From the Rector
“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life”. So said Plato, the father of Western political philosophy, and it is as true today as it was in his time, 2,400 years ago. While our young men have had eight years of school before coming to secondary school, it is clear that those with good habits will continue to progress; it is also clear, however, that young men can start afresh and achieve success with hard work and focus.
The Year 9 cohort has made an encouraging start to their time at PNBHS. Some have found the expectations challenging but most have responded positively and have got on with it. Many have embraced the opportunities that are here and have become fully involved in the life of the school. It is also heartening to see young men throughout Years 10-13 who continue to involve themselves in a range of activities out of the classroom.
Our school continues to take a traditional approach to teaching boys. While trends and fads in education come and go, research shows that where the teacher takes the lead in class, as opposed to child-directed learning, achievement and progress is significantly better. Influential educationalist Professor John Hattie certainly found this: “With a starkness rarely found in educational research”, notes educational researcher Briar Lipson, “Hattie’s analysis indicated that…teachers are more effective when following the traditional approach. Despite the oft-repeated adage that teachers should be ‘guides on the side, not sages on the stage’, classrooms generate more progress for pupils when teachers take the lead.”
Hattie wrote “it is a classic case of an immature profession, one that lacks a solid scientific base and has less respect for evidence than for opinion and ideology”. Lipson notes, “Hattie’s findings and conclusion could not be clearer. Yet, for decades teachers in New Zealand have been pressed, coaxed and cajoled by official policy and ‘research’ to follow child-centred ideas.”
Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes springs to mind and there’s far too much of that in New Zealand education at the moment.
The recent season of Streakin’ Thru the 70s, the school's annual musical production with PNGHS, was a huge success and makes a lie out of the assumption that boys' schools are all about sport. Sport is important to many of our young men, so many of them play sport, but equally important are the cultural opportunities: and Streakin’ Thru the 70s showedus once again what a wonderfully talented group of young people we have at our two schools. Congratulations go to Mr Burton and his team for the consistently high standard of these productions.
Such things highlight how fortunate we are as a school community to have staff and helpers willing to commit themselves to providing opportunities for our young men. As Young Mr Grace said, 'You've all done very well!'
As I often do at the start of the winter season, when we have so many teams involved in competitions, whether they be local, regional or national, I will make comment about sideline behaviour. I have seen some appalling behaviour from so-called supporters on the sidelines, who think it their right to abuse the match official or opposition players. This is intolerable and embarrassing. At school we discuss our expectations of our teams and our young men and it is important that these are supported at home and on the sidelines. Thus, a Supporters Code of Conduct has been introduced which outlines the expected behaviour of those choosing to support PNBHS teams:
1 Always remember the boys are involved in sport for their enjoyment, not yours.
2 Set an example – applaud good play and good effort.
3 Do not criticise team members or opponents for making a mistake.
4 Criticism of referees or umpires is unacceptable – officials give freely of their time and effort and do not deserve to be harassed by people on the side-line.
5 Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from sporting activities.
6 Do not come on to the field of play; do not enter changing rooms. No parents in halftime huddles.
7 Recognise the value of coaches and managers who give their time to provide opportunities for our young men.
At the heart of the matter is that we want our young men playing because they enjoy playing. They do not want to be embarrassed by the conduct of family members or supporters on the side of the field. Not everyone will be a national representative; it is important to keep that in mind to provide a realistic context. It is important to remember also that not all staff members will be the next national coach and yet some on the sideline think it their right to criticise team selection and offer uninvited advice; not every referee or umpire will be a professional. We want to encourage all those involved to stay involved.
Attendance and Co-curricular Involvement
Regular attendance at school is fundamental to academic progress and achievement and student's academic work is the priority over co-curricular involvement. Young men must be present at school the entire day before they compete - if they are too sick to be at school then they are deemed too sick to compete. Similarly, acceptable levels of attendance at school must be maintained in order for students to be considered eligible for selection for their team or group.
As young men join various sporting codes to represent PNBHS there will be a set uniform that boys must purchase. While representing the school it is expected that students wear their sports uniform correctly and abide by school rules. It is also expected that associated registration fees are paid on time or a suitable arrangement is made with the Teacher in Charge prior to playing. If fees are not paid or an arrangement is not made students will not be able to play.
All items of sports uniform can be purchased from Mrs Alderdice at the Uniform Shop.
I thank you in advance for assisting us in maintaining standards of dress and behaviour on and off the fields and courts this winter.
As the cooler weather approaches a reminder that young men may wear polypropylene under the school uniform as long as it is not visible. We recommend that young men purchase black v neck polypropylene tops to wear under their school shirts. These are available from a wide variety of suppliers.
Any raincoat may be worn to school on a wet day but must be removed once inside the school grounds. Should a young man wish to wear a jacket within our grounds it must be one of the approved black jackets. These are not permitted in classrooms.
All the best for the holiday break and we look forward to a positive term two.
D M Bovey