Letter from the Principal 07.08.20

Dear Parents & Caregivers, 

Term 3 is now well underway. This is the business end of the year with students preparing to peak in their learning and achievement. It is a very busy time with assessments, practice examinations, career applications and subject selections for 2021. Winter activities are in full swing so the school is a hive of activity from early morning until late in the evenings each day. Enrolments for 2021 are taking place and there is huge interest in students wanting to attend Takapuna Grammar School. Several building projects are reaching the final stages of completion and planting around the school is also enhancing the site. Year 12 and 13 students are getting excited about the annual school ball and there are numerous TGS sporting and art events and performances scheduled in the next few weeks. We welcome all our community to support and enjoy these events.

The Main Building is finally completed with a formal Grand Re-opening Celebration scheduled for Friday 14 August and tours for interested members of the community on offer the following day. This is very exciting after 10 years of patience and input from the school and all those involved.

Students need your encouragement and support to keep up with their responsibilities over the coming weeks and ensure they achieve their personal best after what has been a most challenging year for everyone. I have outlined some FAQs below to provide more details on what is happening for the school and how you can support and be part of this.

1. What are the important aspects for students to focus on at school in Term 3?

Term 3 is the business end of the year. Students are preparing so they peak academically early in Term 4. They are also making decisions about tertiary pathways or subject selections for 2021.

Specific areas of academic focus for all senior and accelerate Year 10 students include:

Completion of internal assessments for NCEA and IB
Preparation for school examinations in weeks 9 and 10 of this term
Completion of portfolios for practical subjects

Specific areas of focus for careers include:

Each Year 13 student is having a conversation with their Whanau Form Teacher about their plans for 2021 and will be referred on to Careers staff where required. Year 13 students are encouraged to complete applications for courses at universities and with other providers and where appropriate to apply for tertiary monetary scholarships.

2. How can I support my student to achieve his/her personal best academically? Deputy Principal, Mr. Scovell will send a letter out next week with detailed information.

Some options available immediately are listed below.

In-class assistance is available from teachers and peers. Discuss at home about how to ask questions face to face and via online forums e.g. Google classroom. Erin in the library offers assistance to individuals and small groups of senior students to improve organisation, study, writing, essay, research, referencing and other skills. Students can visit her in the library to book an appointment to see her. Parents should contact class teachers or deans with any concerns that may need support.

3. What is the process for subject selection for 2021?

Deputy Principal, Mr. Scovell recently emailed a letter about the subject selection process to parents of all students in Years 9-12. Contact your student’s dean with any questions you have.

4. How can I find out about TGS events and other important information?

The weekly newsletter published to parents every Tuesday has a lot of detailed information including dates and times of events. Please email [email protected] if you are a parent and not receiving this and would like to. The school website has up to date information on the banner at the top of the homepage and links under the headings News and Events on the dropdown to the left hand side of the page and to other places where information such as news and results about events are published. The school office can provide answers to questions from parents and friends of the school. Contact the receptionist Rowena Wiig by email, [email protected] or telephone on 09 489 4167.

5. How do I enrol a student at TGS?

Enrolments for 2021 are underway. All students wishing to enrol should apply asap. Enrolment information for in zone and out of zone applications are available on the TGS website

6. Are there places for out of zone students?

Yes. This is done via the ballot system. To gain entry to TGS through the ballot, applications must be submitted by Wednesday 2 September at 4.00 pm. Further information about the process is available on the school’s website.

7. Is there a celebration to open the renovated Main Building?

Yes. There are two special occasions to mark this event; one formal ceremony and a second event inviting the community to have a tour of the building.

Event One: Friday 14 August 2020 1pm - 4.30pm; there is a formal ceremony to reopen the Main Building.

Event Two: Saturday 15 August 9.30am - 11.30am; tours will be conducted for people  from the community who are interested.

8. Who can attend the celebrations for the reopening of the Main Building?

Event One: 14 August: the formal ceremony is for invited guests from the community only. Prefects will attend and senior students who wish to attend may do so by registering at the office. Junior students will be in class during this time.

Event Two: 15 August: tours are for anyone from the community interested in seeing  through the renovated Main Building. The first tour will commence at 9.30 am and the last one at 11.30am. Staff and students will accompany each group to inform people about the renovation. If you or others are interested in participating, please register at [email protected] to assist with our planning of the tours.

The school is hoping to provide a special opportunity later this year for older alumni who would find it challenging to undertake a general tour on 15 August. We are planning an afternoon tea followed by a tour using lift access to the Main Building. Further information will be advertised when arrangements are in place. If you know people who would like this opportunity, please let them know.

9. What other developments are happening at TGS now the Main Building renovation is completed?

The Board of Trustees is delivering the school’s vision to provide world class facilities for our students. The school also wants to share some of these with the wider community. More details about the heritage and future developments of TGS can be found on the school’s newly established Alumni website.

Here is a brief snapshot of other current developments:

Multi-purpose Indoor Sports Pavilion with specialised facilities for cricket.
Many people have noticed the large building being erected next to the sports grounds at the back of the school. Our school teams will use this for training all year round and there will be some class use. There will also be availability for community use.

The Old Library Building by the St Leonards Road entrance has been substantially renovated. Woodview Construction, the company that has carried out the Main Building renovation, has very generously donated a teaching kitchen in this building. Our Special Education students use this facility and are looking forward to moving back in. Staff and students are very excited about the new facilities and how these will enhance their learning opportunities.

Jack Kelly Sports Hall is being renovated in stages. The interior has been upgraded. Renovations of the Bert Sutcliffe Lounge and changing rooms will commence soon.

Site Planting Plan: The school has an extensive land area and is developing projects that will positively influence and enhance the environment with consideration to sustainability practices. One focus is a planting plan, with planting in sections to make the most of our unique position, provide shade and beautification and to enhance the functioning of our facilities.

Drainage of the fields at the rear of the school has been completed making these usable for purpose throughout the year.

10. How are such developments funded?

The school receives government funding for some of the buildings, but there is no government funding for many of our extra facilities. The Board of Trustees manages fees from international students and parents’ donations and other donations that friends of the school provide from time to time. These funds are used to plan further developments and to, manage and upgrade facilities over time. The costs of providing and maintaining our property are considerable so we need to generate funds to help with this. We want to share the use of some of our facilities with the wider community and are currently working on the details of how this could function. Clubs and members of the community will likely be able to pay to use the indoor sports pavilion for suitable activities. Further information will be made available later this year once the facility is completed.

Nga mihi nui

Mary Nixon

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