Scholars' Awards Assembly – Principal's Message

Friday 24th February 2023

At our annual Scholars' Awards assembly on Wednesday, we formally celebrated the 2022 examination results and achievements. As a college, we aspire to achieve the best academic results possible. Every boy is encouraged to set goals, have big dreams and gain as much as he can by working 'hard and smart'. It is an honour to cross the stage at John McGlashan College, and we applaud our top scholars for their diligence and determination to do well.

Year 7 and 8
Year 7 and 8

I spoke to the boys at this assembly about what might influence their learning. Research on classroom best-practice has revealed that engaging teaching and engaged students are the most significant factors which impact student learning. This is not a surprise! We have great teachers at John McGlashan College; boys are engaged and keen to learn.

The research reveals that excessive homework, small classroom sizes and an extended school day do not significantly influence student learning outcomes. A study conducted by Professor John Hattie has involved more than 400 million students worldwide and has found that the main factors influencing student achievement are teacher mind frames and whether students are given a clear purpose and can understand their learning journey. Professor Hattie says that schools must develop a culture where teachers are excited about teaching and students are excited about and engaged in their learning. Every student can learn, grow and be taught to love learning.

However, we know that student attitude has a powerful effect on success. Most importantly, a teacher (or principal) must have high expectations for all students, see differences as opportunities to learn differently, and teach students to welcome the challenge and aim high.

The Covid-19 pandemic is acknowledged as having impacted the mental health of students and teachers and has amplified the critical connection between social and emotional well-being and learning. McGlashan provides comprehensive support and fosters a positive interactive student social culture. The research suggests that teachers and students must be equipped with dynamic and problem-based coping strategies. Deans, form teachers and teachers are working on this continually.

It is evident that if we create classrooms full of trust, we are providing an environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn, and teachers are constantly assessing their own impact on classroom culture. We want students to trust their teachers, know what they are learning and why, and understand progress in their learning journey.

My final message to the boys:

  • Set some goals.

  • Arrive before the bell and be ready to go - on time is 5 minutes late!

  • Arrive well prepared and be 'present'.

  • Work together and with the teacher.

  • Strive to do your very best

I have been delighted to see so many new boys making friends and making the most of their opportunities in the classroom, on the sports field, in the library, and in clubs and cultural activities. Well done.

I want to commend the School Council for their fundraising efforts for the Red Cross Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Fund. Please dig deep to help our fellow New Zealanders when they need us most.

Kindest regards

Neil Garry


Year 9 Clutha Gold Camp
Jonty Riley
Max Smith, Toby Ellis and Alban Boaden-Trotter
Thomas Greenaway talking to Yr 12/13 Art students
Adrian Prasath