Message from the Headmaster, Thursday 26 August 2021

As we enter our tenth day of Level 4 lockdown, I hope that you have been able to adjust to the very different challenges, and that you are able to enjoy the very special moments of the slower pace imposed upon us by these strange times. 
 
I value your continued patience as we, too, find the best ways in which to provide support for our school community. I have heard from so many of our staff, special stories of high levels of student engagement, and a genuine commitment to learning by our young men. Well done to all, students, families and staff, for ensuring this positive response. 
 
As we wait for more certainty about next week, and as we reach the halfway point of the term, I take this opportunity to alert you to two changes in our programme.
 
1. Next Wednesday, 1 September, if we remain at either Level 3 or 4, our Senior team has made the decision to have a Wellbeing Wednesday. On this day, staff will not set any new work, nor will there be any meetings with classes. Students will have the opportunity to catch up on all of the work we have covered over the past two weeks, and to take the opportunity to prepare, and organise resources for the weeks ahead. 
 
For our staff, it provides time for preparation, for marking assessments, and like our students, to take the opportunity to look forward in terms of ensuring that we are ready for the rest of the term. Students and staff have adjusted remarkably well to the change; we all learned a great deal from our experience last year. However, this lockdown was thrust upon us with no warning, and the uncertainty of its length has prevented a strategic approach, which we are working to remedy.
 
2. I am sure that you are aware of the changes announced regarding a modified timeline for NCEA examinations at the end of the Senior school year. The move of the beginning of the examination period to two weeks later will cause some movement in our end of year programme for our Senior school, and this will have consequences for our Year 9 and 10 programme. Our Executive is drafting out a new calendar, and we will share this with you as quickly as possible. However, we do know that Senior Prize giving will change to a later date, as will the release date of our Senior students for study leave. 
 
We appreciate your understanding through this time, and recognise the stress these changes may bring to your son. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time if we can help. I value the feedback I receive from you very much.
 
And remember, through these days, the wisdom which we read in the words taken from the ‘Odes’, written by the Roman poet Horace, over two thousand years ago in 65BC

“Scale back your long hopes
to a short period. 

While we speak,
time is envious and
is running away from us.

Seize the day, trusting
little in the future.”

His advice is equally as true today. As I say to our young men so often, every day matters, and never more so than in these difficult times. Take time to cherish the small graces in our lives, and stay safe and well.

I will contact you again as our situation changes, but in the meantime, have a very special weekend as a whānau.

With warmest regards
Susan Hassall