Another busy year is on the books for staff and pupils at secondary schools around the Waitaki district and beyond.
Pupils filed back into classrooms last week, some for the first time at their new schools, after a well-earned break over the summer.
Waitaki Girls’ High School principal Tracy Walker said 420 pupils started the school year last week, similar to the numbers seen at the beginning of 2017.
“We’re very stable. We’ve welcomed 92 year 9 girls in and a few other new enrolments. Having lost a large number of year 13 girls last year, the roll has basically balanced itself out.”
St Kevin’s College principal Paul Olsen said the school’s roll was about 450, a “slight increase” on last year.
Waimate High School started with 268 pupils, a larger number than predicted by the Ministry of Education, principal Janette Packman said.
“Our roll here is looking very healthy and we are about 30 students up on what the Ministry of Education was predicting for our school. We have a larger intake into year 7, which we were predicting. The higher numbers are pretty much as we were expecting.”
The Waitaki Boys’ High School roll has reached 450, up on 442 at the same time last year.
Rector Darryl Paterson said he was “very pleased”, as it was the first time in five years the roll had increased for the start of the year. The number of boarders had also risen, from 51 to 55.
“This is our first increase in three years. We have 17 boys new to the hostel this year (10 of those are year 9s – compared to eight last year) and in a hugely competitive market, this is also a positive,” Mr Paterson said.
All schools reported solid NCEA results.
Ms Walker said there was a rise at all levels compared with the year before, while Mr Olsen was also delighted with how his school had performed.
“I’m really pleased that students across all levels are reaching their potential,” Mr Olsen said.
“There have been a number of students we’ve been working with intensively with to try and get across the line and it’s been pleasing to see their achievement.”
Mrs Packman was also glowing in her praise of the school’s NCEA results.
“We are particularly pleased with the number of our students achieving NCEA certificates endorsed with merit and excellence, and also the number of students achieving subject endorsements with merit and excellence,” she said.
“This increase .. means that students are going for quality rather quantity of credits. This reflects the work of our teachers with students, encouraging them to set higher goals for themselves and working hard to ensure they achieve these standards.”
Mr Paterson reported the best Level 1 roll-based results at Waitaki Boys’ in four years and the best participation-based results in five years.
The Level 2 results were “excellent”, well above similar schools, he said.
“These were our best results by far over the last five years.”
Level 3 results were “disappointing”, although UE was “a little better”, Mr Paterson said.
Overall, NCEA performance was “showing a definite improvement but not where we want to be yet, except Level 2, which was very pleasing”. Excellence endorsements were down and merits were up.
As far as major events for 2018 were concerned, Ms Walker said her school’s joint production of High School Musical with Waitaki Boys’ was “very exciting”.
Mr Paterson also singled that out as something to look forward to, along with the completion of the science block redevelopment.
Mr Olsen said St Kevin’s pupils looked forward to this summer’s house events in swimming and athletics.