From the Principal
Kia ora koutou,
Not long ago there were a few comments in the social media about bullying at our school so now is a good time to raise this issue in the newsletter.
Firstly, bullying takes place in all schools and Westland High School is no different. We do not condone bullying at our school nor do we tolerate it outside of the school. We always take allegations of bullying seriously and every incident of bullying is investigated and recorded. We encourage all students who are bullied or who witness bullying to report it to a teacher or another adult.
As a restorative school our goal is to find permanent and long lasting resolutions to bullying by getting all parties to understand each other better, to see each other's point of view and get on with each other in the future. That is not always easy to achieve, can take a lot of time and sometimes we don't achieve that goal. In which case, we need to provide other solutions and consequences.
Restorative processes will often involve students and whanau from both sides and it is very important that we have the full support of the community to help us to minimise bullying at the school. Just as we encourage students to report bullying as soon as possible after it has happened we need our parents, caregivers and whanau to do the same. Delays in reporting bullying always make it harder to resolve. Please do not keep bullying to yourselves. If you do not report it you guarantee that it will not get resolved. Please encourage you sons and daughters to report bullying whether they are the victim or a witness.
When witnesses report bullying to teachers we can often intervene before it reaches more serious stages. Please, also remember that there are many forms of bullying and these include spreading rumours, ignoring or isolating people, calling people names, using power to make people feel bad, cyber bullying, physical assault, telling lies about people. The list is endless.
Another important issue is about how students respond to bullying. Violence or bullying back are never good responses to bullying and neither is taking sides. It is very important that we encourage students whether they are being bullied or whether they are observers not get involved in ways that make it worse. Encouraging people to fight, taking sides or ganging up will escalate matters and only makes things more difficult to resolve. It can also be helpful when people write about incidents on social media because they can distort the truth by making false allegations and inflame situations making them harder to resolve. We can only make decisions in school that are based upon reliable and accurate evidence and sometimes this is much harder when comments have been made on social media.
So, my message to everyone is to report bullying as soon as you can so that it can be resolved. Do not take sides and do not escalate matters in any way. We have worked hard at having staff visible whilst on break or lunchtime duties in key areas where bullying takes place and currently things are calmer. My expectation for teachers is to respond to all allegations of bullying. That means dealing with it or passing it on. Our teachers are passionate about our school and they are all very caring and will always do their best to find ways to resolve bullying situations. However, with the best will in the world our attempts to resolve issues don't always work, in which case we try different strategies until we do find a solution.
We all want our school to be a safe place for everyone and we all have a role to play. We need to encourage our students to treat everyone with respect, to be inclusive and how to deal with problems in ways that maintain everyone's mana. Observing our two core values of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga ensure that this will happen.
On a more positive note I have been approached by two groups of students who are interested in playing an active role to help reduce bullying at the school and we have already discussed some ideas about how we might achieve this. Mr. Meissel is also interested in working with the community to help address bullying in the school and community and he has organized a meeting on Thursday next week. If you are interested in being part of this group could you contact him by email. People who step up and commit to initiatives like this can have a huge impact in a school and I am excited by these kinds of proposals because of their potential to impact across the whole community in a sustainable way.
We are currently experiencing some unforeseen issue with our chromebooks delivery which are beyond our control. Please accept my sincere apologies for this. we are doing everything that we can and we hope to have them at the end of next week.
Finally, congratulations to our students for some fantastic events recently. Firstly, congratulations to Ms Bateup, all the staff and all of the students for making athletics day such an awesome event. We had great weather, a fantastic turn out (students and parents) and a truly amazing event. Well done everyone.
We have also had lots of other events where our students have behaved impeccably including the presentation on alcohol and the teenage brain by Nathan Makaire-Wallis, swimming sports and the ugly Shakespeare company. Our touch teams did well recently in their first tournament with the girls coming first and the boys coming second. Well done to everyone. We are all so proud of you.
