2012 has been another busy year with many changes. We are having to adjust to change being the norm‘.
We began with a roll explosion from the mid 600 to 730. We introduced a new student management system KAMAR which has made information and data collection easier and more accessible to all staff and seven new members of staff were welcomed to our College.
There are changes a foot in education and for secondary education this has been seen through the introduction of Educational Pathways. Educational Pathways is a guarantee of free tertiary opportunities for all learners to achieve a foundation NCEA Level 2 qualification with clear pathways to further education and work. The goal set by the government is for 85% of all 18 year olds to achieve NCEA Level 2 by 2017. For years education has been based on the traditional university pathway model and as many of you will have experienced this model does not fit well with all students. The Academies model provides an opportunity for free Trades Training whilst still being supported at school. This Trades Academy concept will be extended in the years ahead and planning for a more collaborative approach involving the four local colleges will begin in 2013.
NCEA is constantly being refined and this year Level 2 experienced significant changes and staff attended further training and discussion groups with other colleges. We gave Year 11 students more time to continue their studies and greater opportunities to gain more credits at the end of the year. This proved to be very successful in terms of increasing their focus on achievement.
Property changes were not huge this year and we were all pleased to enjoy what we have without having to manage and adjust to another huge project. Having said that, we did change the Student Centre around and it has now become a more welcoming environment for the students and definitely a more comfortable environment for the staff who are working there. At the Student Centre we also have a visiting doctor one day per fortnight, a nurse who will be here more or less full time next year, a physio and our Youth Coordinator who is provided for the college through Life to the Max and the Social Sector Trial. Maria provides an additional service to help students and their families to address barriers to student learning. Our Guidance councillor is resident in this area also.
Every year I look back with great pride at the achievements of our students who are involved in so many aspects of college life. Our academic students have again excelled and we began the year celebrating their success. Firstly we congratulated the scholarship winners who gained seven scholarships. These students sat extra examinations for NCEA and in receiving scholars are in the top 3% of the country. Alexander Heyes gained scholarship in Biology, Physics and mathematics, Tahiwi Trenor Hunt— Paining, Andrew Berry—Statistics and Modelling and Andrew Lankshear—Biology and Accounting. A celebration lunch was held with 59 of our Year 11-13 students who gained merit and excellence endorsements. This is now an annual event and fast becoming a tradition at NUA. It was a fantastic start to the year and I congratulate all of our High Achievers.
The sporting scene is so important for students and rightly so for as Judge Bycroft said ―kids who play sport don‘t end up in court‖. We have had both great participation and great results this year as was celebrated at our college Sports Awards. Three of our past pupils were chosen for the NZ Olympic squad: Cathryn Finlayson – Blacksticks, Grant Taylor – Small Bore Shooting and Steven Kent – Swimming. Gemma Dudley was also a reserve for the track cycling team.
We are always delighted to host visitors to the college and this year we welcomed Meijo University High School students and the number of international students on our roll increased to 30. Our students benefit, as does the community, from hearing about the rest of the world through our visitors. Mrs Keeling took a group of students to China and we are hoping to confirm 5 incoming visits for 2013—two from Japan, one from Vietnam, one from India and one from Taiwan. She will also be arranging a school trip to Vietnam in 2014.
Rangatahi Ora has continued its success and has grown from strength to strength with the numbers doubling. Thank you to Matua Chris for his enthusiasm and dedication to the students and the Whanau for supporting the initiative.
Stage Challenge was a huge success, we didn‘t get placed but we received 13 Certificates of excellence. We received the cup for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role at the Sheila Winn Shakespeare competition. The icing on the cake for Cultural Awards was to have Dawn Saunders, Head of Shakespeare NZ, present awards on the evening.
Attendance has improved to 82% This improvement could be attributed to the school portal, text and email messages daily and generally improved communication with Parents and caregivers. If we included the intermittent and justified absences which are parent justified absences it reaches 95%. PB4L and Restorative practices are being embedded and along with the NUA Way are becoming the way we do things at NUA.
Our students have been excellent ambassadors in the community whether at Anzac day where Michael Fryer gave an excellent speech, the opening of TeTakare, visits to contributing schools, powhiri, open nights, activities week trips and interacting with our visitors, they can be relied to represent us with pride.
The celebration of success for this year began with Cultural Awards and Sports Awards and recently eight students from Horowhenua College received Council Youth Excellence Scholarships. Gary O‘Brien was also honoured for the work he does within the community and received a civic honours award. Congratulations to both the students and Gary.
Education is no longer confined within the buildings and grounds of the college – we need to find experiences beyond and we couldn‘t do it without the support of the community. Whether you are a board member, a parent supporting sport, a team manager ,a coach, or a business supporting a gateway or Year 10 work week student, a sponsor or a donator of goods or services – a huge thank you. We will be needing lots of work placements for our academy students, homestays long term and short for our incoming visitors and we welcome visitors to talk about their careers so if you are able to help we would love to hear from you.
Whilst the happy experiences of the year will be remembered by us all one memory holds great sadness for us. In September we fare welled our groundsman, Ken Body. For the past 24 years he keep our gardens in tip top condition. In particular he will be remembered for the work he did in the quadrangle. We will think of him each year as we enjoy the garden he so lovingly cared for and admire the roses he tended when they bloom. We will remember him fondly, he will be missed.
Sadly staff leave us and at the end of this year we farewelled Mrs Winters, Mrs Cameron, Mr Bryant and Mr Frost. I thank them for their contribution to Horowhenua College and their dedication to the students. I wish them well for their future path. We also farewelled two long standing members of staff. Mrs Margaret Clarke who has been with us for 22 years teaching Mathematics and Calculus. Her expertise and wisdom will be greatly missed. Secondly Mr Richard Prescott who has been at the college for 33 years. He has educated, entertained and cared for the scientists in the college and particularly the chemists amongst us. They will both be missed and I wish them all the best for a long and happy retirement.
Thank you to the staff who will continue the journey with us, you are a dedicated, hardworking team. I appreciate your expertise and your support and encouragement of our students. Thank you to Te One Jacob Bradley and Harriet Boyle, Head Boy and Girl for 2012, our deputies Tim Sue and Maila Muliaga and the motivated team of Prefects. We welcome our 2013 Prefect Team. I look forward to working with them next year. To those that who have left you were a wonderful group of young people who I am confident will continue to strive to achieve. We look forward to monitoring your progress .
We have enjoyed our year. Well done NUA, another successful year of student participation and success. Our motto Essayez and Never Under Achieve at NUA serve to describe us well.
I wish you all a safe and happy holiday