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From the Head of Secondary School

On Strowan - Volume 14 // Issue 1 // 25 January 2019

More news for Secondary School

The Secondary School covers Years 9–13. Head of Secondary School is Evert van Florenstein.

I hope that you and your children have had an opportunity to enjoy some quality time together. My best wishes to current staff, students and families, and a warm welcome to all of you who are joining
the College this year.

I was absolutely delighted with the NCEA examination results for 2018, a just reward for the hard work the students put in, together with your support and the support of their teachers. To recognise the importance of success in the achievement of external Achievement Standards, we will be acknowledging the students who achieved three or more subject Excellence endorsements at NCEA Level 3 at the upcoming Academic Assembly.

The start of the school year is almost upon us, and this will have prompted students to reflect on what they achieved in 2018; their successes and what they might have done better. Coming back to school is always filled with a mixture of excitement and anxiety; catching up with friends, new teachers, and subjects, new sporting and cultural opportunities. Fortunately, we have plenty of support and guidance available as students start the new academic year.

Our commitment to student and staff well-being continues in 2019. Students will have a programme delivered to them by guest speakers, Heads of Schools, Deans, and tutors, that will focus on their well-being. Student wellness is recognised as being a key component of their success both inside and outside of the classroom. We will continue to hold a number of seminars and presentations for parents
which focus on the issues our adolescents currently face, well-being and positive education, and how you as parents can help them.

To further support the well-being of our Year 9 and 10 students, we are in the process of rolling out the ‘Mobile Zone’ app from Family Zone. Thank you to those who downloaded the app last term, you are all good to go. The ‘Mobile Zone’ app will enable the blocking of social media such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc. and age inappropriate sites during school hours on the student’s smartphones when using a 4G connection. Parents, the ‘Family Zone’ app will also give you control over what your children have access to outside of school time, but this needs to be set up by yourselves.

Our Director of ICT, Dave Hart, has sent out information on how to sign up for the Family Zone app. Please contact our ICT Helpdesk if you need any assistance with this process or if you have any questions that Family Zone themselves are unable to answer.

Please be aware that your son/daughter will not be able to use their smartphone at College if for one reason or another you do not wish to have the app installed on their smartphone. The expectation will be that they always keep their smartphone in their bag. Should they get caught using their smartphone in school hours without the app installed, they will be asked to hand in their phone to the Middle School Office for collection at the end of the day.

There is a slight change in the timing of the highly regarded Parent–Student–Tutor conferences. Boarding conferences will occur in Week 1, with Years 9, 12 and 13 on Tuesday from 4.00pm–5.00pm, and Years 10 and 11 on Wednesday from 3.45pm–5.00pm. The Day School conferences will occur on Monday 25 February. My PA, Barbara Moore, will send out the relevant information and booking links in due course.

These conferences will allow you the opportunity to speak directly with your son/daughter’s tutor who has the primary responsibility for their overall pastoral and academic well-being.

The Mihi Whakatau or Welcome Assembly will start the formal proceedings for the year on Wednesday 30 January. The mihi is a formal way of respecting people by acknowledging their mana and tapu and requires the current staff and students to formally welcome the manuhiri, all those who are ‘new’ to the College.

The next formal event will be the Leadership Assembly to be held on Friday 1 February. This will include the induction of the 2019 Heads and Deputy Heads of College, Heads of Boarding and College prefects.

We will continue to use the Fortnightly Notes to keep you updated with how your son/daughter is contributing to their learning through their attitude and effort in class. Access to these scores is via the Community Portal, which also provides assessment and attendance information. Instructions on how to access the Community Portal will sent out to you prior to the first set of Fortnightly Notes.

The College said farewell to several teaching staff at the end of 2018. These included Mr Graeme Besley, Ms Dianne MacDonald, Mr Michael Reid and Miss Jessie Watts. Miss Dianna Crawford, Mrs Erin Swarbrick and Mrs Kelly Marsh-Smallman will be on maternity leave for 2019.

We welcome a few new teachers to the College for 2019.

Mrs Sarah Exon, Assistant Principal for Data
Sarah has come to us from Avonside Girls’ High School

Mr Matt Parr, Director of Boarding
Matt has come to us from Christchurch Boys’ High School

Mr Kane Boulton, Head of Social Sciences
Kane has come to us from Napier Boys’ High School

Mr James Jenkinson, English
James has come to us from Ashburton College

Mr John Quealy, Mathematics
John has returned from his sabbatical

Miss Flora Brons, Agriculture
Flora comes to us from the Grad School

Mr Pete Westrupp, Te Reo Māori
Pete comes to us from the College of Education

Mrs Justine Lee, Digital Technology
Justine comes to us from the College of Education

I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to all new families joining us this year. I hope that you quickly come to be part of the College ‘family’ and understand that together we will do all that we can to both support the academic learning and overall well-being and development of your son/daughter, and to ensure that they grow into positive, resilient, and well-informed young adults.

We have very high expectations of our students with regards to their conduct and appearance, and we appreciate your assistance in setting and maintaining a high standard. I thank you in advance for your support. We will remind the students of our expectations on their return to school and we will contact you immediately if there are any issues.

I wish every student in the Secondary School all the best for the year ahead.


Evert van Florenstein
Head of Secondary School
Deputy for Rector

On Strowan - Volume 14 // Issue 1 // 25 January 2019