From the Principal

By Mr Simon Coleman | Posted: Wednesday October 27, 2021

Tena koutou,

Welcome back to Term 4.

The Government Health order on vaccination for those involved in the Health and Education sectors that has been mandated. For every school and ECE in the country this has direct impacts around staffing as well as day to day operations. The Board of Trustees, Senior Leadership and myself are working through these so that by the start of next year we are in line with the protocols.

I acknowledge the difficulty this mandate has placed on each individual that works in our sector and the hard decisions that each person will need to make as to their future pathways.

In relation to this, we are still working through how we manage this term around camps and particularly events such as Prize Givings, which will need to be done in a different way because of the rules around distancing and numbers within a venue such as our hall. This aspect is very fluid so please realise we are wanting to do the right thing particularly around the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone within the instructions from our Ministry of Education.

Term Value

Our value for this term is Responsibility/Rangatiratanga which is always a good one for the end of the year as our Seniors look to be responsible for their next steps from school, subject choices or being a role model as a new senior. For our Junior students, it is about becoming more independent, to make good decisions around their learning and interactions with others which are part of the foundation work needed to be successful in the future years at Geraldine High School.

Term 4

We have had to cancel many events this term and for anything to occur it must meet the Health conditions. We are working on our Prize Givings being only with students and staff but having live streaming of these if we can. Many of our High School Principals are doing similar formats and we need to be comfortable that all risks are mitigated in how we conduct these.

As a school, we have managed things very well thanks to the committed staff and students with an example being the way our students conducted themselves in our recent practice exams. I received feedback from the supervisors and reader writers over this time who said the focus of our students was the best seen for many years with large numbers staying to the very end of the time allowed. Well done to all of our Yr 11-13 students in doing this and you will have all learnt the importance of giving your best and what can be achieved by doing so.

Our Senior Reports are to go out in the next few weeks which will give parents and your child good indicators of their progress and readiness for the NCEA exams in 3 weeks time.

Curriculum and learning changes for our students

On Thursday morning we will be sharing a video about the curriculum and timetable adjustments to all our students and whanau.  At the stage we move to level 1 we plan to have the opportunity for parents and caregivers to come and speak with the Senior Leadership Team and our Leads for the three key areas. 

Below are the three key areas:

  • Foundation Learning
    • Led by Mr Billy Cosgriff, our HOD of Social Sciences, and Ms Suzanne Pidduck, one of our Assistant Principals.
  • Personal and Social Education
    • Led by Mr Daniel Clare, our Homeroom and Digital Technologies Teacher, and Mr Richard Harvey, one of our Assistant Principals.
  • Project Based Learning
    • Led by Mr Cameron Love, our HOD of Music, and Mr Ryan Wilson, our Deputy Principal.

Spirit Day

Last Friday we had our ‘Spirit Day’ which is usually a week but due to COVID and the lockdown we have lost time to do this. However, our House Leaders did a wonderful job of making this day a wonderful, fun occasion for everyone and the school spirit was very evident with lots of fun and laughter. Of course the serious side in doing the ‘obstacle course’ and ‘tug of war’ between Houses was the points that contribute to finding who our school champion will be for this year.

Student Leaders

We have been interviewing a wonderful group of Yr 12 students who made it through the process to this final stage. It was a pleasure hearing what this group had to share around their ideas for next year and the passion they all had for our school. It certainly gives an insight for me into the priorities they have and see for Geraldine High School. Unfortunately there are only so many positions and students do miss out. The important takeaway for those that don’t gain a position is that they can still be leaders and contribute greatly to school culture and outcomes by supporting the ones selected and being on the range of committees we do have to make a difference for all.

Yr 7 and 8 First Aid and Mrs Jo Nicolson 

Some staff and the community will remember our much loved Deputy Principal and wonderful colleague, Mrs Jo Nicolson, who sadly passed away 6 years ago. The Nicolson family made a generous commitment to our junior students in covering the costs each year for our Yr 7 and 8 students to be knowledgeable in first aid and be confident and able to utilise this knowledge should someone need help. Many thanks to the Nicolson family and the wonderful, compassionate colleague I worked alongside when I first started at Geraldine High School.

New and Departing Staff

We have had a few staff changes since our last newsletter which I have detailed below.

  • Mr Oliver Young - we have appointed to the fixed term Homeroom role for next year. He is currently completing his studies at Auckland University after being an electrician for a number of years.

  • Mrs Zoe McGarrity - we have appointed to the PA position and she started last week. She has a degree in Commerce and a background working in events management which will provide other skills and knowledge to our Admin team.

  • Mr Daniel Clare is returning home to the UK at the end of this year and we will be advertising his Homeroom position soon. He has been a wonderful staff member over the 3 years and made a real difference in the range of roles he has had.

  • Mr Mike Stephens has tended his resignation as he has another similar opportunity to move to after 9 years at Geraldine High School. He has made a significant contribution to so many aspects of our school over this time.

Tikanga Māori and Cultural Advisor

We are excited at the opportunity to have one of our local Kuamatua, Whae Addie Couch-Snow, to support and develop our knowledge, understanding and abilities around the Treaty of Waitangi and the importance of Biculturalism in our school. She will be doing work initially with the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team and then more work with the staff in 2022.


Finally, this time of the year is when our senior students need the support of their family, their parents and caregivers as they navigate their way through the exams and assessments required in gaining their NCEA qualification. Please offer the support and guidance that they will need and if you feel that you would like to speak with someone at school about this, please make contact with the office and they will be happy to connect you to the appropriate person.

Take care.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa