Riccarton High School


Kia ora koutou

My theme for this month is around strong whānau-school relationships and ironically as I write my comments, we are hosting our only Student Achievement Interview Day for 2020. Student achievement is of course built on a 3-way partnership between the students, whānau and us as a school. Today provides the opportunity for 3-way conversations not only around progress which has been made to date but also around future planning with 2021 course selection for senior students taking place before the end of this term. My thanks to those parents who have attended these interviews. For those who couldn’t make it and have questions/queries relating to various subjects, I encourage you to make direct contact with the subject teacher.

For our senior students, prelim exams are just on the horizon, beginning Monday August 24th (you will find further details in this newsletter). Obviously, the prelims are an important way of gauging progress but also identifying what needs to be achieved in the following weeks leading up to the external exams starting 16 November. Once again, a strong whānau-school relationship is required to support our senior students in committing to a robust revision programme and fully preparing for these exams. There are many people throughout the school who can assist with creating these programmes starting with our subject and whānau teachers.

Lastly, I would like to raise an area of concern which does require a strong whānau-school partnership to address. It relates to an increase in the number of cases where students have been found vaping (using electronic cigarettes) on the school grounds. When these students have been interviewed a common theme has emerged, that is, they see vaping as a ‘cool’ thing to do and something which is ‘acceptable’. This issue, which unfortunately is becoming very common in New Zealand schools, requires a strong home/school partnership where together we give our young people the same messages about the harmful effects of vaping. 

From the school’s position, we will continue to use a combination of disciplinary and educational measures with those who are caught vaping or are in possession of a vape. At home, we would encourage discussions around the health dangers associated with vaping (an activity which is also restricted to those 18 years and over). Some parents that I spoken to have also got into the habit of checking bags before students leave for school each morning. An ongoing message regarding our students making positive, health enhancing decisions for themselves and their peers will have a significant impact I am sure.

Ngā mihi nui
Neil Haywood


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