by Steve McCraken
The summer break means different things for different people, none more so, than those involved in schools, both students and staff. For many, the lead up to Christmas is the frantic finishing off celebrating the year that was. As summer ‘holidays’ roll around, it is the time for contractors and property staff to tidy the school sites, and ensure maintenance projects are all completed by the end of January and ready for the next school year. Alongside this are the reflections, planning and preparations for the year ahead by staff, and of course students and their whanau.
As all our local schools look ahead, we are all being faced with similar, and very positive, challenges. With the ongoing development of housing and spread of people moving into the area, local school are changing, and growing, very quickly. This is challenging on many aspects. There is the obvious challenge of infrastructure and classrooms, and the need to be able to employ the best possible staff and teachers to work with our young people. The subliminal challenges though, are about schools retaining their special characters and uniqueness. This is one that we are all facing in a rapid period of change.
In conjunction with growth, schools are also facing change from an educational sector perspective; and this is very positive. Finally, schools have the ability to foster individual pathways for students that really mean something for them. The days of mass assessments and exams, are gone and the tailored approach to education means that students can really achieve their potential, gain success, and belong in their school. This is an extreme positive of growth and change.
In a period of rapid change and growth, our school continues to lead the way in secondary education. We are on the cusp of something very special for our community and our students. With the aim to tailor pathways for all students, giving them the needs they require to choose their own destination once they leave secondary school is very exciting. Our new students, those in Year 9 this year, will receive the beginning of this programme, where a theme and contest, based on our local area will be used as the guide for teaching and learning for the term. This will mean a huge amount of collaboration across staff as we negotiate with each demand of the respective curriculum areas, whilst using local knowledge to enhance our students perspectives on the world.
The start of the school year signals the beginning of much, for many. It’s the opportunity to forge ahead with plans and aspirations, the chance to grow, to make a fresh start and do the best we possibly can to make a difference. If there is ever a time to do this, just after a summer break seems like the perfect time! Our schools will be ready and waiting.