South Otago High School

South Otago High School

Quality Education in a Supportive Community

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  • Principal’s Address 24th October 2014

    24th Oct 2014

    Tena Koutou Katoa

    Investing in Education Success

    Next Tuesday, 28th October at 7.00pm at the South Otago Town and Country Club, we are co-hosting the Director of Education for Otago and Southland to speak to this community about the government’s planned Investing in Educational Success (IES). You will remember when the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, announced this initiative several months ago on radio and television.

    There has been much debate over the merits and issues of the distribution of $359M into education over the next four years. The secondary school teachers union (PPTA) and the secondary principals association (SPANZ), have worked with the Minister of Education around the criteria for creating the Community of School’s approach that the initiative promotes. The primary teachers union (NZEI), have not been in favour of much of this initiative, wanting a different approach.

    Now that the election is over and the government remains the same, IES is now going ahead – with or without the NZEI’s approval or support for its current iteration.

    Since we are a high school with ten contributing primary schools, our academic success is inextricably linked to the academic success of those primary schools. I have met with Paddy Ford, Principal of Balclutha Primary School and Pauline Simpson, Principal of Rosebank Primary School and we have arranged to hold this community meeting with Julie Anderson, Director of Education, so she can explain exactly how the IES will work around New Zealand – what benefits there are for schools and how the whole application process works.

    I have invited all schools in the South Otago area – their Board of Trustees, teachers, principals and whanau, so we can all hear at the same time, the actual guidelines and set up of this new opportunity in education.

    I invite you as our parents and caregivers, to the Town and Country Club on Tuesday, 28th October, at 7.00pm to listen to Julie Anderson (the Director of Education for this area). Julie has only recently been appointed to this position – she was the Principal of Queens’ High School in Dunedin for the last decade, so is well placed to discuss this initiative and the benefits it may have for our collective schools.

    Student and Part-time Employment

    I have had concerns raised by parents that young people holding part-time jobs have been asked to do ten hour shifts and additional days in their employment. This has caused some frustration for parents trying to encourage their young people to devote this precious time before external examinations, to study. I have contacted one employer over this issue and she has told me that as a major employer of young people, she is only too willing to listen to parents and cut back on this request or expectation. The employer has asked me to invite you, as parents, to contact her directly and tell her your concerns.

    It is not easy being parents wanting the best for your child in all they do. It is admirable that so many of our young people are playing sport, working and still achieving well at school. You and I are both aware of how critical the next six weeks is for academic success. I know it is not easy having difficult conversations with employers about hours or additional shifts, but the employer I spoke to has a point.

    Each of you concerned about over-work needs to speak up on behalf of your young person. Each may have a different number of examinations – some have none, or just one, some have twelve or more. It would be impossible for an employer to make a blanket rule. It may severely disadvantage a young person in need of the wages earned. So, please make direct contact with the employer and tell them what the ideal hours and days of employment are for your young person. Academic success may depend upon it.

    Attendance and Appointments

    Attendance at this time of the year is absolutely critical. Anything less than urgent medical or dental appointments should be made for outside school time. I ask that all whanau support us in getting young people to school every day. We now have eight teaching days left for the senior school.

    For the juniors this is equally important. We are all working on topics that will be in the upcoming junior examinations, to be held in week 5 of this term. Days off school for anything other than critical appointments or general malaise are just not acceptable. Please telephone the school if you are having difficulty getting your young person to school in the mornings. It is surprising what a visit from the Principal or the Deputy Principal at home will do for motivation or feigned illness.

    I hope the weather brightens and you all enjoy a happy, safe long weekend – with seniors studying flat out!

    Ka Kite Ano 

    Mrs Joanne Hutt

    Principal