The story run on TV3’s The Project on Monday evening has sparked debate that continued through breakfast TV and radio this week. The question posed was ‘is it time to scrap cross country in schools?’ Research conducted by Sport New Zealand indicated that 73% of children like cross country at age six, but this goes down to 52% by age 13. In comparison, 94% liked PE and 92% liked club or weekend sports.
Does the fact that 27% of six-year-olds don’t enjoy cross country mean that we should be talking about changing or removing it from the sports curriculum? As Jesse Mulligan quite rightly pointed out, it’s likely that a similar number of children would say they don’t like maths, and we’re not talking about dropping that from the curriculum!
The declining activity and fitness levels of children is bound to be a factor. But the overriding issue appears to be that we don’t like someone having to come last. One of the arguments given by Karen Laurie, Sport New Zealand’s Young People Consultant, was that for those kids at the back of the race, it can be pretty demoralising.
Why is it that we want to shield our children from competition and the highs and lows of winning and losing? Doesn’t competition build resilience in our children? Isn’t facing tough challenges something we think can be beneficial?
At Hereworth, one of the characteristics we strive to bring out in our students is being actively involved. Another is confidence, of which resilience is a huge part.
Hereworth expects, challenges and encourages every boy to participate fully in all areas of school life – whether that be writing, maths, music, languages, food technology or any one of our multiple curriculum areas. We also hold the same expectation when it comes to the traditional annual sporting events in our calendar; athletic sports, swimming sports, and Sandy Lane, our cross country event, that has been run since the early 1900s.
Yes, for some, cross-country may not be their favourite day of the school year, but for others it is their time to shine. We have to look deeper than winners and losers. The Sandy Lane race is about facing up to challenges, participating in an event with a long history, and each boy meeting his own goals for the race.
We know our boys well, as all schools know their students. We know that the boy who may come last in cross-country, won the speech competition last week, has been producing some incredible artwork this term or came top in the mid-year maths exam. Because he is celebrated for those other successes, it doesn’t rock his confidence to come last in cross-country. Instead, he feels proud to have finished the race. He has been encouraged the whole way round the course by his peers, parents and staff who all line the course, and his mates give him a huge pat on the back when he crosses the finish line because they know that, for him, this was a massive challenge. They will expect, and get, the same support from him when they face their own challenges throughout the school year.
If we stop challenging students with a cross-country race because we don’t like picking winners (and therefore creating losers) will we also stop finding winners in other areas of school life? Should we not pick a soloist for the choir performance because it might make the other boys feel less valued? Should we drop the spelling bee and speech competitions too? Absolutely not. Competition is healthy and encourages our boys to strive to be the best that they can be in all areas of school life, and gives them the chance to shine in their area of strength.
Our latest newsletter is out now! Take a look at what the boys have achieved in the second half of Term 1.
It’s that time of year when many parents are considering which intermediate school is the right one for their child.
There’ll be a multitude of questions that families are looking for answers to. Which school will best meet the child’s academic needs? Does the sports programme suit him/her? Where are his/her friends going? Which gives him/her the most opportunity to try different subjects? How will the school prepare him/her for high school? Where will he/she be happiest?
For every family, the priorities will be different. But common to all families is the desire to choose the school that will bring out the best in their child.
At Hereworth we specialise in boys education and pride ourselves on taking a very tailored approach to each of our students to unleash their full potential. We believe we offer the best schooling for boys in their intermediate years for the following reasons:
Most importantly we focus on the individual and helping each boy reach his potential. With classes capped at 22, our teachers can give more time and attention to each student, monitoring his progress and offering extension or support when needed.
We are a small school with an annual roll of around 200 boys. This means we are small enough for each boy to be noticed, for his talents to be seen, and for every teacher to get to know him. Boys thrive in this environment where their achievements are seen, and their successes celebrated.
