One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in an independent school is the richness of the programmes on offer. Indeed, this is frequently the reason parents choose this type of education for their sons.
In recent weeks, College has been a busy, vibrant place. We have had our swimming sports and Athletics Day, run a most successful Old Boys reunion weekend, which involved current students acting as tour guides and advocates for the school as it is, plus our busy schedule of House competitions have begun, we have started rehearsals for this year’s major production and, of course, our academic programme is underway, with all the challenge and intensity that demands. All of this is enabled by our remarkable staff who, because they have chosen to be a part of an independent school, are always busy in the academic, pastoral and co-curricular domains. These elements of teaching at Christ’s College reflect the analogy of the three-legged stool – the trinity of purpose where one without the other would mean we are somehow incomplete. Such is the life of a teacher at College and it is something that is never taken for granted. In their work, and in every way, our teachers reflect the balance and engagement we expect of our boys – an example that is indeed very special.
Last week, I was delighted to announce the Board of Governors has given the go-ahead for the development of a new multi-purpose sports facility at College, to be located adjacent to the swimming pool and overlooking Upper – hence the name Upper West.
The major element of Upper West is a multi-functional sports hall, the size of two full basketball courts, as well as strength and conditioning facilities, teaching spaces, an erg room, changing rooms, offices and equipment storage. It has been a productive and rewarding few months working with architects from Architectus New Zealand to develop this project and, at this stage, we anticipate Upper West will be underway in Term 4 and completed by the start of the 2022 school year.
Upper West will help take our sports, health and wellbeing programmes to the next level and complete the first stage of our strategic infrastructure Master Plan. Our commitment to the boys is at the heart of everything we do and, looking to the future, we anticipate Upper West will be followed by the development of new and much-needed science and music facilities.
My heartfelt thanks
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I can’t say it enough, but I’ll say it again – Thank you. Through your generosity, the College community raised over $20,000 for Bayleys Plate Up for a Purpose, supporting the Christchurch City Mission’s vital Back to School programme. Such a great outcome, for a very worthy cause. Read more about the event here.
Safety and security
Since the start of the year, I have had two conversations with parents about a recent upgrade of cabling that has allowed us to extend our surveillance camera integration in different parts of the school, which has made me think the wider community might be interested in what we do and why we do it.
In recent years, reflecting budget and infrastructure capacity, College has rolled out safety and security cameras across our campus. These are placed in and around public areas and within Houses to provide a level of security for our boys and their belongings and to protect from vandalism and intrusion. Given our central city location and the propensity for doors to be left ajar or bike sheds unlocked, we are vulnerable to unwelcome visitors and targeted theft. These cameras are not actively monitored, but are used retrospectively and, we hope, act as a deterrent to intruders. In addition, but not its main purpose, an associated benefit might be that boys in Houses become more respectful of both property and person.
College and Covid-19
The global and national situation regarding the new coronavirus remains dynamic and uncertain. Here at College our intention is to ensure we look after our boys and the wider community, as per the advice of government agencies and our travel advisor Orbit.
We have a small number of international trips involving students and staff planned in 2020. Should circumstances in any way compromise these trips, parents and students will be communicated with directly. Parents and guardians of international students are also being updated directly.
We must prepare for the worst-case scenario, which could have implications for all schools in New Zealand. Our current pandemic policy addresses major concerns and we are mindful that this policy is dynamic in the face of the Ministry of Health guidelines and updates. As the situation evolves it is likely that we will ask any families who take students on overseas trips to register details of their travel with the school, and they should be aware health checks or self-isolation may be required. My advice is that people should act conservatively in this situation.
We ask that parents consider the potential implications of international travel, especially to countries or territories currently listed as being of concern, including mainland China and Iran (both Category 1), Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand (all Category 2).
As per the Ministry of Health guidelines, we anticipate travellers will self-isolate for 14 days after they have been in a Category 1 country and register with Healthline.
Please contact College directly should you have any concerns or questions about this situation. We will continue to update you as the situation develops, and thank you for your understanding.
Ministry of Health – Latest updates – https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
Ministry of Education – Latest Updates – https://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/student-and-staff-health/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/
Ministry of Education – Information for learners, parents and whanau – https://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/student-and-staff-health/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/novel-coronavirus-information-for-caregivers-and-whanau-of-learners/