Important Notices from the Headmaster – February 2023
Auckland State of Emergency
We understand the rainfall of two weeks ago caused has considerable issues for some families. We also acknowledge the cyclone has affected some members of our wider community. Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted on heavily by either or both weather events.
When we returned to school last Thursday, the attendance rates surpassed 92% over the two days and it was pleasing to see a full assembly hall this morning as we started a shortened day, while teaching all seven periods. Thank you for your support as we continue to advocate the provision of quality in-person education in a consistent and safe environment.
The support offered over recent weeks continues to be available to affected families while Auckland remains under a State of Emergency. Our team of counsellors are also available to support students and if further aide is required in the form of school essentials please do contact my Executive Assistant Debbie Watson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Likewise, the Prefects have gathered an army of student volunteers who are prepared to give of their time to help affected families and members of our wider community. Some have already been helping with clean up duties on an impromptu basis, but the wider offer is made to those who would benefit from a larger group of helpers. Should you wish to request the services of the army this can be logged via email at email@example.com.
New Staff members
At our first full School assembly we welcomed our new teachers for 2023. It is our pleasure to inform you that the following masters have joined the Grammar staff and you will get the opportunity to meet them at upcoming functions and School activities. We welcome:
- Art – Brendan Lee
- Biology – Monique Towler
- Commerce – Hugo Lam
- English – Mark Charlesworth
- English – Kim Etty
- English – Lizzie Grace
- Mathematics – Joseph Gibbons
- Physics – Oliver Mann
- Technology – Jason Bell
- International Student Liaison – Lee Lim
- Payroll and Accounts Payable Administrator – Lili Wang
If your son is absent, we ask you to immediately complete the Absence Notification e-form that is accessed within the Parent Portal on the day of his absence. This is a legal requirement and is part of our duty of care which we cannot fulfil without your co-operation.
Parents should log in and click on the Absence Notification link under ‘Student Information’, which is found on the Parent Portal home page (see below):
You should be aware that submitting an e-form verifies your son’s absence and will generate an automatic response to the email address you have provided us. It is important that you do not disclose your Parent Portal login and password details to your son, to ensure the legitimacy of this functionality.
There is no requirement to phone the School nor to provide a written note to notify us of an absence.
If your son is late to school, due to a pre-arranged appointment, please provide him with a written note to be handed to our Student Office staff upon his arrival.
Note that the above system for notifying the School of your son’s absence does not apply for exeat requests, where temporary leave is sought for medical appointments during the School day. Instead your son should bring a note to the Deputy Headmaster immediately after Assembly to receive approval to leave the campus for appointments throughout the School day. When your son provides this note to the Deputy Headmaster, he will be given a permission slip to allow him to leave his lesson at the appropriate time, at which point he must formally sign out at the Student and Enrolment Office before departing.
Please ensure that your son attends School every day unless there is a genuine reason such as sickness or bereavement. The School does not support casual breaks during term time as such absences impact on the standard of education we can provide. Please communicate with me directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are requesting Official Leave for your son.
Please note that other than bereavements or national/international representative duties for a variety of extracurricular activities, no official leave is granted. Furthermore, no extended holiday leave is provided either prior to or after the official school holidays.
All students, at all levels of the School, are expected to have set homework for all subjects each night. All students from Form 3 to Form 5 have been provided with a School diary where daily entries should be made. Please support your son and us by checking his homework.
Form 6 and Form 7 students were offered a School diary free of charge in the first week of Term 1. Diaries are now available for purchase from the School Shop. Senior students will have set assignments and assessment tasks. These too should be logged in their diary so that they manage their time well.
If you have concerns about homework or assessments, please contact your son’s subject teacher, Form Master or year-level Dean. Should your son not be receiving adequate homework please contact me directly.
Please consider Gates 1-4 closed for vehicular access at the start and end of the School day.
It is not practical for staff to manage traffic trying to enter our gates at peak times of the School day and this poses a significant risk for the 2600 young men who are entering or exiting the School grounds on foot.
If you are dropping your son off or picking him up, please do this in one of the streets around the School, rather than on Mountain Rd, in front of the School or by trying to enter Gates 1-4. Please be aware that for health and safety reasons, Barnett Crescent now has electronic bollards nearest to Clive Road. These will remain up during the School day. We appreciate your cooperation in this regard.
If your son carries heavy musical equipment (eg: a cello), then you may wish to drop your son and his instrument off via Gates 1–4 before 8am and pick him up well after 3.30pm.
At the beginning and end of the day the sheer volume of students arriving or leaving the School poses an issue for motorists. We remind students and parents crossing Mountain Rd or Clive Rd to use the crossings available, rather than crossing the road at other points of two very busy roads.
Student Driven Vehicles
Form 6 or 7 students who have completed the School’s permission process to bring a vehicle to School, do have permission to drive a car to School. Students at other year levels do not have permission to drive a vehicle to School.
