Thursday, November 29, 2012


Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

As I look out the window this morning I can see that we are going to have a lovely summers day.  The senior classes have swimming and the junior rooms are off to Brighton Beach for their Beach Education Day.

I was speaking to a friend last night and he was telling me how that he found it quite sad how often the end of year can be a time not of joy and celebration as we approach Christmas, but a time of stress and tension.

I agreed with him but said that I still believed that people looked forward to the festive season but that they expected to tidy up all of life's ‘loose ends’ in the month of advent and as it became obvious that this was not going to happen, then they put pressure on themselves and others by trying to work to impractical and unsustainable time frames.  This is often compounded by the range and number of  functions that occur at  this time of the year.  The most relaxing Christmas times that I remember are times when we simply got away from it all.

 To ensure that our pupils continue to achieve at the high standard that they do I would ask that you all ensure that your children continue to read and write over the Christmas period.  A recent study showed that in all schools the amount of progress that children make during the school year is quite similar but that what makes the difference is the work put in during holidays.

If pupils don’t read or write for six weeks then they have to catch this up, so please encourage your child to read daily during the upcoming holidays, and play lots of card and board games.

Remember a good book is a great present.


Have a great week

Mike Brosnahan


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Here we are in week six of what is proving to be a very busy term.

The focus over the final month will be on the season of Advent as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, plus swimming for the senior classes along side beach education for the whole school and reflecting on our time at 62 Church Street, as we prepare to move.

 Obviously on top of this are a number of other outings and activities.  I can count four possible outings for the senior class over the next week, off the top of my head, and of course the major focus will continue to be on ensuring that our learners continue in their learning right up to the end of the year and in fact are prepared to continue their learning through the holidays.

 The Christmas season, the season of ‘Good will unto all’ can be a stressful time, the school year is ending or has ended, everybody is expected to attend a wider range of functions and as a society we have become more and more focused on ‘things’.  The ‘things’ in this case being presents, always aiming for bigger and better.  What we need to remember is that the actual meaning of Christmas is about families being together no matter the circumstances, that material possessions are only temporary and that what is really important is the relationship that we have with those close to us.  Christmas is a time of reflection and a time of joy but most importantly it is a time to give thanks for all that we have.

 Have a great week

Mike Brosnahan


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Tomorrow 14th November is the second time this year that a rare astrological event will take place.  This one is a solar eclipse that will best be viewed at 10:36am.

Last week our school took part in the annual South Taieri Schools Athletic Sports, and what a great day it was.

I was very impressed with the results that our school achieved, and winning the intermediate relay was a great feat.  The attitude shown and effort put in by our pupils were also highlights and to be commended.

Athletics continues to be a major focus of most primary schools because there is usually one event that favours every shape and size of pupils.

If you look at the Olympics the athletes who run the sprint are different from those who run the marathon and they are quite different from the throwers.

Despite what people may say the rule of 10,000 (Hours) says that the more time you spend training especially at a young age then the better you will be.  Natural talent really only occurs because of some who began early.  Mozart was thought a genius at 11 but he had been honing his skills since he was 3.


As my son continues into his first week of NCEA externals the same point occurs in a slightly different way.  Because he has worked steadily all year he doesn’t appear panicked about cramming now.  Other Year Tens that I speak to are not so laid back, because they didn’t do the hard yards early on.


To all of our ex-pupils who are sitting or have sat exams this year, good luck, you can still help yourself by ensuring that you are well rested before your exam and that you work for the entire three hours.


Have a great week

Mike Brosnahan


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Week four of the last term of 2012 already and those of us with secondary aged pupils will be only too aware that for some the academic year is over and they are moving into exams.

The NCEA assessment criteria has often been much maligned but having gone through a year of working with the system I am very happy with it.

Under the old system (school certificate) pupils had in most subjects, one chance, through a three hour end of year exam to succeed.  Work throughout the year to a large degree counted for nothing.

With NCEA each credit at whatever standard is known and accounted for.  If you get a merit you usually have the opportunity to up grade to excellence.  Many students will already have passed before they sit their external exams and those who haven’t know what they need to do to succeed.

A very similar system of internal and external examinations now exists in most tertiary institutions and this more transparent system ensures that pupils know where they are and what more they need to do to pass.


Work at our new school site is progressing smoothly and the new school is taking shape rapidly.

I have no doubt that there will be more challenges to face before we get to February 5th but we are now well on the way to moving into our new school.


Have a great week

Mike Brosnahan