Head Girl and Head Boy
We have recently had our election for Head Girl and Head Boy. After a very close vote the results are as follows:
Head girl Ellie Pearson Head boy Mitchell Robinson
Deputy head girl Laura Jones Deputy head boy Rhys McAuliffe
Thank you to everyone who put their name forward for this and well done to Ellie, Mitchell, Laura and Rhys. This is a very important role for the school and I am sure you will all do admirably. I look forward to working with you.
Nga mihi nui,
Kia ora koutou,
2017 is already upon us and I would like to welcome everyone to our school. Firstly, I would like to extend a special welcome to the students, whanau and teachers who are starting at the school for the first time. Our school has a strong community and you will find everyone is willing to help newcomers to our school. Of course, I also extend my warmest wishes to those people who are returning again.
We have had a very successful start to the year with two very busy but productive teacher only days, sorting out timetables and schedules and the first full days of teaching. This year we had to have our pōwhiri outside because we no longer have a school hall. It proved to be a great start to the year and there was lots of positive feedback about how nice the event was. So thank you and well done to everyone involved, including our students who always behave with pride and dignity at such events.
During the holiday there has been a lot of work in the school related to the rebuild and we are also painting most of the school this year. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been too kind this summer and that has slowed the painting down considerably.
I am very pleased to be able to say, “well done,” to our students for some very good NCEA results this year, with all of our year 13 students who wanted to go to university achieving their goal, with our highest number of level 3 excellences achieved by our students for at least five years and our level 2 results improved on previous years, however, our level 1 results are a cause for concern.
In the junior school our year 8 students continued to improve their overall performance at national standards but our year seven students did not achieve as well as expected. This may have been attributed to the disruption at the start of the year which will have been more critical for the year 7 students. However, we will be keeping a close eye on the progress of our year junior students this year.
One of our goals this year will be to ensure that parents and whanau are better informed about the progress of our students and we will be issuing regular reports about attendance, attitude and achievement. We believe that this will make whanau better able to support the students and identify if they are starting to struggle with their learning.
We have also created three academic and pastoral leaders who will be responsible for tracking and monitoring student progress:
Junior school (7&8): Miss Harrison
Middle School (9&10): Miss Bateup
Senior School (11-13): Miss Reeves.
This is an important role in the school’s drive to raise student achievement and each academic and pastoral leader will be tracking student achievement, attendance, behaviour and uniform to ensure that they are on task and committed to the school’s values.
We will be focusing on school uniform at the start of this year and we are asking for your support in this area please. If students are not wearing the correct school uniform and are unresponsive to their whanau teacher’s requests, we will be contacting parents and caregivers. Students wearing the correct uniform make a very positive statement about the school to the wider community. We want all students to be proud to be part of the school community and wearing the correct uniform tells us that a student is committed to our rules, values and protocols.
If you want to find out about our school uniform please visit our website: (http://www.westlandhigh.school.nz/).
School uniform has been pretty good on the whole so far except for a few individuals and students wearing incorrect shoes and socks. I would be grateful if parents and caregivers could please check these items and ensure that students have the correct socks and plain black shoes as soon as possible.
Some of you will be aware that the school has recently joined Toki Pounamu and this will provide new learning opportunities for students in years 7 & 8 this year. It does include the use of a chromebook but it is not purely about digital learning. Some important points in relation to this:
Westland High School has an extensive co-curricular programme and a lot of highly successful teams and clubs. If you are new to the school please take advantage of those opportunities and even students who have been here a while, why not try something new this year.
So, we have an exciting year ahead of us , full of exciting opportunities and I hope that you have a thoroughly successful year ahead of you. If you have any questions, queries or concerns please do not hesitate to come and see us. We want this to be a great year for every single student at the school.
Nga mihi nui,
Kia ora koutou,
Academic year 2016 has finally drawn to a close. So, first of all I would like to congratulate everyone on an incredibly successful year. This year presented our community with some real challenges and we have shown strength, resilience and perseverance as we have risen above every single obstacle that we have met.
I would like to thank everyone in the community for the amazing support that they provided both when we were working off-site and when we were back in school. Thank you, to all of our staff for the wonderful job that they have done in providing our students with the opportunity to succeed in their learning despite all of the difficulties.
