As our final day of Term 1 draws to a close, many question whether we will ever see a ‘normal’ settled academic year following the previous years’ Covid disruptions and then the weather events that heavily impacted the beginning of this term. But time and time again our young women’s ability to be flexible and to adapt, to continue to look for opportunities, and to make the most of what is and can be provided, is so pleasing to see.
For our seniors, there have been moments of disappointment with athletics and swimming sports cancelled, but also celebration with other activities and events being able to go ahead that haven’t previously, due to covid mandates. Community events and school days, such as the coin trail, field trips and camps have all taken place, and summer sports teams have been able to complete a season. Our planning for the remainder of the year continues to have to adapt, but our focus on providing opportunities and experiences, in and outside of the classroom that will see our young women being empowered to challenge and shape their future, remains at the forefront of all our decision making.
It is likely that there will be continued disruption during Term 2 as further industrial action is planned by the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA). A large number of our teaching staff are PPTA members, and therefore are bound by the industrial actions. The PPTA has made it clear that the “actions taken are part of negotiations for improved salary and conditions for the whole profession”. Although we are aware of a planned full day strike and then the rostering home of year levels from Year 9-13, official notification is not received by our Board’s presiding member or myself until 3 days before the action commences.
We understand that the impact of industrial action can be unsettling. However, we are able to plan and adjust teaching programmes accordingly due to the advanced notice we have received and will continue to communicate as efficiently and effectively as possible when an official strike action notice is received.
At this point, it is important to highlight that students will return to school for Term 2 on Wednesday 26 April. This is because there is a mandated teacher only day that schools have had to provide due to the New Zealand Curriculum refresh. As Tuesday 25 April is ANZAC day and a public holiday we, along with 90% of Auckland schools, chose Monday 24 April for our teacher only day.
As mentioned, this academic year and Term didn’t start as planned, but our young women have engaged in their academic studies, sports and other extracurricular activities fully. They were challenged at the start of the year to set goals, and during this Term break are encouraged to reflect on what they have achieved, what has gone well, what hasn’t, and it is through this reflection I hope that they can continue to learn and develop strategies which they can put into practise as they prepare for Term 2.
As I will continue to do before each Term break, I challenge our students over the next two weeks to find a balance between rest and recuperation, and preparation and self improvement. Yes, our young women need to have a break, but they also need to ensure that each day they are doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity, at least 30 minutes of reading, and unplugging from devices at least 30 minutes before bed to ensure they return to school reinvigorated, refreshed and ready to make the most of the continuing opportunities the College has to offer.
I wish all in our community a blessed Easter, and to our students and staff, a safe and restful term break.
We thank you Lord, for this term.
For our challenges, our successes, and the mistakes from which we have learnt.
Be with us as we spend our time with family and friends.
Give us strength and courage to do what is right: to be witnesses of our faith.
Help us to be a practical Christian these holidays, to appreciate what others do for us, to give time and effort to help others.
To be peacemakers in our family.
Keep us safe in our activities; give us good rest and good fun.
Bring us back refreshed and ready for a new term.
And may Christ, Our Risen Saviour, always be there by our side to bless us most abundantly and be our loving guide.