Kia ora whanau
Tēnā koutou kātoa ngā whānau o te kura
Why is Advent Important?
We culminated the season of Ordinary Time in the liturgical year of the Church’s calendar last Sunday (24 November) with the Solemnity of Christ the King. So, now we are in the new season–the season of Advent. Preparation for Christmas is an important theme for Advent, but more is involved. Advent gives us a vision of our lives as Christians and shows us the possibilities of life. The vision of life that Advent gives us is twofold; it looks back to the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem, and it looks to the future when Christ will come again. In the interval between these two events we find meaning for our life as a Christian. First we celebrate Christ-become-human. We view his life and experience his presence as a human being in our history. Christ came to show us what life can and should be. He gave us true and valid principles by which we can live true and valid lives. But Jesus knew that the human heart could not live in isolation. He formed the Church around the concept of a people held together by love. In that community we discover unlimited possibilities and meaning. Alone we can do nothing. Together we find real meaning. Advent is our time to become more involved, more caught up in the meaning and the possibilities of life as a Christian community. Thus we are preparing not only for Christmas but also for Christ’s Second Coming. Come Lord Jesus and fill our whole being with your presence in this season of Advent!
Consultation on the Aquinas College Graduate Profile has concluded. Thank you to those members of the community who engaged in the consultation phase. Our Graduate Profile will be implemented at the beginning of 2020. It communicates the strategic aspirations for Aquinas College graduates and expresses the value of excellence in a holistic Catholic College. Although each individual will forge their own path and develop at Aquinas College according to their abilities and ambitions, all students will have the opportunity to Belong in a faith community, Believe with Reason and Become through actions. These opportunities will be embedded within learning programmes, and within students’ wider experiences at the College. This reflects our College’s founding framework and strategically aims to develop a deeper sense of what it means for each of the Touchstones to come alive in the life of our students.
Aquinas College, through the Graduate Profile, aspires to develop a sense of belonging by encouraging students to be strongly connected to their own identity, their whānau and wider community so that they may participate in the mission of the Church and bicultural Aotearoa New Zealand. By believing with reason we seek a deeper understanding of ourselves, our faith and the world around us to make ethical decisions, which are based on Truth and conscience. Finally, in becoming we are all called to be servant leaders, who positively influence the lives of others through our actions by advocating, promoting stewardship and by using our God given gifts and talents for the common good of society.
2020 Timetable Change
Following a substantial period of consultation and discussion, Aquinas College will be implementing a change in timetable structure for 2020. This change in structure enables us to most effectively deliver our vision of a broad and balanced curriculum while also meeting the needs of our students.
Adopting a three block day – (up to) 6 x 50 minute periods, every day of the week provides greater consistency across the week for students and staff. Importantly, this model enhances flexibility, more practically enabling the timetabling of single or double lessons to meet different requirements across learning areas and student learning programmes.
As we shape our curriculum around our new Graduate Profile we will continue to review our timetable design. It is possible that there may be further changes in structure in the coming years. As a vehicle for the delivery of teaching and learning, our timetable must continue to be adaptable and reflect our vision for learning and the needs of our students.
2020 Period Times (if operating as singles)
First Block Period 1 – 9:00am-9:50am
Period 2 – 9:50am-10:40am
First Break 10:40am – 11:05am
Second Block Period 3 – 11:05am-11:55am
Period 4 – 11:55am-12:45pm
Second Break 12:45pm – 1:35pm
Third Block Period 5 – 1:35pm-2:25pm
Period 6 – 2:25pm-3:15pm
2020 will also see the following changes to the timetable:
The school day will begin at 8:40am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next year. Tutor Class will operate on Monday and Friday and Year Level Assemblies / House Assemblies will alternate on Wednesday mornings. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings however, students will begin with Period 1 at 9:00am. The library will be open for students on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:20am.
