Category Archives: Principal’s Blog

Community Survey Feedback

Many thanks to all students, parents/caregivers and staff who responded to the bi-annual survey. Detailed feedback has been discussed with the Board of Trustees and I can share some elements of this with the community.

I was pleased with the general high levels of satisfaction expressed by every group who responded. While there were several areas which we can improve on there is an obviously high level of confidence in what we are doing to achieve the school’s vision which is gratifying to see. We have also closed gaps in some areas which were indicated in the 2015 survey including changes to the DEEP programme which have been positively reported on by students as were the important areas of high quality teaching and staff being approachable. Perhaps as a result of moving to BYOD, the use of digital texts showed the highest improvement from 2015.

While I cannot respond to every comment made in the survey the Senior Leadership team and I will continue to review our practice using your feedback however some quick responses may be pertinent:

I will be investigating ways in which we can enhance our programme for gifted and talented students and am pleased to say that a new appointment to improve communications to the school and wider community has already been made. Some comments about the state of the fields and grounds were already being acted upon and we have negotiated a maintenance contract for the school fields and have appointed a full time caretaker who has started to work on the gardens. As the school reaches its first 10 years of existence next year it will also qualify for 10 Year property funding which may help us to embark on large scale property improvements as well as ensure buildings are safe and promote high quality learning.

Your constructive comments and positive affirmation of our efforts were very much appreciated. I would urge parents and caregivers to maintain the close connection so many enjoy with our teachers and Senior Leaders to ensure that on-going reflection can guide us to continual improvement. Let us pause though for a moment and reflect on the superb progress achieved by a school still relatively young in years. This has been achieved by the strong partnership between home and school – thank you.

Growing greatness – Kia mana ake


Student leave requests

Dear parents/caregivers

I have received several requests from parents to take their children out of school to go on holiday during term time. I wanted to state to the community that I am not permitted to approve any leave requests except under exceptional circumstances on compassionate grounds.

I need to be consistent and fair and so another reminder may be timely before end of year holidays are planned.

Your understanding of the Ministry of Education’s policy is appreciated.


Ian Morrison


Making an Impact

As our political leaders decide on the composition of our next government I was listening to commentators on radio who were providing deeper analysis of the election. A psychologist was being interviewed about how people can be supported if their party did not win. The response resonated with me. He said that no matter the government, everyone can still make a positive impact by working within their community about something they feel passionate about.

These words echoed those of the presenter at the recent World Vision Awards Ceremony where MHJC was recognised for the amount we raised during the 40 Hour Famine. He said that every dollar raised makes a difference in someone’s life. He reminded us that the importance of the funds raised by World Vision is that so much is raised by young people. Many are too young to vote. Yet they are making a difference.

Well done to all our students who raised funds for World Vision and to those who are working on outreach projects in DEEP and in other curriculum areas who are making a difference – making an impact.

Growing greatness – Kia mana ake

Kōanga festival

Our kapa haka group came of age on Saturday with a wonderful performance at the Kōanga Festival at Somerville Intermediate . Mr and Mrs Tuhaka have worked tirelessly with their enthusiastic students who put on an emotional and polished performance. Mr Tuhaka has also written a haka for the school which was performed for the first time at the festival. Images to follow.

Growing greatness – kia mana ake


Community survey

Emails have been sent to all parents, students and staff with a link to our bi-annual community survey. Please take some time to respond to this as it will assist us to measure our progress and make future plans based on your feedback. The higher the number of respondents the higher the reliability of the survey.

For easy access the link for parents is below:

Parents Survey

Striving for excellence

As our senior debating team reached the top 8 schools in Auckland it struck me how well our Year 9 and 10 students are performing in all areas of inter school competition. Some highlights include our cricketers who are currently top in the Colts 2 Competition which would place them in the top 10 in Auckland. Similarly the Boys’ Soccer Team are currently near the top of the Second Tier of competition which would also place them in the top 10 schools in Auckland. Our Under 15 Basketball team has reached the top 8 schools in Auckland and will compete for higher honours this Thursday. We have been invited to an awards evening thanks to the efforts of a number of our students who raised funds for World Vision and we are placed second in the world in Education Perfect’s international academic competition.

A great effort indeed!

Growing greatness – kia mana ake

Cross Country – MHJC at its best

My compliments to all our students for the incredible effort they showed on Friday. The annual event was a show case of much that we promote at MHJC. While Mountains Whanau emerged as the overall winners, in a sense every student “conquered their mountain”. Our top athletes competed for top honours and as importantly, this year, every position counted. This meant we saw every student trying to get that crucial point which would assist their whanau to succeed. That sense of individual purpose contributing to something bigger is what we wish to promote at MHJC. We saw individual excellence and great effort by all. It was also pleasing to see and hear students cheering each other at the finish – first to 200th we all achieved something.

