PRINCIPAL – ROSS PREECE
There is much excitement both within our College and the entire Mid Canterbury community, with planning for our major rebuild well in progress. The decision to rebuild was made because of our current and expected roll growth over the next 10 years, and the age and design of our buildings. Currently Ashburton College’s roll is 1200-plus but the planning is for an expected peak of 1600 students. An architectural firm, which specialises in school builds, has been awarded the contract to construct the Master Plan with this due to be completed by mid-year. As a College we are able to have significant input into the planning process and we are very conscious of providing an educational facility to prepare our graduates for very different future employment options.
The key to future success will not be around the acquisition and retention of knowledge, because the sum of the world’s knowledge is available to all of us on any digital device. There are a set of skills and dispositions that are essential for the future. These include: creative problem-solving, curiosity, resiliency, collaboration, communication and thinking. Much of this collaboration will involve digital connections, however great people skills will still be essential. As a College we have begun the process of transforming our curriculum to foster these future skills and dispositions. The introduction of an ‘Innovation’ stream in both Years 9 and 10 is a significant development towards preparing our students for a different future. Because of our roll size we are able to offer innovation or traditional streams for our students to choose from. We are also well-positioned to take advantage of the future changes to NCEA that are pending for 2022 and beyond.
Over the last six months there has been a total restoration of the carvings which adorn our Whare. We take much pride in the fact that we have the best carvings of any school in the South Island. The initial carvings were crafted by Master Carver Vince Leonard and were in place by 1997. Being exposed to the elements for 20-plus years had obviously taken its toll on these taonga. This year, we were extremely fortunate to secure the services of Damian Peeti who led the restoration programme.
The carvings have now been reinstated and are looking magnificent. Damian had been an assistant of Vince on the original project and his restoration work has been meticulous.
Whilst there has been plenty of consideration given to our future, we continue to emphasise our three core Values of Quality, Pride and Respect, which will always remain as a valued commodity for all communities.