Nga Puna O Waiorea

Principal's Greeting

19 January, 2011

Kia ora tatou katoa. New Year’s greetings to all families belonging to the Western Springs College school community.

We are looking forward to a year of significant development in our progress towards creating a modernised learning environment for our students and teachers.

2010 NCEA Results
The provisional NCEA results are once again extremely pleasing, comparing very favourably with the outstanding 2010 results at this stage:

  • The Level 3 University Entrance pass rate is 82%.
  • The Level 3 Certification pass rate is 77%.
  • The Level 2 Certification pass rate is 87%.
  • The Level 1 Certification pass rate is 88%.
  • The Level 1 Literacy pass rate is 95%.
  • The Level 1 Numeracy pass rate is 99.6%.

Note that these pass rates are likely to increase by the time (March) results are finalized. National comparisons will be possible later in term one when NZQA have confirmed these results.

Excellence Certificates

Congratulations to the following top students who gained Excellence Certificates:

Level 3 Level 2 Level 1
Phoebe Balle Max Diack Jessica Barris
Ariella Balmforth Zoe Dunster Jack Beesley
Sophie Blazey Amy Flynn Robina Brock
Jake Cherrie Tiana Gibbons-Campbell Hannah Clarke
Rory Clarke Taylor Groves Faith Cleverley
Allanah Colley Nathaniel Howe Mitchell Cosgrave
Catherine Cumming Asher James Georgia Cranswic
Molly Hyland Lucy Lever Bianca Cutts
Grace Kennedy Ryan MacAllister Nikita Dergunov
Zoe Marler Daniel McBride Josephine Desmond
Liam O’Dwye Oliver Mills Georgia Edwards
Sophie Wellnitz Nell Mooney Chelsea Fowler
  Shaheen Patel Renata Gottgtroy
  Mary Peirse-O’Byrne Theo Hewlett
  James Philpott Marycarol Holdaway
  Tom Shore Stuart Holdaway
  Nicholas Short Cait Johnson
  Tim Webby Maddison Kinney
  Hetty Wheeler-Bowden Jesse Loveridge
  Eva Woodward Isobel MacEwan
  Xixi Xian Abby Metson
    Thomas Monro
    Kate Morrison-Buckley
    Redmond Mortimer
    Kieran O’Donnell
    Erin O’Flaherty
    George Penlington
    Aimee Redman
    Jonnie Ribera
    Joel Riddell
    Eden Robert
    Georgia Rudd
    Teri Styles
    Shayna Tan
    Jack Tapsell
    Madeleine Trusewick
    Lusitania Vete
    Hannah Ward
    Caleb Wells
    Lucy Whitelock-Bell

We are very encouraged by these levels of excellent achievement: 15% of our Level 1 students, and 10% of our Level 2 students have gained Excellence Certificates, surely a portent of fine academic achievement during 2011 and 2012. Scholarship examination results are expected next month.

School Developments
Following a staff review of ways in which teaching and learning could be enhanced by improving the school ICT infrastructure the board of trustees has approved a development plan which includes the following features:

  • a high speed wireless system;
  • the acquisition and use of class sets of i-pads and/or notebooks to facilitate research in standard classrooms;
  • the provision of student-managed e-portfolios for all students;
  • staff professional development focused on teacher e-portfolios to facilitate optimum use of ICT resources;
  • the establishment of a parent portal providing parents with more prompt access to assessment results, class learning programmes and attendance data;
  • new servers designed to increase the system capacity to host more simultaneous users;
  • an improved backup system;
  • resourcing the employment of two full-time technicians;
  • a more proactive and responsive website.

The financial demands of these and other developments have prompted the decision to establish a part-time (20 hours per week) school development officer position. The intention is to further develop networks and links which will maximize the school’s ability to take advantage of both the monetary support and the specialist expertise embedded in the school community. The job description for the position, which will be advertised soon, will be available on request next week by emailing goodesc@westernsprings.school.nz .

Western Springs College is on the cusp of some major building developments which we expect to have confirmed by the Ministry of Education within the next month. We are planning to exercise a roll growth entitlement to a new 4-6 classroom block which is likely to be situated between TAPAC and the Waiora health, guidance and counseling centre; four relocatable classrooms have been temporarily brought on site and situated between B block and TAPAC to provide student accommodation relief until building of the new block is completed.

We are currently awaiting the Ministry’s decision to replace or repair the art (E) and technology (F) blocks which have both been found to be structurally unsound; B and D blocks, the two double storey buildings, are showing similar signs of erosion and are likely to require attention or demolition within the next decade. Clearly, we are now operating in a new climate of concern: in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes seismic risk is being taken very seriously.

Other decisions which are pending are Ministry confirmation of funding for the south-western field renovation and the replacement of the walkways network carrying the overhead services.

Unfortunately, after months of careful deliberation we have had to make the decision to fell the gum trees along the eastern boundary adjacent to the public carpark. It seems that the trees were planted virtually above the main stormwater and sewerage lines which run down towards the southern boundary. These lines require major repair to complete the work carried out last year under the site renovation programme; the trees cannot survive this work. Another compelling factor is the collapse into the carpark of one of the large trees during the storm last September: safety has become a real concern. We will take the opportunity to replace the dilapidated fence and to resource the planting of native trees along the school frontage.

Fees and Donations
I want to thank those parents who have paid their fees and donations in 2010. However, it has become a matter of concern that the Western Springs College school community is not supporting the college to the extent that other school communities are doing so through the school donation. For the last two years we have a very disappointing collection rate of 55-60%. During this time we have been carefully navigating our way through a precarious financial position accentuated by ongoing cash flow difficulties. This situation provides part of the context in which we have decided to establish the above- mentioned school development position with a view to generating more locally raised funds.

It is undisputed that the Ministry of Education operations grant does not cover expenses for upper decile schools. The reality is that donations are an essential source of funds if we are to meet this shortfall. It is critically important that our families support the college in this way if we are to resource the quality education expected by our school community.

As outlined above, we are planning a wide range of ICT developments designed to provide our students and teachers with a modernized C21st learning environment. We will not be able to do this unless the school community provides a basic level of financial support through the school donation.

For those families who would like to make a special additional donation to support the ICT development plan we have enclosed a payment sheet. A reminder that all donations are fully tax deductible.

New Families’ BBQ
A warm invitation is given to all families new to the Western Springs College school community to attend a barbeque on the campus on Wednesday, 16 February, from 4-6pm. This event, promoted by the Parent Action Group, is an excellent opportunity to meet form teachers, subject teachers, deans and senior managers, along with parents from the board of trustees and the Parent Action Group, in addition to other parents new to the school. ( Note that the time for the barbeque has had to be scheduled earlier this year to accommodate the ongoing PPTA work ban affecting duties beyond 5.00pm, meaning that parents will have to make contact with teachers during the first hour. This is not an ideal arrangement, but we believe that it is preferable to cancelling the event altogether.)

Student success is built on a close partnership between school and home. Do take this chance to begin building relationships with the key staff identified above.

I look forward to seeing you at school events throughout the year.

Ken Havill