Rolleston Year Nine learners mentoring youngsters from Clearview Primary

Forward-looking school looks back

by Mike Isle

As Rolleston College enters the final term of its second year, we talk to Principal Steve Saville about what has excited him most about being in charge of the South Island’s newest and one of its fastest growing secondary schools.

Rolleston College — Horoeka Haemata — is a modern teaching facility in an historic town of new-found vigour and growth and Steve Saville and his staff want to make it one of New Zealand’s best and most holistic secondary schools.

It is a big responsibility for a first-time principal. He has a staff of 57 and a school roll of 440 — double the opening roll in January last year of 220.

After almost two years Steve shares his thoughts on a school that continues to excite him.

“The most exciting aspect about our second year has been our transition from establishing ourselves to becoming a fully operational school with all of the activity and opportunity that comes with that growth.

“Getting our foundation learners ready for their move into senior learning has been particularly important for us. Planning our senior curriculum and working through subject selection with our learners has been very exciting as has having the opportunity to give our first NCEA credits to our learners who have already started to produce work at senior curriculum levels.

“Our first Internship day held at the end of term three was another big event . For our year 10 learners to have the opportunity to experience the world of work was an important part of their development and readiness for life beyond school. They returned to school full of work stories and a sense of excitement for their futures.

“Our sporting achievements have been another highlight. We have had our first New Zealand representatives in sports such as softball, and synchronised swimming, national champs in sports such as cycling and swimming and the list could go on. We also won our first South Island tournament for a team sport, korfball. As a school, we are starting to flex our muscle at regional and national level. We have also had success in public speaking competitions.

“All of these firsts are exciting but also just as encouraging is seeing the things that are unique to us become part of our developing school culture. Exhibition nights continue to enable learners to showcase their learning, and the blossoming whanau spirit is encouraging healthy competition within the school in a variety of areas such as sport, debating and singing.

“The most exciting thing about this, our second year, is seeing the learners seize the chance to challenge themselves in an increasing number of learning situations and environments.

“That is special.”