New prin­ci­pal gives pupils more say


New Holy Fam­ily School prin­ci­pal Chris Theobald thinks his pupils should have more of a say about how they are taught.

Theobald took up his po­si­tion last month, re­plac­ing Karl Vasau, who was in the role for eight years. Theobald was pre­vi­ously deputy prin­ci­pal at Pe­tone’s Sa­cred Heart Pri­mary.

An early high­light for him at Holy Fam­ily was the powhiri he re­ceived, which in­cluded pupils from his old school.

‘‘I hadn’t been to one like it be­fore,’’ Theobald said.

‘‘There were six na­tion­al­i­ties and it was all stu­dent-led.’’

Holy Fam­ily has 190 pupils, from new en­trants to year 6.

Theobald’s first pri­or­ity was to get to know the school com­mu­nity, and that meant mak­ing quite a few phone calls – almost 200, in fact.

‘‘I’m about half­way through the phone list con­tact­ing par­ents.’’

Theobald lives in Lower Hutt with his wife Del­yse, an emer­gency depart­ment nurse, and three chil­dren un­der 5.

An un­der­stand­ing of a pupil’s home life was im­por­tant for teach­ers, he said.

‘‘It comes down to look­ing at what’s go­ing on in the home and un­der­stand­ing that school is a pri­or­ity, but that some­times there are other pri­or­i­ties.

‘‘We’re a Catholic school, so hope­fully we can help out the fam­i­lies who need it.’’

Theobald said he was in­ter­ested in look­ing at the ac­cel­er­ated progress model for the school. The key ar­eas would ini­tially be read­ing, writ­ing and maths.

‘‘Ask­ing a child how they learn and en­abling that stu­dent is im­por­tant so they have more of a role in their ed­u­ca­tion.’’

Theobald said a lot could be done to im­prove the pupils’ per­for­mance with­out re­quir­ing much in­vest­ment.

‘‘The ped­a­gogy be­hind in­creased stu­dent own­er­ship in the class­room is more im­por­tant than buy­ing some dif­fer­ent desks and chairs.’’

Holy Fam­ily’s pupils were full of life, en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm, Theobald said.

‘‘It’s about mak­ing sure that the chil­dren at Holy Fam­ily can be ready for suc­cess­ful lives.’’


New vi­sion: Holy Fam­ily prin­ci­pal Chris Theobald with pupils, from left, Levi Siala, Ahena Pate­le­sio-Feo and Ilalio Manuele.

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