Year 9 Classes
In response to one of the recommendations of last year’s Junior Curriculum Review, we piloted a Year 9 class this year that was taught by a reduced number of teachers. Maths & Science was taught by one teacher, and English & Social Studies was taught by one teacher. Our aim was to provide opportunities for collaboration, creative thinking and cross curricular learning, all linked to the Special Character of the College. Feedback that has been sought and received has confirmed that the pilot class was successful across pastoral, social, and academic indicators. Consequently, we are extending this programme to all Year 9 classes in 2020. Evidence suggests that learning occurs best when it is connected to meaningful contexts and when there are coherent links to other learning areas within the curriculum. The allocation of a single teacher across two learning areas provides opportunities for these connections and links to occur naturally. The teachers in these areas will also be working collaboratively as a team to produce programmes of work that explicitly connect with our local community and our students’ lived experiences. Current planning is focused on generating theme-based topics of work that will make these connections as well as linking important disciplinary knowledge across learning areas. The staff who are working as a team in year 9 are excited to see how the learning journey evolves for our students in 2020
In line with the College’s third goal in the Strategic Plan, there will be Mentoring introduced into the timetable. This will happen in Tutor classes and will alternate with assembly on a fortnightly basis. Tutor teachers will work with the students in their Tutor Class on an intentional Mentoring programme which is progressional and targets holistic well-being to align with the vision of the Graduate Profile. We see this as an exciting and essential further step in supporting our students in their academic and well-being outcomes.
The mentoring programme will not begin until Week 8 of Term 1 to ensure that the programme and Mentor teachers are well prepared. We will be deliberate within our professional development plan leading into Week 8 to support this new programme.
Tutor Class Construction
We will be changing from vertical Tutor classes to horizontal. Tutors will remain in Houses. This is a significant change and not one decided upon lightly. Ultimately, it was determined that the benefits of operating Tutor class and mentoring horizontally will provide many more benefits than drawbacks when compared to the current vertical system. This change will align our Tutor system to our horizontal pastoral care system. Further, this will enable the Deans to work with a team of four Tutor teachers on matters pertaining to their year level instead of the current 28. This also ensures that the resources and messages as part of the Tutor class and the Mentoring programme can be age appropriate within each Tutor class. As a College, we will need to be deliberate in ensuring that our senior students continue to have opportunities to engage with junior students through Tutor time in addition to their House assemblies at different points in the year.
The vision is for teachers to move through the school with their Tutor class, continuing to enable the development of richer and deeper relationships over time.
We will be trialling Self Determined Learning blocks for Year 13 students in 2020. The proposal of including ‘study periods’ received strong support from both students (92% Yes, 8% No) and community (70% Yes, 21% Neutral, 9% No) in recent consultation surveys.
All Year 13 classes will have one of their 10 contact periods across a cycle assigned as Self Determined Learning periods. The only exception to this will be Religious Education who carry through eight contact periods into the new timetable model. All Year 13 students will therefore have five Self Determined Learning periods per fortnight. Teachers will not cover new content related to the learning programme in this allocated time. Teachers will guide and support students in their study, opening opportunities for tutorials and enrichment.
Self Determined Learning periods will foster the attitude, behaviours, self-management and thinking skills students will need every day as they transition from our College into further study or employment. Because students take an active role in directing their own learning, they will develop the skills necessary to prioritise their tasks and manage their learning. Students and parents will receive a copy of the College’s Self Determined Learning Management Policy which will provide clarity of operation and information about student obligations and responsibilities.
Thank you to those members of our community who engaged in the community consultation survey recently. While we would have preferred wider engagement in this survey, we are thankful to those 80 members of our community who did contribute. Your feedback is most valuable and will help inform our future planning. Follow this link for a summary of the consultation and our responses to this feedback.
As this newsletter will be our final publication for the year, I share with you some key dates for your planning:
Final Prize Giving – Tuesday 10th December
The final Prize Giving to acknowledge 2019 academic prize winners is to be held on Tuesday 10 December in the College Gymnasium, beginning at 10am. Parents and community members are warmly welcomed to attend this main event. Students will be free to leave for summer break after they have been to their final Tutor group meeting following the final Prize Giving.
2020 Term Dates
The 2020 term dates are below. As previously published, we have worked with St. Mary’s School and St. Thomas More School to share a common start of year date.