For the record Mr Morrison (aka Mr Plod) achieved a creditable 55th place in the Year 9 Event….He is aiming for a top 50 finish next year!

Now we look forward to our top Maths students competing in the much anticipated annual Mathex Competition this Thursday evening.

Growing greatness – kia mana ake

National Standards – a cautionary note

Reports were recently sent to parents regarding progress towards National Standards for Year 7 and 8 students. This has been our practice as it helps students to make plans and access the support they might need to reach their goals for the year.

It is important to note however that some students who have been reported as being below standard at this point are being measured against the standard that needs to be reached at the end of the year.
In a sense, it is expected that some students would be below standard at mid-year and my message to them would be that with consistent work they should be at standard or above by the end of the year.

The Senior Leadership Team has analysed the whole school National Standards and e-asTTle data which shows the progress of our students in Mathematics and English and we are extremely pleased with the results so far. While National Standards are aspirational goals we also consider each individual’s progress as of equal importance.

We will be having our Student Led Conferences in a few weeks where your child’s Learning Advisor will be able to give more information about e-asTTle and National Standards or you can contact your Whanau Leader.

Growing greatness – kia mana ake


The last two weeks have been very busy at the college and the focus has been on strengthening connections with our community.

Our information evening for year 8 parents to share information about our curriculum and opportunities for year 9 and 10 was well attended. The exciting transition programme from year 8 to senior college was discussed, the new subjects we offer and leadership opportunities in particular. There were a number of questions about the accelerate class (year 9 and 10) and the provision for gifted and talented students which is run through the DEEP programme as well as the NCEA achievement standards offered in year 10. In short we learnt a lot from the interaction and appreciate the parents’ perspectives offered at the meeting. The Senior Leaders who attended and I felt that those who were able to attend have a better understanding of how their children can benefit from a further two year transition in an environment which is specially designed for this age group. Our students succeed wherever they go after year 10 and I am convinced that this is due to the opportunities they receive in year 9 and 10 which enable them to build and grow on the foundations laid in year 7 and 8.

On Friday we trialled a breakfast for boys to attend with their significant adult. The event was well supported by Family and Friends and students and staff led by Mr Penfold. Our guest speaker Mr Richie Barnett, former National Rugby League star and commentator shared some personal perspectives on the importance of having someone who can support and guide our young men and his speech was well received. A similar event for our girls is being planned for later in the year.

Last but certainly not least was our inaugural Matariki Celebration Evening organised by Mr Tuhaka and the Maori and Pasifika Committee. Students, staff and parents came together to provide a wonderful evening of entertainment and insight into the meaning and significance of Matariki. The performances were extremely entertaining and we look forward to some of the singers and dancers appearing at Talent Show this Thursday!

It is gratifying that these efforts to connect with our whanau are appreciated and that so many parents have made an effort to strengthen our connections for the benefit of our students.

Growing greatness – kia mana ake

Student leaders visit Singapore

Last week, Mrs Hewlett and I had the privilege of attending the 23rd Student Leaders’ Convention at the Hwa Chong Institution in Singapore. We are the only school from New Zealand who has this opportunity and our students were able to share their thoughts, views and experiences with students from India, Hong Kong, China, Australia and Singapore. The theme of the conference was “Amity – Achieve As One” and delegates explored various sub-themes ranging from cyber wellness to elitism and racial discrimination. These themes were presented after two days of workshops to the judges and finalists announced at a festive finale.

I was incredibly impressed by Singapore and Hwa Chong Institution. The school and the government agree that much of their success has been achieved by finding solutions to problems that are unique and perhaps may not work in other societies – context must be considered. However the ideas of “win-win” or both parties being prepared to compromise if there is disagreement and a strong sense of community where consideration is shown to the environment and those less fortunate than others resonated powerfully with our own values.

I believe we and our students emerged better from the experience and I express my appreciation to Mrs Hewlett for her time and effort and to our students for their impeccable behaviour – they were true ambassadors of our school and our country.

By virtue of our strong association with Hwa Chong Institution three teachers have been invited to an international conference as members of SWIFT (Schools with an interest in future technologies). This provides us with an opportunity to share our experiences with schools from other countries which maintains our innovative approaches to learning.

Growing greatness – kia mana ake