… from the newsletter notes of Head Teacher John Boyce
Earlier this year (2007) we made national news as the school that banned Girl Guide biscuits because they have too much sugar (25%). That sounds a bit silly – but the media highlighted just one small part of a very well thought-out and comprehensive system designed to help our students become aware of risks and take responsibility for their own lives.
We don’t ban high sugar, high fat foods – but we have decided that we will not support the sale of unhealthy food in our canteen or school or through fundraising (foods such as pies, fizzy drinks, sugary biscuits, chocolate, crisps etc). Families can decide to make these part of a student’s lunch for a treat – but we do not make them available here.
With our whanau system and our emphasis on healthy, faithful relationships, Garin has a strong focus on the social health of our students and school.
Our staff and students are aware of their physical well-being, and both staff and students are active in a wide range of sports, arts and social activities.
Three years ago students designed a sunsmart hat, and that is part of our compulsory summer uniform. Our architect provided us with huge shadesails and we have planted hundreds of trees to provide shade in the future.
All schools have bullying because young people make mistakes. We pride ourselves on making sure we deal with incidents as they occur. We survey students every year to find out what the problems are, and areas of the school where students feel unsafe. We train senior students to help younger students sort out problem in our Peer Support programme.
We put a huge amount of time into making sure our students are looked after. Our whole school structure was developed to meet this need.
Our behavioural Management system is designed to avoid stress and shouting. We don’t “punish” but negative actions do have consequences. It’s all about education. Everyone makes mistakes, but we like to help people learn from them – rather than punish.
As a Catholic school we find it much easier than a non-religious school to talk about right and wrong, moral and immoral, good and bad. We can be explicit in these areas – and we are.
We recognise the spirit alive in each student and we provide experiences such as camps and retreats to help each student become self-aware and strong.
We give our students skills and experiences that enable them to make a difference in their communities – now and in the future. There is no point in being personally well – but living in a demoralising and de-personalising community.
There is no point in living in a strong community in a dying world. Garin students go out into the world and develop the skills and experiences that enable them to make a difference.