29th – 30th January – Student Executive Leadership Camp
30th – 31st January – Staff only days
30th January – Course confirmation for senior students
3rd February – All Students present (College pōwhiri for new students and families)
27th March – Staff Only Day
9th April – Term 1 Ends
28th April – Term 2 Starts
29th May – Kahui Ako Staff Only Day
3rd July – Term 2 Ends
20th July – Term 3 Starts
10th August – STCA Accord Teacher Only Day
25th September – Term 3 Ends
12 October – Term 4 Starts
23 November – STCA Accord Teacher Only Day
9th December – Term 4 Ends (College Prizegiving)
Thank you for your continued support of our College and may God’s Blessings be upon you all.
To Him be the glory.
Special Character Honours
During our All Saints Mass, we honoured Special Character and recognised two humble servant leaders who have shown that they are not afraid to live out their faith, and are role-models who have been involved in a range of social actions and ministries during their time at Aquinas College – Bailey Berntsen and Laura Smith.
In November we will hosting a mission team of youth ministers from CSYMI in Canberra. We established a connection with CSYMI back in February when we visited their ‘Equipping School of New Evangelisation’.
This relationship has enabled us to bring the programme to New Zealand and Aquinas College will be the pilot school. This initially begins with our Year 10 students as they will participate in a one-day encounter experience with the team. Here is a link to their website https://csymi.com/
The Year 13 Retreat was held this year at Tui Ridge, near Rotorua, and was a special time for the students to come together to reflect on their Aquinas College journey. It was an important time for students to share memories, spend time together and to discuss new challenges, which lie ahead, as they embark on new adventures. The Retreat concentrated on John 10:7-10 and questioned students to think about what they will take with them from Aquinas College so they can live life to the full.
We are also grateful for the support that Father Philip, Father Rico and Father Prakash provided to enable our students to encounter Christ through Adoration, Reconciliation and Mass to conclude our Retreat.
All Saints Mass is a very special feast-day in the calendar of the church, at which we call to mind all the holy men and women who have followed God’s will throughout the ages: they are all saints. This was the first Mass that Father Philip celebrated with us and we are very grateful for all of his help and support. Father Philip is originally from Tauranga and was ordained at St Mary’s Immaculate in 2002.
The NCEA examination period for this year runs from Friday 8 November through until Tuesday 3 December.
Senior students (Year 11 – Year 13) have already been released for study leave.
Year 10 students involved in NCEA Examinations have been informed of their study arrangements.
When NCEA releases results in January there is ALWAYS a massive delay in accessing the website. To avoid this, all students who are entered for NCEA this year should ensure that they have registered on the NZQA website before results are released.
Junior Prize Giving
Attitude and Efforts, Junior Excellence Awards (single and double subject recipients), and REACH Awards will be presented at the Junior Prize Giving in week 9 of the term (Monday 9 December, 12.30pm start).
Students who are receiving an award will be alerted by 30 November.
Parents are welcome to attend the assembly.
End of Year Prize Giving
The final prize giving for the year is scheduled for Tuesday 10 December. The ceremony starts at 10am.
AC YES Company Kati Waeroa celebrate success at YE Awards Night
Aquinas College had one company invited to the Young Enterprise Awards night at Base Station Tauranga. Year 13 Business Studies students Laura Smith (CEO), Arthurlina Bibi and Hannah Audas pitched their product to a live audience.
For their efforts, Kati Waeroa won the Runners Up Award for their product a plant-based mosquito repellent. The repellent contains oil from the endemic Kawa Kawa plant, which was traditionally used by Maori to repel mosquitos.
Recently, our Economic students, had the opportunity to participate in the NZ Economics competition which attracts over 2700 candidates.
We would like to acknowledge the following students, who achieved a Distinction Grade (top 15% of NZ)
Fundraising for the USA Digitech and Business Studies trip to California Easter 2020 is taking many shapes and forms and exposing students and parents alike to a variety of money-making ventures.
In August, in preparation for the evening with Richie McCaw at the Trustpower Arena, a group of students covered some 1000+ chairs with lycra covers. Back breaking and finger numbing but very memorable.
