John Laurenson by Sandra McKernan

Headmaster's Message

Dear Parent and Caregivers

Greetings, tena koutou katoa, talofa lava

This is my last major newsletter for 2015. May I therefore take a moment to thank you for your continued support.

As you are now aware, we have come through the year in good shape and our aims have been achieved. We have a future and that future will be with Avonside Girls' High School in a co-located situation. Behind the scenes a lot of work has been done and is continuing to be done to ensure that the new school is going to be at the absolute forefront of cutting edge education in New Zealand. This newsletter will bring you up to speed with the situation at this point in time.

The plan for the next three years.

I want to stress that Shirley is fully functional on its current site in every way. A major SNUP upgrade in 2014 ensured that all of our ICT facilities are as good as any in the country. Our academic, sporting and cultural systems are fully operational and, in turn, that means the staff, students and community continue to experience success in each of the major areas of endeavour in the school.

Planning for the new school, will continue to be the focus for 2016. Currently Avonside and Shirley are in discussion with the Christchurch City Council to see how the Council’s Sport and Recreational Centre, can include some of the property needs for the two schools. The prospect of augmenting the City Council resources, to assist both schools to function at a high level but also give more resourcing for local residents living in the east of the city certainly appeals. We have had initial meetings with the City Council architects (Warren and Mahoney) to create a high-level plan that encompasses these things.

It is also our expectation that development planning work will occur for Shirley Boys' High School in 2016 - a year in which development plans will be released to our community, plans which will detail that it is still our expectation that movement of Shirley to our new site, will occur in 2018. This means that the cadre of students in Year 7 in 2016 contains the academic scholars, cultural icons, sporting heroes, Head Boy and Senior Executives of 2022!

Now, a word about co-location. We are currently engaging in dialogue with Avonside Girls’ High School but, to whet your appetite, bear in mind that we had a similar “co-location” situation between Marian College and Shirley Boys’ High School in the pre-earthquake years. This meant linked timetables where senior students at Year 12 and 13 had some combined classes. There were various manifestations of this arrangement, for example in Languages we often had a joint class at Year 12 taught by a teacher in one school and a joint class at Year 13, taught by a teacher in the other school. In other areas we had spill-over numbers of students topping up classes in the other school. For example if we had 26 Year 13 Physics students needing a class, 20 could stay in one school with the balance of six students going to the other school. Arrangements such as these ensure a good use of resources.

Some sharing of facilities is possible, for example a Performing Arts Centre shared by the two schools and by the community is possible as well. My personal wish as far as this is concerned is for a centre joined into the City Council’s Eastern Sport and Recreational Centre. Some arrangement between the City Council and the Ministry of Education for facilities, such as a Hall, Performing Arts Centre, Library, Café, (the list of possibilities is actually quite long), to be shared on one footprint, is a major and achievable goal.

Remember that each school will continue to operate as a separate entity with its own unique ethos.

CIE examinations are underway. NZQA examinations will be well underway when you read this newsletter and the internal examinations for Junior School will be about to begin. May I wish everyone involved the best of luck. I trust that each individual (and of course the school as a whole) will perform strongly. Our BTB goal will not surprise. We have set ourselves the task of reaching the same high standard that was achieved in 2012 and 2013 in the general school and on improvement in the area of merit and excellence passes.

In conclusion, may I wish you well for the coming festive season. Ann and I will not be travelling out of Christchurch this year. Under the eagle eye of my wife, I have gardening to catch up with, so if you need to contact me for any reason please do not hesitate to give me a call.

There will be plenty of challenges for us in 2016 but truthfully we are well placed to meet these. Between you and me, as always, I am looking forward to them.

Regards and best wishes