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Message from the Headmaster – March 2024

In assembly over the past six weeks, many young men have crossed stage to be recognised for their academic successes, leadership, and/or successes in sport or the performing arts. Their accomplishments are worthy of celebration and are exemplars for others to follow. 

Your sons are part of an environment that presents what is possible and challenges them to be the best they can be. From our experience, the most engaged students willingly participate inside and outside the classroom. They show self-discipline by being at school on time, meeting expectations and managing their time to meet their learning and extracurricular commitments. While not all engaged students are recognised by crossing the stage, they are building the resilience required to experience success.

My most recent messaging to your sons has included: “When you insist on the best, you often get it.” Insisting on the best involves being prepared to regularly study and making sacrifices to learn. Insisting on the best involves building the resilience to perform a personal best, rather than making excuses when things get tough, because learning can quite often be difficult. It also involves contributing to the School’s standards and expectations.

Within this Bulletin, you will read of considerable academic successes in Cambridge, NCEA and Scholarship examinations. We are proud of the way students achieved at the highest level nationally and internationally in 2023 and commend those who earned a place on the University Entrance Scholars Board. The names of the 33 scholars will join the names from previous years that surround the Great Hall.

While we will continue to celebrate those who achieve at the highest level in any area of School life, we also recognise those who regularly apply themselves to their studies, attend all classes and attend all examinations. Academically, they can and do achieve, no matter what stream they are in or what qualification pathway they follow. Perhaps the clearest example of this is through University Entrance, which is the only aspect of NCEA that can be compared like for like across the country. 

In a cohort of 417 Form 7 students last year, 86.1% earned University Entrance across NCEA and Cambridge pathways. This figure is much higher than overall national averages and far exceeds national averages for male students (41.5%) and female students (52.4%). Our congratulations are extended to all students who earned University Entrance.

I raise this with you as we enter a busy time of the term so that you can reinforce with your sons that their daily attendance, engagement and commitment to School standards will pay off. It will not always mean they can be the best, but through doing their best they can be proud of their efforts and experience success. 

Your sons should now have started their study programmes for the Term 1 examinations, which start on Thursday 4 April. The next four weeks are an important time for your sons to be putting regular discretionary effort into their studies prior to Easter.

Finally, alongside our responsibility to grow your sons’ knowledge, we take our responsibility to helping them become contributing members of their School and society seriously. Writer Bruce Chatwin reminded us that we can do this daily through what we say and what we do: “Our words shape our story, our story becomes our framework for our behaviours and our behaviours determine how we live our lives.”

Per Angusta Ad Augusta

Tim O’Connor