Principal's Welcome Message

Victoria Kerr - Principal Kia ora koutou

Greetings to you all and welcome to the 2019 Academic year.

New Plymouth Girls’ High School has shaped and influenced the lives of young women since 1885. It is a real privilege and honour to lead this school, our school in to the future. Our vision is clear: to develop confident, educated young women of outstanding character. This vision is timeless. This vision is also underpinned by our core values of Whakamana - Respect, Haepapa – Responsibility and Whanaungatanga - positive Relationships. The most important of these are Whanaungatanga - developing positive relationships with and between students, whanau and staff allows our students to thrive.

Our school is based on traditional values with innovative approaches to teaching and learning supported by modern information communication technology. We are living in a fast-paced and dynamic world. We need to be innovative and keep pace with change whilst holding on to the values and traditions we all hold dear. We do need to consider what our vision may mean for our young women in this rapidly changing world. Relationships are at the centre of our philosophy – positive, supportive, collaborative relationships. Together we can achieve so much and have achieved so much. Our school offers a safe, positive learning environment where students are able to learn, work, grow, and achieve to the best of their ability.

We have consulted widely with the whole school community in 2017 and 2018 on what our vision may look like for the next five years. A highly effective school is a responsive, effective learning community with a clear vision underpinned by shared values, where staff and students are willing to take risks, calculated risks, and challenge themselves; engage in rich learning conversations; and not be held back by a fear of failure. In 2017 and 2018 as the newly appointed Principal, I conducted a school review and consulted widely with the whole school community on what the school vision may look like for the next five years. The vision needs the support and input of all stakeholders in the school community: students, parents and whanau, teachers, the Board of Trustees, and the whole school community. These different ‘voices’ need to be listened to and heard and incorporated within the vision. Therefore, community engagement and consultation are required and will be on-going. We have collated the findings of the World Café events with parents, staff, all students and selected interested groups from 2017. These have been synthesised and further consultation and review will be on-going. We shared the new strategic vision and outcomes with the wider community at a number of huis throughout 2018. We conducted Well Being Surveys in Term 4 2017 and 2018 of students at all year levels and we have used this information to help inform our strategic vision and planning. Parents and whanau fundamentally want our young people to be happy, safe and secure in who they are with a sense of belonging and engagement. Thus, from the whole school community consultation, our key strategic outcomes are: Hauora – our students have high levels of well-being; Ako – our students have developed a love of learning; Tikanga – members of our school community experience a sense of belonging. We actively seek feedback on our new strategic vision and direction. Our 2019 Charter will be available on our website shortly and we will be offering opportunities for face-to-face feedback throughout the year. The board will also be issuing a parent / whanau survey.

We have a proud tradition of academic excellence and a proven record of outstanding achievement in sport, visual, and performing arts. Our students consistently achieve above the national average and comparative schools in national qualifications. Provisional results for 2018 are particularly pleasing with 84.6% of Year 11’s achieving NCEA Level 1; 84.5% of Year 12’s achieving NCEA Level 2; 72% of Year 13’s achieving NCEA Level 3 and 62.4% achieving University Entrance. Thirty-five NZ Scholarships were awarded to students across 15 subjects in 2018 with five Outstanding Scholarships. Two students achieved Top Subject Scholar Awards (i.e. top in the country): Tessa Keenan in Drama and Breanna Camden in Biology as a Year 12 student. Our Dux Literati, Anahita Piri, also achieved an Outstanding Scholar Award for achieving four scholarships in 2018 with two Outstanding Scholarships in Accounting and Economics and two further scholarships in Physics and Staistics. Congratulations to all the recipients and their teachers.

A feature of the academic success of our students are the multi-level learning and accelerated programmes that enable academically gifted students to achieve a National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) at a level above their school year level; and the multi-level, diverse programmes that allow all students to achieve to the best of their ability.

Personal development is given high priority and leadership opportunities abound at all levels throughout the school. We welcome international students and value their contribution and the cultural diversity they bring to our school community.

We are fortunate to have a dedicated, hard-working, motivated, and impassioned staff who are committed to the school values and vision and are striving for excellence. They are also committed to supporting all our students to achieve personal excellence and endeavour to do their best, respect each other, and work together.

Our on-site school hostel is a tremendous asset that offers quality residential accommodation for 150 students in a supportive living and learning environment. We also have outstanding programmes and support services delivered out of our Careers Centre, Awhina - the Learning Support Centre, Wai Ora - the Wellness Centre, and Waimarie - the Special Needs unit.

New Plymouth Girls’ High School is a school that undertakes to ensure that the young women entering its gates will receive an education that enhances learning and is responsive to individual needs. Our platform of traditional values encourages whakamana / respect, haepapa / responsibility and whanaungatanga / positive relationships. What we offer is a unique opportunity to be educated at one of New Zealand’s oldest, most prestigious State girls’ schools that is committed to the education of young women.

I invite you to join with us on the next phase of your educational journey by making New Plymouth Girls’ High School your first choice for secondary education.

Victoria Kerr, BA(Hons), PGCE.