Thank you to all of the coaches, managers and helpers who have run our teams, supported our performing arts events, supported trips and visits and helped to provide wealth of unique opportunities for our students. Thank you also to the BOT for helping us to navigate some pretty stormy waters this year, particularly at the start of the year after the fire.
Finally, well done to all of those students who have given their best and enabled our teams to succeed to such a high level and for making it such a pleasure to be a teacher at our school. Let’s hope that we can make next year even more successful.
I would like to give best wishes to everyone who is leaving the school. All of the students who will be moving on to another stage of their life journey. This includes year 13 students heading for university or other colleges, as well as those moving to different parts of the country. I would also like to wish all of the teachers who are leaving every success in the future.
For those of us who remain we have a lot to look forward to. We will be continuing our journey to rebuild the school as well as the development of the community and sports centre. Our aim is to make sure that both projects become part of the same vision and that the community has a great opportunity to be involved in the process. It is important, however, to remember that they are two separate projects and that our first priority has to be to ensure that we do an excellent job of replacing the damaged parts of the school building.
As I have said, at all of the large school functions towards the end of the year, we have had to be more relaxed about things this year because of the lack of resources and because of the stress and trauma that people have been through.
So, next year is a fresh start and we will certainly be raising the bar higher. This time last year we had strong evidence of improved attendance and better behaviour by students and we were keen to build upon this. Unfortunately, this was not possible. Our focus on attendance in 2015 led to an increased attendance of more than 10%.
In 2017 we will return to the system of reporting attendance to parents at fortnightly intervals but we will develop this further to include information about attendance, attitude and achievement. This will enable you as parents or carers to know about issues much earlier and therefore to be able to provide the support for our students to get back on track for success. We will also be focusing more on uniform next year and if students are not in the correct uniform they can expect the school to be contacting whanau on a regular basis. School uniform creates a positive image of the school and this leads to more opportunities from the community such as jobs in the future. It makes sense to create a positive image of the school that provides a better future for our students.
We will also be signing up to the Toki Pounamu Cluster and this will bring exciting new pedagogical practices to our school. We will be taking big steps to build better learning focused relationships with students, whanau and the community. The school will have been upgraded considerably when we return and most of it will have been repainted. So we can continue to make our school better in every sense and create a school that we can be even more proud of in the future.
The arrangements for the start of term are in this newsletter. However, can I draw special attention to whanau of students in year 7 next year to make sure that chromebooks are ordered through the school by the 27th January. If you have any problems please contact the school. Please note students in any year group can take advantage of the offer for chromebooks, so if you are interested just contact reception.
In conclusion, I would like to say well done for making 2016 such a successful year, thank you for all your support and I look forward to an even more successful year in 2017. Have a great holiday, seasons greetings to you all and the very best wishes for the new year. If we continue to work as a team and build stronger learning focused relationships we can guarantee an even more successful year.
Nga mihi nui,
Kia ora koutou,
I hope that you have had a good break and that you are ready for the next term. Some key work was carried out to restore our building over the holiday and I thought it would be useful to provide you with an update.
The majority of the work to reconnect the heating system was completed according to schedule. However, some leaks were found in unexpected areas and some of these have been difficult to fix. The current work should be completed by Tuesday unless further problems are encountered. We expect to have heaters working in the school on Wednesday. In the meantime students and staff are advised to wear warm clothing to the school if cold weather is expected.
School uniform is expected, but warm jackets can be worn over the uniform.
The Internet will be running across the whole school and there will be full access to staff and students. The Internet speed will unfortunately be quite a bit slower for a short while until the next stage of the repairs are carried out. We will have a timescale for the full upgrade later this week but we expect to be done fairly soon.
After the previous samples taken from some classrooms we have carried out further tests in A and B wing and these have shown high levels of mould and bacteria, most likely caused by the water in the building after the fire. Some levels are very high. Fortunately, there are no class A (Harmful) moulds or bacteria that present a serious risk to health. The main concern is the existence of high levels of pseudomonas bacteria. These are commonly found outside in dirt and water. Most are harmless to humans. However, continuous exposure over a long period of time can result in allergic reactions and other side effects. The fact that there have not been any reported instances of allergic reactions or other effects in the school is a positive sign.