We believe that boys learn better in a single sex environment and, in a world so focused on growing up before their time, boys are allowed to be boys at Hereworth. They climb trees, play bull rush and (surprisingly often) get covered in mud! They’re kept active throughout the day and after school sport is compulsory because we know that being active helps boys learn.
Being in a boys-only environment takes away all of the social pressures that are prevalent at this age when boys’ hormones start to influence their behaviour. In a single sex environment, they are free to be boys and navigate their way through puberty in a safe and nurturing environment.
One thing that is consistently noticed by high schools and parents of our year 8 leavers is the attitude of Hereworth boys, and it is often the intangible things that make the most impact. We teach boys manners, respect and a commitment to learning. This pays dividends when it comes to preparation for high school. Having a positive attitude and a willingness to commit to school is vital for their longer-term achievement.
Boys leave Hereworth fully prepared for life at high school and beyond. They are used to following a timetable, moving between classrooms and seeing different teachers for different subjects. They know how to organise themselves and manage their time to complete classwork and homework on time.
Hereworth focuses on the whole boy – the academic, the sportsman, the friend, the performer, the individual. Boys at Hereworth give everything a go, and they do so with enthusiasm because they’re doing it alongside their mates with the support and encouragement of their teachers.
Boys discover their strengths through our unique curriculum. In addition to literacy and maths, he’ll discover science, music, languages, drama, food technology, art, computer science and robotics, soft and hard materials at Hereworth. Our specialist teaching team ensures that passions are fuelled by people who know and love their craft.
Hereworth offers a leading performing arts programme. Nearly a third of 7 and 8 boys join our award winning choir, and they all take to the stage for the biennial musical theatre production. Boys strive to excel in this area as much as they do in the classroom and on the sports field.
All boys join one of our school teams that play in the local weekend club competition. Sport is an integral part of school life that promotes team work and leadership. Boys get the opportunity to compete in the long-standing prep fixtures against other independent schools around New Zealand; an experience unique to Hereworth.
We have an incredibly high calibre of teachers who are all passionate about teaching and nurturing our students to love learning. Our high ratio of male teachers is well above the national average and as role models, this is beneficial for many boys.
Our teachers also coach our sports teams, giving them the chance to see boys in a different environment. With former professional sportspeople on our staff, the boys also get top level coaching to prepare them for weekend and prep fixtures.
So why choose Hereworth?
As a school, we work with each student to progress him towards his goals. We recognise academic achievement as much as we do personal, sporting and cultural successes. We will set him on the path to success at high school with a grounding in sound moral and Christian values. Above all, we support your son in achieving his potential, giving him the very best all round educational foundation he needs.
Deputy Head & Intermediate School Leader
In our first newsletter of this year, I touched on the subject of Modern Learning Environments (MLE) – and in this blog post, I would like to further expand on the topic which remains front of mind with parents and the media.
With our current government only contributing funding to new classroom builds that meet their MLE requirements, this has become a hot topic in the education world. At Hereworth we are not supporters of the current government’s version of the Modern Learning Environment, and I firmly believe this kind of teaching is not the best way in which we can serve our boys and prepare them for the future. So let me provide you with some more information about MLE and why we don’t endorse the approach.
MLEs are also known around the country as Innovative Learning Environments or Flexible Learning Environments. Although the name may differ, they all refer to a teaching setting that generally comprises large open, flexible learning spaces that combine small and large areas, a number of class groups, mixed age groups, and involve team teaching methods. Some MLEs around the country can have up to 100 students in one space.
Proponents of the MLE believe the flexibility of teaching spaces to be one of the real benefits. Spaces can be expanded or reduced depending on what is being taught. This is believed to enable personalised learning, socially constructed learning with collaboration, and peer learning.
I believe an important aspect in the design of effective learning environments is whether the space provides a setting that is conducive to learning, and specifically for Hereworth, is beneficial to the way in which boys learn best.
