Principal’s End of Year Wrap Up

15 December 2020

It started like a normal year. With our wonderful programs and systems in place to begin another great year at Wellesley. Our focus was on developing our Educational Philosophy and embedding our programs in wellbeing, cultural integration, the digital environment and maintaining our focus on relationships and engagement with our boys.

We got in some camps early in the year and many of our boys in years 1-6 had the opportunity to bond and develop great relationships with their peers and teachers. It was great to see these activities go ahead prior to the pandemic being thrust upon us.

New Zealand took the lead in going into lockdown to protect our people. We watched as Dr Ashley Bloomfield, a past parent, led us through uncertain times. Wellesley leapt into action and decided not to move the holidays forward, but the staff wanted to ensure that the learning continued. We developed a plan to send devices home for boys who did not have them, run online learning in the mornings and give families the time in the afternoons to maintain their wellness. We launched an IT support program from our internal resources and began using Zoom and Microsoft Teams to run normal (as normal as possible) online classes.

Our staff, boys and families are the true heroes. They adapted to the new environment with ease and all members of the school community rallied together to keep our boys learning. Our specialists were not idle either, offering online specialist lessons throughout lockdown and keeping the boys engaged. We ran a holiday program, to remain connected with our boys, ready for the transition back to normalcy as soon as practicable.

It was fortuitous that we had spent the last couple of years ensuring we had a sound digital platform, infrastructure and device management to be able to shift to online learning. Many staff had picked up skills that were easily transferrable to a lockdown situation. The continuation of learning was certainly something all staff should be proud of achieving during trying times.

It has shown in our results at the end of the year with 87% of our boys still achieving AT or ABOVE across the breadth of curriculum.

Back to normalcy
On return from lockdown, the boys quickly assimilated back into normal school life. They should be proud of their efforts and soldiered on to achieve several great things. Firstly, they jumped back onto the sports field with vigour and began showcasing the Wellesley values in all fixtures.We continued with our cultural offering and we had two great productions in Madagascar and ‘A Fitting Tribute’ to Steve Girvan.
Artbourne was a huge success, with staff making slight changes to how it was run. This event dovetailed with the elections and, as such, had a higher attendance than normal. The fundraising effort was excellent, with us raising over $75 000 in total, where a percentage of the profits will be shared with the Wellesley Parents’ Association and the Wellesley Foundation.Reports
A reminder that the End of Year Reports were sent out this morning. Our Student Management System automatically generates the emails, so please check in your Junk Folder in case it was misplaced or put in the wrong folder. If you have any questions, or did not receive a report, please contact the Office or Veronica Stevens at work this week; or Ahead
In 2021, we see the implementation of Structured Literacy across years 1-8 and Numicon in years 1-4. Both programs are well-researched and will enhance our literacy and numeracy offering at Wellesley. Later in the year, around Term 3, we will see the ‘soft’ launch of our New Pedagogies for Deep Learning.It has been great to see us blending over 100-years of tradition, in teaching boys, understanding them, building great relationships and ensuring engagement and melding this with current research to be a forward thinking and moving school. We now have the tools, professional learning and development, along with an understanding of what our boys need to ensure success in their future.We hold onto the holistic approach to teaching boys and understand the benefits of maintaining our specialist offering, growing each boy’s confidence and giving them a raft of opportunities to discover their best.Next year looks particularly exciting as we move towards implementing these programs and monitoring the progress of each boy. The staff and I are excited about having these goals to achieve whilst ensuring the boys are having some ‘hard fun’ in their development.

I would like to finish by wishing everyone a safe, happy and restful Christmas break. I hope you join with me in thanking the Board, staff, parents and boys for persevering through this tricky year.

Merry Christmas