Principals Comments 2.6.23

Posted Thursday May 25, 2023
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Kia ora e te whanau

This week I was privileged to attend the Secondary Principals Association Conference in New Plymouth. This was a great opportunity to learn about what other schools in New Zealand are doing around the upcoming curriculum changes and to talk with other professionals about their greatest challenges and opportunities are.

Some common challenges included:

- Increased student violence and stand downs/suspensions

- Increased parent hostilities and complaints

- Continued decreased literacy rates

- Lack of teacher appointments and applications

- An increasing inability to offer some subjects due to no specialists

- Teachers and senior leaders leaving the profession in their first 5 years

Some common opportunities included:

- Increased Matauranga Maori knowledge

- Ability to cross curricular teach

- Less focus on assessment and more focus on rich learning experiences

- Equity issues being acknowledged and tackled

- Use of AI technologies and they can be harnessed

- Better inclusion and diversity practices

The keynote speaker to have the greatest impression on me was Professor Yong Zhao. Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a Professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. His work focuses on the implications of globalization and technology on education and he has published over 100 articles and 30 books. I have reflected on his teachings and adapted them for a Catholic school context:

1. Embracing Individuality: Professor Zhao emphasizes the recognition and celebration of every student's individuality and unique talents. In Catholic schools, we recognize that each child is a unique creation of God, gifted with their own abilities and potential. It is our responsibility as educators to nurture and develop these individual gifts, allowing students to flourish in their own unique ways.

2. Fostering Creativity: Creativity is a vital aspect of education, and Professor Zhao underscores the need for schools to foster creative thinking and problem-solving skills. In Catholic education, we understand that God is the ultimate creator, and we are called to be co-creators in the world. Encouraging creativity in our students helps them recognise their role in God's ongoing creation and enables them to respond to the world's challenges with innovative solutions.

3. Promoting Global Competence: In an increasingly interconnected world, Professor Zhao highlights the importance of developing global competence among students. Catholic schools embrace the call to be global citizens, promoting a sense of solidarity, empathy, and responsibility toward the global community. We strive to help students understand and appreciate different cultures, traditions, and perspectives, fostering an inclusive and compassionate worldview.

4. Nurturing Entrepreneurial Mindsets: Professor Zhao encourages the development of entrepreneurial mindsets in students, empowering them to take risks, be innovative, and seize opportunities. From a Catholic lens, this idea resonates with the call to stewardship and responsible leadership. We seek to instil in our students a sense of social justice, encouraging them to use their talents and abilities to make a positive impact on society.

5. Valuing Well-being and Character Development: Professor Zhao emphasizes the importance of well-being and character development in education. Similarly, Catholic schools prioritise the holistic development of students, focusing not only on academic success but also on their spiritual, moral, and emotional growth. We strive to create a supportive and nurturing environment that promotes the well-being of every student, fostering the development of virtues and strong character.

As always, I encourage you to engage in open conversations with our teaching staff and share your thoughts on how we can continue to integrate these principles into our educational practices. Together, we can create an environment where our students can thrive, grow, and contribute to the greater good.

Charity Fulfils the Law

Tara Quinney,


Update from the Limited Statutory Manager – 2 June 2023

Thank you all for the warm welcome I received during my recent visits to your school. As I get to know more about St Peter’s, one thing that really stands out is the caliber of the students – thoughtful, articulate and engaging, and appreciative of the opportunities their school offers them.

I have now completed the information gathering phase of the intervention. The next step is to prepare an Outcomes Plan in conjunction with the Board and the Ministry of Education. It is anticipated that this plan will be formally adopted by the Board at its next meeting on 28 June 2023, after which it will be shared with the school community.

The Board is committed to working together to implement the Outcomes Plan and return the school to full self-governance and we will provide updates on progress after each Board meeting.

Thank you again for the friendly welcome and for your contributions to the scoping phase.

Nicola Hornsey

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