Newlands College
Newlands College
Newlands College

Principal's News Archive

First Message

4 August 2016

Kia Ora Tatou

Next week we have the Education Review Office (ERO) with us for the following two weeks, although they will only be on site for six days. Over the years the style and emphasis of ERO reviews has changed considerably. These days it appears that the focus is much more on planning and using data to review the changes that have occurred as a result of that planning. There is also an emphasis on how we accelerate our priority learners. Accelerate is used in the sense of how we put interventions in place for students so that they can catch up to the levels of learning their chronological age group are achieving at. The findings of the review and report that ERO make are usually available to the public about six weeks later and I will advise you when this has happened.

Last Friday (29 July) our Polygroup performed at the Northern Polyfest held at the Te Rauparaha Centre in Porirua. Our group which consists of students from many different islands, put on a three item programme, each one drawing on dance and songs from different islands. The students did incredibly well; I thought that singing the music (rather than relying on pre-recorded music as others did) gave their performance a very special edge. I would like to thank Board of Trustees member Reverend Robert Robati-Mani and his helpers for training the students.

I would like to congratulate Charlotte Gill, Jesse Rainey, Joshua Steele and teacher Jerome Cargill, who participated in “A Shave for a Cure”. During lunchtime last Thursday the staff from “Custom Cutz” expertly removed all their hair for the cause. The group were successful in raising close to $3000 and this is a credible effort.

On Friday 19 August our Seniors start their examinations. These will consist of Internal Assessments, which will contribute credits towards NCEA, externals which will give students an indication of where they are up to with their learning, and blocks of time to work on folios e.g. Art, or practicals such as technology. It is important that the externals are also taken seriously - if a student cannot sit their end of year examination for a legitimate reason, then the practice examination result will be the one that they have been awarded.

In the vast majority of cases, all students will have an examination or a practical for each of their subjects. When they do not have an exam they can stay at home to study or work in the library. Examination timetables will be available early next week.

Winter sport is drawing to a close so if you plan to watch your son or daughter there are very few opportunities left, most teams (except netball) will finish on Saturday 26 August.

Second Message

19 August 2016

The Education Review Office (ERO) have now finished their on-site audit of the college and they are now writing up their report. The review focused mainly on how we aim to improve learning for those who are not making sufficient progress, the types of strategies we use, and how we evaluate the effectiveness of these. It has been a “full on” two weeks with many interviews and providing the necessary documentation.

Feedback that we have received so far has been positive and we are looking forward to our report. However the report has to be peer reviewed, put through quality assurance, and we have the opportunity to respond to it while it is in draft. It is likely that the final version which is available to the public will not be published until the end of October/early November and we will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

The winter sports season is now drawing to a close, with many finals being played. Badminton has virtually finished, basketball is next week, while rugby and football will be finished by the following weekend. Only netball will carry on for another four weeks. Many of our teams have done extremely well and we will celebrate their successes at our Celebration of Sports Awards Evening in Term 4. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have helped coach and manage our teams this year. Your support has been invaluable and I would also like to thank all of you who stood on the side-lines cheering for us. This support is also greatly appreciated.

Senior examinations have now begun and will conclude at the end of next week. Once they have concluded there are only four weeks of term left! This will be followed by three weeks in Term 4. The year is now racing by. After the examinations we will be focussing on the student's option choices for next year so this is a good time to start having those discussions with your son or daughter. Each student will have a conversation with a staff member about subject choice options; additional information is available from our Careers and Transition teacher, Morag Featherstone.

Congratulations to Lauren Smith, Keeley Waller, and Niamh Bayliss in Year 10 who were the overall winners of the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition. They made a bridge from popsicle sticks, cardboard and glue that held 240 kgs, which was over 500 times the weight of the bridge before it broke. Their structure weighing 260 grams was able to support 240 kgs, before it broke. The girls each won $100 and $1000 for the college. It is the fourth year in a row where Newlands College have won the top prize in this event.

I look forward to seeing you at our Active Learning Showcase on Monday 5 September 4.00-6.00 pm. More information will follow shortly.

Third Message

23 September 2016

The term has now concluded and it has been extremely full on with the activities that the students have been involved in, as well as learning in the classroom. There are numerous highlights and some of these include: the NOSCARS, as always a great night out, the Year 11 Semi-Formal, the Risk Management Trip to Mt Ruapehu and our Active Learning Night where the students could show and talk about their projects.

However, we are at the business end of the school year for our seniors and by now they would have received the results of their internal assessments and practice examinations. These are posted on the portal. With just over three weeks left next term, approximately 12 periods per class, it is essential that students have a study plan in place and I strongly urge the students to use these holidays effectively. Once school has finished we will be running tutorials in each of the student's subjects to help them with their revision, as well as additional standards for students who are on the cusp of achieving their relevant NCEA certificate. More information about these will be provided early next term.

I am aware that there has been a lot of discussion about the MCAT examination. This is a Level 1 NCEA Mathematics standard that is externally assessed, but earlier in the year than the rest of the examinations. Concerns have been raised about the difficulty of the examination and that the problems were presented in a format that students (across New Zealand) were not overly familiar with. NZQA has made a number of responses to these concerns. Under older examination systems, that some of you will be familiar with such as School Certificate, the solution to this problem was to scale the results, e.g. 50% of students would end up passing regardless of their mark (which is one of the reasons why the system was done away with). Achievement Standards assess students ability to do (or not be able to do) a task and the result is an Achieve, Merit or Excellence. While these results cannot be scaled, adjustments to the marking schedule can be made so that more students can achieve, and this is what I understand NZQA plans to do with the MCAT examination.

One of the concerns is that if students do not achieve the MCAT then this will affect their chances of gaining numeracy. I would like to remind parents and students that numeracy can be gained from other subjects such as Economics and Graphics so the pool of credits is greater than those found in the Mathematics course.

Next term we also hold a number of celebrations, Arts Awards, Sports Awards, Senior and Junior Prizegivings to name a few. These are special occasions and I would like to suggest that you put the dates, found in the calendar on our website in your diary now.

I wish you all the best for the holiday break.

Nga Mihi Nui

Grant Jones

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Additional information about what's been happening in the college can be found at publicity. It's well worth a read. Our sports information has also been updated and this can be found at





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