The stainless steel clothes pegs proved very popular and our donated bike (thanks BikeBarn) has been sold.
The Aquinas Junior Choir travelled to Hamilton on Thursday 24 October to take part in the Kids Sing event. Sixteen choirs from around the Bay of Plenty performed at the event. The Junior Choir sang confidently, performing Hine e Hine followed by Dancing Queen. They were well received by the audience and did us very proud. Whetumarama Timutimu was our piano accompanist. A big thank you to Mrs Murphy and Whetu for all their work with the Junior Choir this year.
The Year 7, Autonomous learner’s group were awarded with their prize for being a winner of the Fair Go Consumer Heroes competition at a special assembly last Thursday. On Friday the students travelled to Auckland to confront their problem. They were given a tour of the Griffin’s factory and had the opportunity to speak to a group of the company’s executives about their issue with the Griffin’s 2-pack of Chocolate Chippie and Shrewsbury biscuits. We hope you had the opportunity to see our students on Fair Go on Monday the 11th of November.
Recently Roisin was awarded her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Wellington. She has achieved her Bronze, Silver and Gold awards through Aquinas College. The highlight of the Gold Award for Roisin was completing her Gold qualifying journey in America, tramping four days of the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains. Doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards meant that Roisin had to challenge and push herself outside of her comfort zone. Along the way, she made lots of new friends and had a lot of memorable experiences. Thanks to Mrs Harrison, who was the teacher supporting Roisin over the years, and to Mr Dalton who travelled to Wellington for the award ceremony.
By Fiona Boyle
Another great year in Sport at Aquinas College is now coming to a close. It was great to celebrate all of our students sporting successes in the Sports Prizegiving at the end of October, you can see these detailed in the article below.
A special thank you to all of our departing Year 13 students who have been strong supporters of Sport during their time at Aquinas College. You have been wonderful role models for the younger students at school in both your competitive and social sporting endeavours. Keep up the sport when you leave school!
If your child has any Sports Uniforms that are no longer in use, please return these to the Sports Office as soon as possible. Inventory is currently taking place and uniforms that are outstanding at the start of December with result in a charge.
We held our annual Sports Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 30 October. It was a fantastic evening to celebrate our students who have excelled in Sport at Aquinas College this year.
A very special congratulations to all of our winners, please click below to check out all of our winners and photos.
Congratulations to Jack Egan who was named the Bay of Plenty Secondary School Sportsman of the Year on Friday 22 November at the Bay of Plenty Sports Gala Dinner held in Rotorua. Jack was named as a finalist with 6 others and was a truly deserving winner. Congratulations Jack on a great year in sport. It was truly a deserved win.
If you are interested in Coaching a Sports Team in 2020, we are now taking expressions of interest for our 2020 Sports Programme.
If you would like to Coach a Sports team, please contact me via email email@example.com.
The sun was shining down on us on Wednesday 20 November providing great conditions for the Y78 Athletics Championships at the Tauranga Domain. Aquinas College had 52 representatives across all of the events. One of the biggest highlights of the day was the relays. Aquinas College took out 2nd and 3rd in the Y7 and Y8 relays and finished 2nd in the Championship Relay. Check out all the results here.
Tauranga City Basketball is hosting its Midnight Madness event on Saturday 14 December. Please see the poster below for all of the information you will require. Please take note of the dates you are able to purchase tickets.
Congratulations to Emma Wilson and Elise Oxenham who represented NZ at the Oceania Champs at the start of November. Competing against women provided the girls with some tough competition. Although there were no podium finishes, they did exceptionally well.
Elise Oxenham, Emma Wilson and Kurt Hill also represented Aquinas College at the North Island Champs in Whangarei. Elise came home with two bronzes, one in the women’s final for sports pistol, and one in the three match aggregate for women (which is the combined score for the air pistol, sports pistol and standard pistol matches). This was Kurt’s first competition away from Tauranga and he came first in his grade. Well done!
