raise expectations and achievement, Nayland College began a challenging journey that has required the organisation to critically reflect on leadership, attitudes, values and entrenched systems that may have previously been a barrier to change. The leadership team and board of trustees set about this change by initiating a values-based learning framework through the Positive Behaviour for Learning initiative.
This process has seen partnerships with local schools, businesses, whānau and iwi assist the organisation to reconnect with the local community. The school is well on the way to establishing a place-responsive localised curriculum and a research-grounded pedagogical shift is improving learning across the school. Most importantly, culturally responsive and relational strategies have been strengthened to ensure that the school is a safe, supportive and respectful environment for learners and that learning is becoming more of a partnership between home and school”.
This obviously sounds like great praise; however real change is extremely difficult to implement and sustain in the long term without deep on-going reflection and the ability to be nimble and flexible as problems arise. We are at a cross-roads as a school and as we grow into what is now a large school, it will become more difficult to ensure we are always focussed on what is most important. That is, of course, student learning; be it social, academic or in pursuits outside the classroom. We believe that a solid partnership with our ex-students and friends of the school is fundamental to ensuring our continued success as an organisation.
2019 was also an extremely busy year outside the classroom. In the extra-curricular space our sports teams are rejuvenating, with stunning National and South Island tournament results, including a National title and several local championships recorded. Our performing and cultural arts programmes also continued to grow in strength, from our excellent kapahaka and whānau programme, through to our award-winning choirs and sell-out production of Oliver.
There was significant construction work completed throughout 2019, with 12 stunning new classrooms opened in block 2, the kuaka café opening, offering freshly baked goods from our hospitality learning area and the new school turf is now in full action. We are now awaiting further input from the Ministry of Education as we look at our next stage of development. Now that our infrastructure is improving, we are looking forward to our ‘Bring your own device’ programme starting in years 9 and 11 next year.
We love hearing from our alumni, so please do not hesitate to contact the school if you believe you may be able to assist in contributing to the school in any way.
Ngā mihi nui