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Message from the Headmaster – March 2022

Dear Parents

As the term progresses, changing Public Health requirements and the impact of COVID-19 have dominated many aspects of our lives.  As you have responded to the health needs of those in your households, our priorities have been to provide well-being support, along with academic and health structures that have helped maintain a safe and stable school environment for your sons.

Last year I reminded our young men that: We want to grow in them the ability to act with resilience, so they can manage the difficulties or discomfort associated with online learning. If you do, you will put yourself into an advantaged rather than disadvantaged position with your learning and general wellbeing.”

In normal times, acting with self-discipline and growing in resilience are not necessarily attributes that produce immediate benefits. Rather, it is often only after young men leave School that they understand the worth of such lessons they may have learnt at Grammar.

2021 was different. The benefit for the young men who accepted the challenges presented to them and grew in resiliency paid off through their 2021 external examination results. 

This was visible through phenomenal Cambridge results, with our students receiving a record number of Top of the World and Top of New Zealand awards, and students completing NCEA qualifications surpassing their Unexpected Event Grades (UEG) by an average of 10%.

Moreover, in a cohort of 462 Form 7 students, 86% earned University Entrance across NCEA and Cambridge pathways. This figure is much higher than the overall national average (50.8%) and far exceeds national averages for male students in Decile 8-10 schools (59%) and for all boys (44%) and girls (56%) nationally.

Please be aware that the Ministry of Education and NZQA will soon publish results for secondary schools around the country. The statistics these agencies publish, do not include 55% of our senior students (those following a Cambridge pathway) and present a false picture of just how well our young men achieved overall in 2021.

I raise students’ results and the resilience they showed last year to achieve their potential or exceed their goals, as a reminder for all cohorts. If your sons use the lessons learnt from online learning through 2021 and they apply these to the way they approach School life this year, the benefits should grow exponentially. Our guarantee is that we will do everything we can to be on campus to avoid the need for School-wide online learning.

While we all respond in different ways to the trials and tribulations of COVID-19, it is a combination of the consistent implementation and communication of systems, alongside our collective words, actions and intentions that will ensure our campus remains open for all students. 

Like you as parents, we can lead young men to act in a manner that will provide them with considerable advantage, but they have to accept the challenge to act with independence and self-discipline, while asking for help when required.

It is through your sons committed involvement in and out of classrooms that they gain the full benefit of being on campus at Auckland Grammar School. It is their involvement in sport, the performing arts, in clubs, committees and their impromptu interactions with their peers, including the longer-term relationships they forge, that they come to understand and implement ‘The Grammar Way’. While we can measure results, much that happens here is immeasurable.

That model remains our preference. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Per Angusta Ad Augusta

Tim O’Connor