Aquinas College would like to thank TECT for their generous support of our ICT Programme. The school has been awarded a grant of $41,557.00 which has been used to purchase the following equipment:
HP Workstations x 8
Replacement PC’s for Digital Tech x 30
Monitors for PC’s for Digital Tech x 30
iPads for teaching robotics/PE/general curriculum areas x 32
Charging cabinets for iPads x 3
Sphero Kits for junior robotics classes x 2
We are very appreciative of TECT’s support to enable us to purchase this equipment.
From Our Kitchen Cookbook
Our cookbook is on its way to the printers and we are very excited to see this beautiful book come together with gorgeous recipes, stunning photography, great support from our business community and many from the AC community featuring in it.
The cookbook will be available from early December so order it now for Christmas presents or corporate gifts. Your copies will be available for collection at the school office or we can make other arrangements with you to get them to you in early December.
This high-quality and stunning 125 page cookbook is available at the following prices:
Supply your name, address, mobile and the number of books you wish to order.
A huge thank you to everyone who has helped us and supported us this year. We have raised significant funds, we have run some great events that the community has come together and enjoyed, and we have provided much support to the AC community through a range of initiatives.
We wish you a happy and joyous Christmas season and we’ll look forward to continuing our work to support the AC community in 2020. Please join us or contact us to see how you can be involved.
Next PTA Meeting: Our next meeting will be in February 2020
Like us on Facebook: Aquinas College PTA Friends
There is always a high demand for second-hand uniform, and we try to offer stock that is of a high standard. We therefore ask that when you drop off your uniform for sale please ensure it has been cleaned and in good condition.
Please note that anything deemed to be unacceptable will be discarded.
JANUARY SALE – Friday 13 December is the cut off date to drop your uniform off to school if you would like it to be included in the January uniform sale.
The second-hand uniform market day will be held on Tuesday 21st January 2020 10am-1pm in the
Administration Block foyer.
Please follow this LINK for the stationery lists for next year.
Your Physio is Marijke Sonneveld
Appointments available @ school for your injury rehab and injury prevention education
See the school office for appointment requests
Or phone 07 5779798
Twisted ankle? Out of plaster? Pulled muscle?
Sore shoulder? Injured Back?
Your first appointment is at no charge. No referral necessary
Your School Physiotherapist can help you
The 2020 term dates are below. We have worked with St. Mary’s School and St. Thomas More School to share a common start of year date.
30th – 31st January – Staff only days + 2020 Student Executive leadership camp
30th January – Course confirmation for senior students
3rd February – All Students present (College pōwhiri and Mass for new students and families)
Ends Thursday 9th April
Starts Tuesday 28 April
Ends Friday 3 July
Starts Monday 20 July
Ends Friday 25 September
Starts Monday 12 October
Ends Wednesday 9 December*
* Potentially subject to change – dependent on the allocation of staff only days.
The Aquinas College International Department is seeking new host families for 2020. Host families receive a weekly payment of $265 in return for providing students with 3 meals per day, their own room and pastoral care. For more information please email
Please be aware that some of the Ministry funded and BOPRC bus routes have been changed for 2020. Please follow this LINK for details of all the bus routes.
Please follow this LINK for Term Four’s Menu
At Aquinas College we are extremely fortunate to be able to offer the following Itinerant Music Lessons in school time.
There is no cost for the actual lessons but there will be a $15.00 charge to cover folders and music that students receive and may keep. We do have a small number of instruments available to hire. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If your son/daughter would like to take up this fantastic opportunity they can collect an enrolment form from the school office or from Mrs Cooney
Instruments available include;
Strings: Mrs Gardiner violin, viola, cello, double bass
Woodwind and Saxophone: Ms Martin, Mrs Jones flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, bass, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Brass: Mr Thomas Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, French Horn, Baritone Horn, Euphonium
Drums and Bass: Mr Barlow
Other instruments may be available upon request. Please contact email@example.com
Out of hours beginner Keyboard lessons are also available Year 7 and 8 students.
Private lessons are also available where fees are paid directly to the tutor for voice and guitar.
Guitar Sean Bodley 021 02489460 firstname.lastname@example.org
Voice Glenese Blake 027 4913386 email@example.com
Please contact the above tutors directly re lessons. Fees are paid directly to them.
2023 Enrolments are now open See More Information