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.