Whilst we are concerned about this situation it is actually far less of a problem than when students have infectious illnesses such as the various forms of flu.
In the first instance we will minimise use of the contaminated rooms as much as possible and ensure that everything is done to improve hygiene standards by having anti-bacterial hand wash in classrooms and not eating in the rooms etc.
We are by no means complacent about the situation and are seeking further advice on the situation. Current options being considered include a disinfectant regime, immediate removal and replacement of all carpets and getting some mobile classrooms onto the site so that we can close down A and B wing as soon as possible to undertake the best course of remedial action.
We would ask parents and caregivers to remain alert and inform the school if their son or daughter is experiencing any allergic reactions and also to seek medical advice if they have any concerns.
There will be a meeting at 6:00 pm on Monday 2nd May to discuss any concerns with parents or caregivers who wish to attend. This will be in room 11.
The important thing is to remain calm, maintain healthy hygiene practices and to contact the school if you have any worries or concerns. I fully understand that this is a difficult and emotional subject but we are doing everything that we can to ensure no further disruption to the education of our students whilst ensuring their health, safety and wellbeing.
Once again I would like to thank staff, students and whanau for their cooperation and support during these difficult and challenging times.
Nga mihi nui,
Information about Pseudomonas
Pseudomonas are gram-negative bacteria. They are found widely in soil and water. Some species are very common on human skin surfaces. They favour moist areas. Only a few of the many species cause disease or infection. The most common species that causes infection is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Healthy people are usually not at risk of infection. People who already have a weakened immune system because of another illness or condition are at a higher risk of infection. This is especially true for patients who are hospitalized for an extended period of time. The bacteria can be spread in hospitals via the hands of healthcare workers or by hospital equipment that is not properly cleaned.
Pseudomonas infections are considered opportunistic infections. This means that the organism only causes disease when a person’s immune system is already impaired.
Very mild illnesses like skin rashes and ear infections have been reported in healthy individuals but they are not common.
Kia ora koutou,
The staff and students have shown remarkable resilience and flexibility and it is a credit to them all that we have managed to complete this year so successfully. Next term we will be back to normality and will once again be reporting on attendance and will also expect students to wear correct school uniform. We ask for your support in this and also to encourage students to ask for support and help with their courses if it is needed.Board of Trustee Triennial Elections, 2016
It is a very exciting time for Westland High School and there couldn’t be a better time for members of the community to get involved with the school on our board of trustees. This year Westland High School will have elections for its board of trustees (2016 Triennial Trustee Elections). This year Westland High School will have its election on the common election date of Friday, June 3rd.
The returning officer for the school is Casi Agnew who can be contacted through the school office if necessary.
Trustees play a very important strategic role in a school and it is important that the BOT contains a range of people from different backgrounds with a wide range of skills and experience. You can find out more about being a trustee here (www.trustee-election.co.nz), including a short, simple to understand video. There is also further information about being a trustee attached to this newsletter including a copy of the leaflet sent home with all students.
Prior to the election process it is important that we have accurate contact details for all parents and caregivers so that you all have an opportunity to vote for the candidates of your choice. An electoral roll for our elections will be available in school and you should check that your name is on this list. If you know that your contact details have changed or just want to check them, please provide the correct information to the school administrative team by phoning, visiting or emailing (when school reopens from May 2).
We will be calling for nominees for the election shortly and you will be contacted about this by Casi Agnew, the school returning officer. Our school has five parent representatives on the board of trustees.
Nga mihi nui,Trevor Jones, Principal
Happy Easter to everyone.
The Easter break couldn’t have come sooner for many of us. This term has been quite tiring for staff and students as we continue to manage a very big change to our lives. It has been really nice since our return to the school building, to see all of the students training for various sports. The school has been buzzing with activity and our students have already achieved really well on the field with our senior rugby sevens boys winning the West Coast tournament and some outstanding performances in the athletics including a record breaking 100m run by Sientje in year ten, beating a Canterbury record that has stood since 1997.
