Principal News

By Simon Clarke | Posted: Thursday November 3, 2022

After consulting with parents, students, and year 8 teachers, next year we have decided to change how we create the Year 8 classes.  Intermediates should be a place where students try new experiences, find out what they like and don't like, and meet and make new friends.  We believe that creating new year 8 classes will help support one of those goals.  We also see other benefits including;

  • We can place students more carefully with teachers who we think might be the best fit for your child. 
  • The Year 8 teachers get to create their own culture and team rather than inherit one.
  • We are able to make the classroom more even based on up-to-date information.  Class creation is a complex process and it is important that classes have a balance of leaders, interests and academic ability.
  • We may be able to foster friendships with students who may have struggled in this area by placing them with like-minded people.
  • Students who have had issues in their current classes can be moved without being identified. 

On Friday, we asked the Year 7 students to let us know what friends they would like to be with in 2023.  If the teacher agrees with the student's view on who they work best with, your child will go through with 2-3 friends that they have selected.  

As I mentioned creating classes is a complex issue that requires a lot of thought and time.  The more information we have at the start the better, as changing students later on can cause a domino effect of having to undo a lot of work.  If you have a special request for your child for 2023 or some important information that you think we don't have then please fill out this form.  Especially information about what children perhaps shouldn't be with your child based on their primary school experience.

Thank you to those parents who attended the Nathan Wallis evening last week. Nathan is a neuroscience educator and parenting commentator. It was an entertaining and informative meeting and was an excellent refresher for me on the adolescent brain and how it functions.  

He made some excellent points, one being that the teenage brain goes through a tremendous of change during adolescence and works very differently from an adult brain.  For some, you may know this as the grunting stage!  

We shouldn't expect them to respond like adults especially in times of stress or high emotion because, at times, they are physically incapable of doing so.  The top part of the brain that helps us to reason and understand, control our mood, understand consequences and think about the well-being of others is less effective in the adolescent brain.  

Nathan suggested that when teenagers are in that state of high emotion there is not a lot of point in asking them to explain or reason their behaviour, a simple acknowledgement that they are sad, angry and frustrated is required as well as the need to give them time before moving to the reasoning stage.

Another strong message that was delivered was the harmful effect of alcohol on the teenage brain.  The physical impact of having more than one standard drink on the teenage brain is extremely damaging but also our behaviour as parents is important too.  It is the normalising of a heavy drinking culture by parents in front of their children which sends the message that it is normal and to be expected of them.  You can read this interesting article here or watch the video here

Nga mihi nui

Simon Clarke

Principal