Principal's Comment - 5 February

Dear Parents, Students and Staff

Welcome to the new academic year, and a particular welcome to those new to the Hutt Valley High School community. We have around 440 new students and 15 new staff joining us this year, and it’s good to see the continuing demand for places in the school. Our roll this year will be at or near our largest. That is despite our efforts to limit the total, with the school only enrolling in-zone students, unless an out-of-zone applicant has siblings already here, where we try to ensure families are not split by an enrolment scheme.    

Some elements of the year will be tricky in 2020. We are doing significant property work, reorganising our areas of operation for the Pathways staff, so that this crucial support is sited centrally in the school, reflecting its significance in offering a wide range of support services. The International area will work out of the upper floor of G Block, and the big project is the revamp of the Technology block (W Block). Technology has to vacate its major space for the year and this will prove trying; we are having to use the Student Centre and additional temporary rooms at the front of the school to offer our Technology programme. The trade-off is that once the new W Block is available next year, it will be a strong, modern design-and- build teaching space almost unrecognisable from its predecessor. 

In the grounds, we’ll continue to extend work that began with the signage project, the new style of water fountains, the “mall quality toilets”, and the shade sails and picnic tables installed in the latter part of last year. We are making good progress on working to make the site more people-friendly and a better place to be. Current work includes relaying the tennis/netball courts, adding some substantial new support below ground so that we will finally address the poor and bumpy previous surface, to provide a safer and stronger space for the burgeoning numbers of our students wishing to play winter inter-college netball. The Government/Ministry’s provision of a one-off $400,000 maintenance catch-up grant will also allow us to do some much overdue classroom renovations as the year progresses. 

Thank you to the many contributors to our Infrastructure Donation. Your generosity has allowed us to implement our plans for elements not funded by the Ministry; things that are officially the “nice to haves” but which are actually the key to an increasingly pleasant school site. Special thanks to the anonymous donor who provided a significant infrastructure boost at the end of last year. 

As we get the year under way, we are already well into the core academic business of the school. Our provisional NCEA results show that our academic top continues to strengthen, with new bests for Excellence endorsements at all levels and new overall endorsement bests at Levels 2 and 3. Pass rates are at historical norms and may yet produce bests once a group of “near miss” students complete additional work. Scholarship results are not yet available.

In the next newsletters, we will outline some of the changes to programmes being implemented this year. The rationale behind all of our changes is to strengthen our ability to focus on our values: we are kind; we are welcoming; we persevere; and we achieve. Congratulations to those students whose successes are listed elsewhere in this newsletter. It’s a great start to the year.

Ross Sinclair