Open meeting to start planning for the new buildings (5:30 pm Thursday 31st March)
Now that we are back in the school building our focus has to change to the future and what will our new building look like. There are lots of questions to answer:
There are lots more questions and we want to start with the whole community, everyone connected to Westland High School and beyond.
To start the process we are inviting everyone in the community to visit the school next Thursday (31st March) any time between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm. You will have an opportunity to look around the school and also to help shape our plans for the future by sharing some of your thoughts and ideas about what the future of our school should be and how it can best meet our cultural heritage, values and aspirations for the future.
Board of Trustee Triennial Elections, 2016.
It is a very exciting time for Westland High School and there couldn’t be a better time for members of the community to get involved with the school on our board of trustees. This year Westland High School will have elections for its board of trustees (2016 Triennial Trustee Elections). The suggested common election date is Friday, June 3rd.
However, our first task is to appoint a returning officer. A returning officer should be someone who has an eye for detail, ability to follow instructions, has good communication and can work effectively under time constraints.
If you are interested in becoming the school returning officer please contact the school office and leave your contact details. You can find out more information about being a returning officer here.
Trustees play a very important strategic role in a school and it is important that the BOT contains a range of people from different backgrounds with a wide range of skills and experience. You can find out more about being a trustee here, including a short, simple to understand video.
In the next few weeks some of our current trustees will write articles in our newsletter about being a trustee so that you get a flavour of what it is like to be a trustee. It can be a challenging role but it is an extremely important and rewarding role. I hope that you are interested in becoming a school trustee and look forward to receiving your application once the official process has begun.
Prior to the election process it is important that we have accurate contact details for all parents and caregivers so that you all have an opportunity to vote for the candidates of your choice. Please contact the school office as soon as possible when any of your contact details change.
Finally, it is often said all over the world that young people are disinterested in the democratic process, so it was very pleasing when Nicole in year 13 asked me if we could organise our own school referendum. Nicole organised this for the school with the support of her whanau and we had an 85% turnout (mainly because trades students were not in school) and of those who voted 64.6% were in favour of the current flag.
Good to be back home!
It has been good to be back in our own school building again and although it is strange to see some parts missing it still feels like we are back home. Well done to our students who have responded so positively to the changes and have settled in very calmly and sensibly. Thank you too, to all of the staff who have shown real resilience and flexibility during this latest period of change. It’s also been great to see students practicing at various sports after school and there is definitely a busy feel about Westland High again.
Phase I, making the school habitable, is now completed. Phase II is making what’s left of the school as efficient as possible and there are still lots of things to sort out in this phase. Not least the heating, internet access for students, electricity in every part of the school and our telephone system. (The school can still be contacted on 03 755 6169 but we only have one line available at the moment.) Hopefully, these will be sorted as quickly as possible. If you have problems contacting the school by phone, please use email or send a note with your son/daughter. You are also welcome to just drop in to our new reception area (the school library) and you will be seen to.
It will take time for everyone to settle down into a full routine and it will continue to be stressful for our seniors and their teachers. If students are worried about their progress or any other aspect of their work, I can’t stress how important it is to discuss their concerns with their teachers. I will be looking into ways for us to provide extra support for our students and welcome any ideas or suggestions from staff, students or parents. We will also review the school calendar shortly because this has been seriously disrupted because of the long period where we have been off-site. We will, of course keep you fully informed.
We are also planning to have an open evening for the community in about two weeks time to give people a chance to see how the school looks from the inside and also an opportunity to contribute to the first discussions about the future plans for the school.
Finally, I have a few reminders of forthcoming events.
Earth Hour 2016 (Saturday 19th March 2016.)
Unfortunately, you may get this too late because it fell off my radar. This is an international event and it would have been nice if we could have inspired the community to do something together in recognition of Earth Hour. One thing that you could still do is to switch off as many of your electrical appliances as possible between 8:30 and 9:30 one evening this week. Here is a link for Earth Hour 2016: https://www.earthhour.org/ If you are interested in doing something next year please contact me with your idea.
UN International Day of Happiness (Sunday 20th March 2016.)
