Friday 16th April 2021

During my teaching career, I have heard many versions of what makes a great school. Pleasingly, most people I have met understand the importance of a high-quality education system and express strong opinions on school performance.

There is significant variation in these opinions and this is a reflection of any individual’s value system. The measurement of greatness is a challenging task. School performance and effectiveness can potentially be measured in a variety of ways. Often exam grades, attendance statistics, sports results, and school roll trends are used as a blunt instrument to provide quantitative evidence of school performance, sometimes other important indicators are neglected as they are more difficult to gauge.

Quite clearly no list exists of elements of a “great school” that has universal agreement. While there is extensive debate over what this list would contain, no doubt some common themes would be on any list. There are a number that I personally feel very strongly are part of every great school. I have outlined this in the following points.

A great school:

  • is student-focused, supports and values all students, recognising the importance of the individual enabling each to feel connected and a sense of belonging

  • acknowledges the importance of well-being

  • understands the importance of relationships and operates in a respectful and genuinely caring manner

  • provides a range of challenging and enjoyable and learning experiences

  • has high expectations

  • has a knowledgeable, passionate staff who are valued and who understand the dynamic nature of education

  • is built on values that are both taught and lived

  • acknowledges the past and is forward-thinking

  • has its own identity and a strong/positive culture underpinned by genuine care

  • produces graduates who are prepared for the world outside of school

  • has a supportive and involved community

In the first assembly of the year I started with a deliberately optimistic statement that 2021 had to be a great year. I was hopeful that the response from the boys and staff would be to ensure they did everything possible to make this a reality. As you will see from the articles in this newsletter there has been much going on, we have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. Term 1 has been excellent and this is certainly not through good luck or chance.

As we go to our two-week break, after our collective effort this term, I feel assured that we are continuing to uphold John McGlashan’s vision that “each boy grows to be a well-educated man of character, who uses his influence for the good of others”. The effort from the staff has been outstanding, the attitude of the boys has been positive, the support from parents, coaches, tutors, PFA, Board of Trustees, and Board of Proprietors has enabled McGlashan to strive towards “greatness”. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support this term, in particular over the last 8 weeks. Have a great break, enjoy your time together, stay healthy, and be safe.

Ngā mihi nui.