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February 28, 2016

posted 27 Feb 2016, 17:04 by Julie Shawcross   [ updated 27 Feb 2016, 17:38 ]

Kia ora koutou,


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. 

Athletics Day

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.

Important Visitors

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.

And you can click here for a copy of Holly’s speech.

And Finally…

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

You can find out more information and how to make a submission at this link

Nga mihi nui,

Trevor Jones, Principal