This is always on 20th March and is an opportunity to just be happy and share your happiness with others. We have a lot to be grateful for in Hokitika and at Westland High School. Here is a link to the UN International Day of Happiness: http://www.un.org/en/events/happinessday/
Westland High School Benefit Concert (Monday 21st March 2016.)
This has been organised by the Regent Theatre in conjunction with the performers and supported by Postie Plus. It would be great to see as many of you there as possible for what looks to be a great night. A huge thank you to all of the people involved. (http://www.hokitikaregent.com/page-events.php)
I know I keep saying this but it has been absolutely amazing how everyone in the community has rallied around to help us overcome this challenge and it really reminds you of what is special about our cool little town.
Nga mihi nui,
Tomorrow (Friday 11th March)
The teaching will continue in the offsite venues as planned.
Next week (week beginning 14th March)
Monday (Whole School):
Monday (Years 7 & 8 including JTeReo class)
Monday (Middle School and Senior Students)
Monday (Students from Te Whare Atawhai)
Tuesday (All students):
Wednesday (All students):
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at the school for their amazing efforts to keep the school functioning under very challenging circumstances, the parents and caregivers for their patience and understanding, the wider community for their fantastic support and for our students for responding so magnificently and showing real resilience when faced with significant challenges and change.
I look forward to working with the community to create our vision of what the Westland High School should be as we start the rebuild.
Nga mihi nui,
Kia ora koutou,
We are nearly there!
At last, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. I visited the school on Saturday and most of the rubble from the damaged building has been removed. There is only a few truck loads left to remove and a small part to demolish that was not in the original contract to be demolished. We should have all of our electricity sorted by Tuesday or Wednesday.
There are still other things to be done including a final clean for every room in A, B and C wings and testing for mould and spores. The fire alarm system also needs to be made functional and this will probably be the last requirement for the school to obtain a certificate of public use.
Unless something unexpected crops up, we are seriously looking at being back in school within 10-12 days, which means we do not have much longer on the alternate timetable and off-site education.
We think that it would be good to have a teacher only day before letting the students back into school to give everyone time to reorganise. I would welcome your comments on this. I would also welcome suggestions for an event or range of activities to mark our return as a school to our home. If you have any ideas, please share them with others and email them to me at the school or talk to any member of staff about your ideas.
However, we have to remember it is not all over the minute we walk back into school and we still have at least one more week off-site. The return will also be a transition and students and staff will need time to adjust before returning to high levels of performance. We all need to think about strategies and support that need to be put into place.I am also aware of the stresses that people are under at the moment, in particular in relation to progress for the seniors. Some staff are concerned about making enough progress, as are many students and parents. I have met with two groups of students with almost opposite concerns. The first group want more contact time with teachers and the second group felt that they were getting too much homework. The major stresses appear to relate to the ‘core subjects’ of maths and science (English has not been raised as an issue). Some students are definitely feeling overloaded with homework or concerned about covering the required work. In some cases they were feeling that teachers were under pressure to cover the work too quickly and therefore the students were not getting enough time to understand what was being taught.
Some ‘non-core subject’ teachers are being told by students I don’t have time to do your homework because of the amount from their ‘core subjects’. Students should not rush into a decision like this and my advice is to talk it through with a number of teachers.
I know it is easier for me to say this, because I am not taking any NCEA courses, but we need to make sure that we do everything to help our students keep an even keel. Please keep an eye on the young adults in your families and talk to them about how they are finding things. It will be natural for students to feel anxious at a time of change such as this and they will need reassurance. If you or your son/daughter have any concerns please make sure that you contact the school and talk to a teacher. We understand what they are going through and will be able to help.
I have asked all of our to teachers spend some time talking to their students and do what they can to resolve their concerns? This could mean giving less homework, or helping students to prioritise which is essential and which could be optional. If the students feel like it’s all going too fast, then our teachers will consider slowing down or organising support. It’s important too that our parents and caregivers reassure students who feel that they are not covering enough of the course content. Try not to worry about it yourselves. If you are concerned talk to someone at the school.
Remember, NZQA will give our students special consideration. At times like these we need to look after ourselves and manage the pressures so that they do not turn into stress. Stress usually leads to reduced performance and therefore we do not want stressed staff or students.
