Kia ora te reo Māori – naumai haere mai, nga mihi nui te whanau o Craighead.

Welcome back to Term Four We hope that everyone had a good break over the holidays and managed to shake off the illnesses and injuries from last term. Many students were very busy with extra-curricular activities and we congratulate all those who were involved in playing for Tournament Teams.  On a more sombre note, October marked 100 years since New Zealand’s darkest day in history—the anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, which was fought in Belgium during the First World War. RSE teacher Mrs Glenys Whittington, wrote  a play about the story of one man’s experience during that war (based on her grandfather’s dairies), which was presented at the South Canterbury Museum last week—featuring Mrs Whittington, Kate Jackson and Charlotte Howe. This was a very powerful drama which brought to life the noise, the rain, the mud and the horror of watching comrades perish. Congratulations to all involved in this very moving production.

Academic Achievement

This week signals the beginning of our final eight weeks of the 2017 school year. Our Year 11-13 students have less than three weeks before NCEA externals begin and should now be in the final stages of organizing their study programmes. There is plenty of assistance available for those who need extra support or guidance. As a school we are focusing on keeping ourselves well during the examination time which can be stressful for some students. But it does rely on each individual to self-manage in terms of sleep, nutrition, hydration and in keeping to good study habits. Subject teachers are usually keen to provide extra support in the form of tutorials and certainly appreciate students demonstrating extra effort in their particular subject.

With much discussion in the media about student mental health and wellbeing associated with over-assessment, we have made the decision not to have practice examinations for our Year 10 students in the coming weeks. Each Department has decided that examinations at this level are no longer required, given they can assess effectively during the one hour periods we currently have for class time. We do not feel that our Year 10 students need ‘practice’ at sitting formal examinations at this level, as they will get plenty of practice in 2018. Be assured that our focus on academic attainment remains a high priority as we encourage our students to strive for personal excellence.

Chaplain appointment

I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Mrs Lucy Flatt to the position of teaching Chaplain for Craighead as of 2018. A graduate from Otago University (Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy and Theology), Mrs Flatt is currently a student at St John’s Theological College, completing her Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. Along with her husband Cameron and their two young children, the family are very much looking forward to relocating to South Canterbury from Auckland. We have been very fortunate to have had wonderful support from both Reverend Jill Maslin and Reverend Josh Taylor over the past eighteen months. Mrs Flatt will be supported during 2018 by Reverend Josh Taylor as she settles into her new role.

Sports Awards Assembly

Our annual Sports Awards Ceremony will take place next Wednesday in the regular Assembly time, with an 11.50am start. Run by our Sports Advisory Council, we will acknowledge the sporting achievements, coaches, managers and referees/umpires of each sporting code. Students who receive the top Sports awards will have these awards re-presented at the main prizegiving on 7 December. Our guest speaker will be CDS Old Girl Hollie Woodhouse—Christchurch based adventure racer and author of “Say Yes to Adventure”. We warmly welcome any parents who wish to attend.

God Bless, Lindy Graham