Principal's Comment

Posted Thursday November 16, 2023

Kia ora e te whanau

A recent study by NZQA found that 32% of boys who were in Year 11 in 2020 ended up eventually finishing their time at school having gained the qualification of University Entrance (UE). For female students it was 45%. That is a big gap.

Some of you will be thinking that this is not such a big deal. Afterall not all students want to go to University, with many aspiring to do other things in life. While this is correct it is not the complete picture. The question that needs to be asked is how comfortable are we as a community that has 68% of our current 18/19 year old young men and 55% of our current 18/19 year old young women not having attained our highest secondary school qualification?

Perhaps some of it can be attributed to the name of the qualification, which maybe we could change. Being called UE suggests only those interested in going down that path will bother with it. Attaining the highest qualification possible tells a lot about a student. It tells not just the universities of their capability, but it also tells prospective employers. It tells them they are reliable, that they turned up to school and that they clearly have the ability to manage their workload. It also tells them that they possess a high calibre of knowledge and skill, which after all is the point of a qualification.

To change the name of UE to something like Higher School Certificate or Level 4 could be a far more appropriate name for our highest qualification. The messaging around that would go a long way in clearing up any confusion about what the qualification was for. It would also hopefully stop some schools, when challenged on their low UE pass rates, not automatically defending these results by saying their students don’t aspire to enter tertiary study.

At St Peter’s College, the value of commitment is clearly shown by our students and staff due to our excellent academic achievement rates in NCEA and I am very upfront that we expect all our young people to achieve New Zealand’s highest school qualification. It should be the goal for all boys and girls, and it is gratifying that many do this, but we could be doing better. Last year 87% of our girls attained UE while only 52% of our boys did. As our seniors tackle their exams, we ask them to prioritise these next few weeks. Whether Level 1 is the goal, or UE – make every effort to get it!

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

+ We look forward to welcoming our new students for 2024 on Wednesday, November 22nd and thank the current Year 12 leaders for coming in to assist with this day.

+ I am away at the Catholic Principal’s conference in Wellington next Monday and Tuesday.

+ The Year 10 students have an opportunity to visit SIT next Thursday to see what exciting career pathways they have to offer.

+ On Friday, our Year 7 and 8 girls and boys rugby teams play in the awesome Jonty Carran tournament in Otautau.

Charity Fulfils the Law