We are all doing the best that we can in the circumstances and we couldn’t ask for more. Look after yourselves and help us to look after the students.
Nga mihi nui,
Trevor Jones, Principal
Kia ora koutou,
“KEEP OUT OF WESTLAND HIGH SCHOOL”
It’s not very often that I ask the community to stay away from a school. However, the demolition and removal of the damaged part of the school has now started. You will have already seen the scaffolding going up in the car park. This is going to be a huge truck wash system to clean any traces of asbestos of the loaded trucks. When it operates it will have a system to collect all of the water from the truck and will also be double-lined with tough plastic sheeting (so there will be nothing to see once the work starts).
The school is now closed to all public should now stay off the whole school site until further notice. Contractors are only allowed on site with the permission of the main contractor. Staff, students and the public are not allowed on the site at all for their own safety.
There was a meeting of all of the contractors who have work to do on the school site to ensure that the demolition and reparation work is completed as safely and efficiently as possible. It is very difficult to assess how long the work will take because we do not know how many truck-loads of waste will need to be removed. The trucks will be operating 10 hours per day. Until it is all removed.
It is, however, now looking like it will take at least a further two weeks or longer to get the site safe, so we may need to think about not being back in school for a further three weeks. I appreciate that we would all like it to be sooner but we cannot rush things when it comes to the safety of our students and staff.
I will explain the process in more detail at an assembly for students at 09:00 this Monday and in a public information meeting at 10:00. The meetings will take place in the Regent Theatre.
Well done everyone!
I would like to once again congratulate and thank everyone for the fantastic way that they are adapting to all of the changes and making everything work despite all of the difficulties. This is a huge community effort and a great example for others to follow.
The athletics day on Thursday was a fantastic event and it was great to see so many happy and enthusiastic students and lots of whanau came along to enjoy the day too. Well done to everyone involved.
This week we were visited by the Governor-General and a group of members of parliament led by Damien O’Connor. These were very positive events and it is great to have the support of their support. Well done to all of the students involved, particularly the students who made speeches to our visitors (Alex, Brydie and Holly). You can see Brydie give her speech on our school Facebook page.
There are lots of events coming up. We have Tabloid sports this week on Wednesday, organised by some of our year 12 students (If you don’t know what it is, why not come and find out?). Days like this where the whole school get together and have fun are really important for a school but even more so at a time like this. We often under estimate the learning that takes place on these occasions too. At the last High school where I did tabloid sports the staff competed too. I wonder if that is in the plans of those year 12 students?
We also have some community events coming up, including Kids’ Day and Wild Foods. Our school have traditionally been involved in both of these events and it is even more important that we do so this year. It is a great way for Westland High School to say thank you to the community and to give something back to the community. Please encourage your sons or daughters to get involved.
Finally, thank you to everyone, staff, students, BOT, venue providers and everyone else who is supporting the school. We are definitely showing that it is the people, values and attitudes that make a school great, not buildings. (Although nice buildings do help.)
West Coast Police Review (Repeated from last week)
I know that this is a repeat from last week’s newsletter but I really do believe that this is important for our community and I would encourage you to get a response in before March 4.
Once again, I would like to draw your attention to the West Coast police review that is taking place at the moment. I feel that the reduction in the number of the community police and loss of the Youth Aid Officers will be very destructive for our community. My personal view (I am not representing the school or BOT here.) is that having local police in these positions is critical in the fight to keep our young people out of the world of crime. A centralised system with police from Greymouth having to cover the entire West Coast will be destructive to the relationships and local knowledge that our current local police officers have developed. In the proposal it seems to me that we will lose very effective community police who work with our youngsters to be replaced by traffic police on the highway. I do not feel that this is the right approach to help the vulnerable young people in our community. If you agree with these views it is very important that you express them as part of this review process.
You can find out more information at this web page http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/west-coast-police-numbers-retained-review
You can find out more information and how to make a submission at this link http://bullerdc.govt.nz/west-coast-police-review-submission-process/
Nga mihi nui,
Trevor Jones, Principal