As we reach the end of term 3, our senior students are preparing for the most busy and stressful time of year having recently completed school examinations that will enable them to gauge their progress to date on externally assessed standards or spend valuable time on portfolio work. Reports for seniors are available on the portal and it would be productive if you are able to spend some time with your young one and talk about the school examinations and the implications for the end of year exams. External examinations commence in about 6 weeks time on Thursday 9 November so there is still some time for students to action that study plan and set themselves up for success. Of paramount importance is that students are in class as much as possible to give themselves the best chance of success. Please continue to support us by emphasising to your student(s) the importance of attendance and punctuality each period, each day.

This is also a time when a lot of our senior students are doing pathway planning. Chuni Bhikha, our careers advisor pointed me to an interesting article from Stuff about areas where there are skills shortages and where there is likely to be job growth in the next few years. A lot needs to be considered when students are planning their future pathway and I have pasted the link below.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/83371260/Massive-opportunities-in-looming-skills-shortage

If you saw last week’s weekly update you would have seen that our junior debaters performed outstandingly to win the WGT Wiggs trophy for only the second time since its inception in 1974 (we also won in 2013). They are the premier debaters in the Wellington region in the junior division this year and this is truly an outstanding achievement. Congratulations to Ben Watkins, Xandi Gobbi, Harrison Scott and Josh Bluck. In addition, Ben Watkins was voted Best speaker. Special thanks to Denis Wright who has mentored a number of very successful debating teams over the years.

Winter sport has drawn to a close for 2017 and there have been outstanding performances across a wide range of sports. We will be celebrating these performances at our annual Sports Prizegiving on Tuesday 31 October at 10.45am in the Riley Centre. Please join us if you are able to. Congratulations to all those who have participated in sport so far this year and a particular thank you to the coaches and managers who spend so much of their time providing great experiences for our students.

Our music evening last Tuesday was another great night. The standard of musicianship was, as always, very high (no pun intended) but the evening felt a little more mellow than normal. I think that was a combination of some of the song choices and the fact that we won’t get to hear Daniel Martin, Cassandra Bahr, Poppy Donaldson, Lauren Jack, Ruby Robinson-Shaw and Rita Zhao at music evening again. A lot of the students seemed to be waiting for the traditional mosh pit dance towards the end of the programme and right at the end of an appropriate number a few students made their way to the front. This led a stampede of eager dancers who were then met with a couple of jazz fusion numbers. I think it is the only time in my life I have seen a mosh pit for jazz. The performances over the night were quite outstanding and testament to the wonderfully eclectic music programmes so ably led by Fritz Wollner.

On Tuesday 12 September we held our first WERO day, a day of wellbeing where year 13 students were off timetable and able to attend a range of workshops. This is the first time we have done this and I feel it was a great success. The idea came from conversations between Jania Bates and her rōpū last year – students wanted a chance to find out more about aspects of ‘adult’ life such as practicalities of flatting, finance, sexual relationships, and consent education. The day was put together by the WERO leaders and overseen by Deputy Principal Megan Southwell. We are already making plans for the next edition next year.

Finally, this is a time when we are looking ahead to the new year and making decisions in relation to timetable, staffing and resourcing. I am very proud to announce that we will be offering Te Reo Maori to all of our incoming year 9 students as part of our core for 2 hours a week for the whole year. It is wonderful that this announcement comes days after Wellington Girls’ College have announced a similar strategy and we should celebrate that some Wellington schools are able to resource this important opportunity for our young people. It is important for all of us to continue to build our knowledge of Maori Tikanga and Te Reo to strengthen identity and culture and we are in the very fortunate position that we have two teachers who can teach Te Reo Maori.

I hope you are able to spend some valuable time with your young person over the school holidays. Help provide them with the memories that will last a lifetime!

Nga mihi nui

Dominic Killalea