We remind parents and our young men that this permission does not extend to carrying passengers, unless both the School and parents have approved it in writing. This also includes driving to School-related extracurricular activities.
Please contact Deputy Headmaster Pastoral – Senior School Neitana Lobb for further information about student driven vehicles.
The notices read to the School each day in assembly are available to all young men and parents on our website. If you would like to access these in order to discuss some of the activities available to your son, please click here.
We have already sent a number of key messages and reminders to parents electronically this year. Key information for parents will continue to be sent to you electronically throughout the year. If we do not have your current email address or current mobile number, please email this to email@example.com or submit the changes via the Parent Portal.
Information regarding our electronic Parent Portal has been distributed. The Portal should provide you with ready access to some of the information we hold on your son, including his attendance record and academic results. We hope you find the Portal useful.
The School’s website holds considerable information about day to day School life, including the School schedule (a calendar of events / activities), staff contact details and easy access contact information for Deans of all year levels. We also celebrate a considerable number of student achievements on the website and via social media.
GrammarNet, the School’s online Learning Management System, is available for all students. Currently all students have access to class pages provided and administered by each of their subject masters, as well as access to student resources, sporting and cultural groups, and storage space for their own files. Students can access GrammarNet here and they type in their School-assigned username and password.
Students can use their class pages to access engaging course material and useful files and folders to augment their classroom notes and exercises. Some teachers may require students to do homework, submit work or complete tests and quizzes through the platform at times.
If the School needs to move from on-campus learning to online learning then GrammarNet will continue to be the system used. It is imperative that students are familiar with its use.
More information can be found on our website here.
With the start of the School year, I would like to bring your attention to the wealth of extracurricular activities the School has to offer our young men. Details on these activities are being shared with the School in daily assemblies and communicated on the many noticeboards around the school. Please encourage your son to get involved with the extracurricular life of the School and start managing his time to gain the all-important balance between academic and these activities.
For further information about extracurricular activities, please refer to the sports and/or daily notices sections of the School’s website.
As your son shows an interest in a range of extracurricular activities, the Master in Charge of that code will provide you with an indication of the fees/costs associated with each activity.
If your son elects to participate in an activity that has associated costs, an electronic invoice will be sent to you and it will appear ready for payment on the Parent Portal. We would encourage parents to use the portal as a primary form of making payments to the School as electronic receipting is automated and we hope you find it to be a user-friendly system.
A reminder that the organisation of the School day on Tuesdays is different to all other days of the week. Form 5 students will have an 8-period day finishing at 3.30pm, whereas all other year levels will have a 7-period day concluding at 2.50pm.
A link to our School rules was sent home electronically to each family prior to the beginning of the academic year, and is available here. If any of the rules are unclear or ambiguous, please contact me directly for further clarification. It is vital that our young men and parents understand what is expected of them within our School environment.
Uniform and Grooming
Please note that at any time your son chooses to wear his uniform, whether it is after school, in town, or after a practice, he is expected to wear it in appropriate fashion and with pride. He is identified as an Auckland Grammar School student and as such all school rules will apply to him while he wears our uniform. Please do not allow your son to wear partial uniform in his own time as this simply provides a perception of mediocrity.
We expect our young men to be well-groomed at all times. A haircut that meets our clearly articulated guidelines, a shirt tucked in and socks pulled up does send a clear message of belonging to all in the Grammar community and the general public.
We do not permit mobile phones or smart devices being used or visible on our campus between 8am-3:30pm. We do acknowledge that some students now wear smart watches. The School currently permits these to be worn for the functionality of telling the time, however, accessing digital content remains prohibited during School hours. Within the context of internal and external examinations, smart watches are not permitted to be in an examination venue.
If your son does bring a smart device, (other than a watch) to School it should be kept in his bag at all times and be switched off. We recommend such items are not brought to School as we cannot be responsible for their whereabouts or loss.
Furthermore, personal electronic equipment may not be used on School trips.
If a student is found using a mobile phone or smart device it may be confiscated by a teacher and delivered to the Deputy Headmaster Pastoral – Junior School David Askew, who will store the device securely for seven days. Your son may see him after School any time after the seventh day to retrieve the phone or device. Please help us by not requesting the device to be returned any sooner.
Auckland Transport – School Buses
Auckland Transport provide a regular School bus service that begins after school daily around 3.20pm. Please note that when the School finishes early, either at 3pm because of a wet day, or at 2.50pm on Tuesdays for all levels other than Form 5, the bus service times remain the same. Parents may wish to discuss alternative transport arrangements with your sons.
Our thanks are extended to all parents who have paid the 2023 School Donation. Many parents have done this via the Parent Portal and we do appreciate your support. A written communication about this year’s donation was recently posted to parents.
Key dates in February
- Thursday 16 February – Swimming Sports
- Friday 17 February – Scholars’ Assembly
- Wednesday 22 February – Athletics Sports Day
- Thursday 23 February – Form 3 Parents’ Welcome Event