The first week of any school year is an exciting time for everyone involved. For new boys, there is a touch of apprehension mixed with anticipation. For those returning, a sense of the same yet different, consequent of reflection and goals set anew. For teachers and other staff, it is business time, as teaching and learning begin again both in and outside the classroom across the rich dynamic of College experience.
As in all schools, the emergence of the new coronavirus has affected the start of the year for some students and staff. I am pleased we have been able to support our families through this, and would particularly like to acknowledge the work of International Student Manager Deanne Gath for her efforts in smoothing the way and keeping boys, parents, guardians and staff, especially Housemasters, informed. Unsurprisingly, our international students have been most impacted, however, a number of other students have also had to stay away. The contribution made by our international students continues to be one of College’s great strengths, as we embrace our aspiration to develop the attribute of global competence in all our students.
I have been pleased to see all boys sporting the stylish short socks and so well turned out. There will be a particular focus on standards of dress and good manners – such as punctuality and courtesy – this year, and we have started well. I ask all within our community to hold the boys to the standards we expect, as part of boys learning how to behave appropriately is about being held to account by caring adults who are themselves good role models. We all know we are the standard we accept, so we must each set the standard and live it.
One of my hopes for College is that we never become complacent or conceited in our work, but always strive to do better. Research in education is a key driver of innovation and advancement – and, with this in mind, I am pleased to announce we have been selected as one of 12 schools from the Round Square network to participate in a global research project on leadership. Run by the Education University of Hong Kong, this cross-cultural study of leadership in Round Square schools has four key objectives:
- To identify how young people conceptualise leadership as an abstract concept
- To examine the practice of who, how and why students engage in leadership
- To investigate the experience and reflections of youth leadership
- To analyse how youth leadership varies across different cross-cultural contexts worldwide
This is another exciting opportunity for College to lead as an institution and to be engaged well beyond the shores of New Zealand in our thinking. The project will be coordinated by Director of Boarding and the Centre for Character & Leadership Darrell Thatcher.
I am confident 2020 is going to be an exciting year for College, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to all our boys will achieve. As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you wish to discuss any aspect of College life.