Amalgamating classes and ages leads to exceptionally large groups of children in one space, making it very difficult to tailor individual learning and meet student needs. As the Principal of Ponsonby Primary School, Anne Malcolm, said on last night’s Seven Sharp “teachers have to really know their kids.” At Hereworth we share Anne’s opinion. We know from experience that tailored teaching and an individual approach brings out the best in our students, leading to higher levels of attainment. Our vision is to provide a small nurturing classroom environment for our boys that is well resourced with modern equipment.
At Hereworth we do take some of the concepts of the MLE, for example, fluidity of space within a classroom and modern resources and technology and combine those with Hereworths nurturing classrooms with small numbers of students. We are proud of the fact that our small class sizes and personalised learning programmes enable our teaching staff to guide each child on their learning journey.
My colleague and our Deputy Head, Deb Richardson, were only recently discussing that in a MLE with 70 plus students in a classroom, students are highly likely to fall through the cracks. Here our boys have their own spaces where they learn to be self-managing and organised, and the small class sizes mean they develop a close rapport with their teachers. As Deb says – “You can have a gorgeous space, but if you do not have the underlying pedagogy based on empirical evidence and best practice, the space is worthless.”
It is not a matter of not being willing to move with the times, rather we are dedicated to taking the best proven methods of education for boys, and combining them with the most up to date resources to ensure our children have the best education and learning environment possible.
As an independent school we are not compelled to adhere to Government initiatives in education and I feel very lucky that we have the ability to choose how we educate our boys.
View and download the latest edition of our ‘Hereworth Highlights’ newsletter.
We’re pleased to announce the launch of a Mobile App for Hereworth. The app is designed to make our parents lives easier, and brings together all notices, newsletters, important information and contacts for the school in one easy to access place. Download the app free on iPhone or Android by clicking on the link below, and view the information sheet on all the app’s features.
Download the schedule for the Athletics Sports Day this Friday 25 November. The first event starts at 9.00am with the day finishing at 3.00pm. All families are welcome to attend to support the boys and hopefully see a few records broken!
With the school closure this week, all sports fixtures are cancelled for this coming weekend 20th and 21st August. For any queries please contact Lincoln Doull, Director of Sport.
This afternoon, all Havelock North schools met with the District Health Board to discuss the ongoing response to the potential campylobacter outbreak. The District Health Board advice is that primary and intermediate schools should remain closed to reduce the risk of secondary infection and further spread of the illness. Accordingly Hereworth will now reopen on Monday 22nd August and we will be contacting all our parents via email shortly.
We have been advised by the Ministry of Education that due to the continued risk of the campylobacter outbreak the school should not remain open. Given the seriousness of the situation we are following their advice and closing the school until Thursday 18 August. Whilst we fully appreciate that this two day closure will cause disruption for our families, our primary concern is for the well-being of the boys and staff, and we thank you for your understanding.
Hereworth is open today as normal. Robust Health & Safety policies are in place to minimise the spread of any communicable illness within the school including regular sanitising, providing bottled water for our students, and turning off the water fountains. We do not have any unwell students in our Boarding House. More information will be posted as the situation develops.
The Gastroenteritis bug circling through the school has affected the sports teams for this weekend’s fixtures. With such a shortage of players, the following teams will not play this weekend: Rugby: 12th Grade, 11th Grade Green, 10th Grade Hockey: 3rd XI
Many of the available boys have been drafted into other teams as cover, and your son knows if he is one of those boys so please check with him before heading out for your games this weekend.
We have had several boys unwell with vomiting and diarrhoea over the past few days. To avoid further spread of this illness within the school please follow the Ministry of Health guidelines and keep your boys at home for 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea.
View and download ‘The Week Ahead’ for the coming week.
The latest Hereworth Highlights is out now. Featuring news on Hereworth’s approach to primary education, introductions to new staff, the 2016 Choir Installation, and of course the achievements of our boys and news from around the school. View and download your copy below.