by Andy England

From the Principal: Term 4 Week 4

NCEA exams are underway, junior students getting outside with learning and some important concerns needing parent support.

Tēnā tātou | hello to us all

Calendar update:

  • part of our website said that this Thursday 10 November was a staff only day - this was incorrect and came about as we made the site change earlier this year, so I’m sorry for any inconvenience. Thanks to the parent who spotted this and let me know!

  • We do have a staff only day on 25 November, like most other high schools, for the upcoming NCEA changes

  • We have just been told of a “Paid Union Meeting” on the morning of 29 November, meaning classes will not run P1 and P2 but will start with P3 at the usual time of 11.30. Buses will run as normal - exams are on as normal and so is the Year 10 activity day - but if it is possible for you to have your child arrive for P3 at 11.30 am that would be very helpful. Students who do attend will be supervised by staff who are not PPTA union members with a range of activities for periods 1 and 2. We appreciate that this makes it awkward for parents.

It’s been great to hear the stories from our Southern Traverse students, who got themselves from Hokitika to Darfield by foot and bike (had to cancel the raft/kayak due to high water). Their welcome home also told a great story about our school - what an incredible learning experience for all. The organisation for this was massive and thanks go to Pip Deans, Shawn Gough and Courtenay Henshaw, and especially Adventure 180 Trust who were financially supported by Malvern Lions and the Rātā Foundation.

On Wednesday, 7LD visited Darfield Primary School to share the books they’d written for Year 1 students. Not only were the books beautifully written and illustrated by our students, but watching and listening to them reading to the children was heartwarming. This is part of the curriculum developments we’re bringing through the school, and all the students said they were much more motivated to do creative writing where they had such a real purpose and appreciative audience. Thanks to Lilly Dalley for her teaching and to DPS for their support in being our “clients”.

Whilst there are lots of amazing stories of our school, there is also currently a real issue with “banter” - nasty things said to each other (and occasionally to staff) supposedly as a joke. Students are tired and so are staff so tempers flare more quickly. But some of the things being said would never be okay anyway: racist, homophobic, sexist comments and more. I can’t tell if these are actually values some students hold, which would obviously clash with our school values, or if they’re junk they get from the internet and think it’s okay to repeat. 

All students and staff have a right to feel safe at school, both physically and emotionally, and they simply can’t while these comments are being made. It’s not a matter of them ‘toughening up’, it’s very simple: students should not say offensive stuff to one another. A school is like a workplace for everyone and parents will understand what workplace expectations are. I would be very grateful if you could discuss this with your child/ren and support our expectations. I will repeat my expectations to students on Thursday and will call parent meetings where cases continue.

Noho ora mai | stay well,

Andy England

Dates this term

  • Whānau Hui (Māori): Fri 18 Nov 5.30 pm Kākāpōtahi

  • Staff only day: 25 November

  • Paid Union Meeting: 29 November classes start 11.30 (buses normal times)

  • Senior prizegiving: 1 December

  • Junior prizegiving and last day of term: 9 December