From the Principal

By Mr Simon Coleman | Posted: Thursday February 6, 2020

Tena koutou,

Welcome to our first Newsletter for 2020. I do hope that you have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break and that your son or daughter has had a positive start to their academic year.

Opening Pōwhiri

We started our first full school day last Friday and that began with a full school pōwhiri. This was a fabulous beginning for all our new students and staff [Manuhiri] as they had such a warm welcome from our school [Tangata Whenua] comprising our students, staff, Board of Trustees, Head Students and Principals of our four Primary Schools.

The highlights of this pōwhiri was the involvement of our student Leaders in particular our Rangitahi Leader, Lydia Burnett who did the karanga as if she had done this many times before; and our Head Boy, Jamie Roberts who spoke with such fluency in his maori greeting to the Manuhiri. These are challenging opportunities that these students faced at the beginning of their roles and I applaud them for doing such a good job.

Another highlight, which was a first since I have been Principal at Geraldine High School, is the staff that travelled from Ashburton College and Wellington Girls College to hand over Mr Ryan Wilson and Ms Suzanne Pidduck respectively. These staff join our Senior Leadership team and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our school. It was obvious the respect that their previous schools have for them both to want to be part of our pōwhiri.

The last highlight I have was the attention and recognition from the entire school of the importance and value of this start to the school year and the connection many would have to this event as it has been our start for the last five years.

Welcome to all our new students for 2020

A special welcome to all our new students and families for this year which includes 97 Year 7’s and 28 new students across our other year levels. Of that group of Year 7 students 47 are the first in the family to attend Geraldine High School.

Currently our school roll sits at 619 which is wonderful given the enrolment scheme that was put in place last year. We also have 14 new staff both teaching and support staff which means the opportunity for different perspectives and ways of doing things which will always be of value in the constant focus on providing the best education for your children.

New Senior Leadership Team

As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, we have a relatively new team that is leading our staff and students this year. We have five members of our Senior Leadership Team with Ms Rae Coburn, our Business Manager, overseeing our finances, property, marketing along with IT and Asset Management. The rest of our team deal with the teaching and learning, school operations and care of staff and students. Mr Ryan Wilson is our Deputy Principal and both Ms Suzanne Pidduck and Mr Richard Harvey are our two Assistant Principals.

It is important to note that our year groups are attached to a member of this team as they look at the overall achievements, wellbeing and opportunities available to these groups.

  • Mr Richard Harvey oversees Years 11-13.
  • Mr Ryan Wilson oversees Years 9-10.
  • Ms Suzanne Pidduck oversees Years 7-8.

I am sure that you will make them feel welcome as they become familiar with our school and its environment. 

School Theme ‘Inclusion’ and Term 1 Value ‘Relationships’

Our theme for this year is Inclusiveness or Whakawhanaukitanga meaning ‘the quality of including many different types of people and treating them all fairly and equally’. This is such an important aspect to all schools with not only different cultures and ethnicity but also different learning needs and ability levels.

Our school value for this term is ‘Relationships’ which forms the basis of inclusiveness so is fitting to start this year with. Relationships are critical in schools as students and teachers need this to be able to learn in a safe and nurturing environment.

We hope as parents and caregivers that you will take the time to establish a positive relationship with your son or daughters teachers so that you are involved in the learning that he or she receives over the year. If you are new parents to Geraldine High School you will find that we use a range of communication channels to keep you informed on what is occurring at school. We use Seesaw in some classes, email, our school Facebook page, website and this newsletter which comes to you fortnightly.

We have a very supportive Wellbeing Team for our students with our Year Level Deans, Guidance Counsellor, Social Worker along with our Senior Leadership Team so should there be any questions or concerns for your son or daughter, please make contact as soon as you can so that we can put support in place as required.

Our School Uniform and Pride

Last Thursday we had the first day for our Yr 7 students and it is a very proud moment for all our staff to see how wonderfully they present themselves and the obvious pride in starting High School. On the same day we had our Peer Support group of Yr 13 students who were stunning in their uniform and the distinctive Geraldine High School blazer. They too were obviously proud of the responsibilities they have this year in setting the standard of uniform that reflects their pride in being a member of Geraldine High School.

As parents we really rely on you to instill a sense of pride in school for your son or daughter and we certainly appreciate your support in ensuring that your child leaves for school in a way that shows respect for our school. If your son or daughter is in Yr 11, 12 or 13, it is compulsory to have a blazer and has been for a number of years. Could you please ensure they wear it to and from school and should you be unable to afford this, we are here to help, so please contact the main office or Mrs Anne Rawson, our Social Worker so that we can make a suitable arrangement. Our school formal Assemblies will require that a blazer is worn as it is our fortnightly formal occasion where the whole school comes together to celebrate the events and successes that our school has.

PTA - Parent Teacher Association

You can connect further with our school by being part of our PTA. This group of parents help with a range of events throughout the year connected to bring us all together, often to celebrate or learn more. This group does wonderful things for our school along with fundraising through various events which has contributed to some of the developments with our Yr 7 and 8 playground area and more recently funds to have a climbing wall in our renovated Gym.

A Staff Member, Board of Trustee and Student Representative attend these meetings so it provides strong communication from parents to the school which is invaluable. I would welcome anyone who would like to be involved in this area and able to attend monthly meetings. Please contact the Office if you would like to be involved.


I do hope that your son or daughter has enjoyed the start to the school year in a safe and supportive learning environment and is excited about what the term has for them.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa