Plan to make education of boys 'holistic'

New John McGlashan College principal Neil Garry wants to create 'a level playing field' at the school. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
New John McGlashan College principal Neil Garry wants to create 'a level playing field' at the school. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Neil Garry is not wasting any time in laying out plans to bring his visions for John McGlashan College to fruition, now that he is officially in the hot seat.

The 54-year-old was appointed principal of the integrated boys' school in October last year, but was coy about his plans until yesterday.

He said he was honoured to be the 11th principal of the college, and was looking forward to building on the good work done by former principal Mike Corkery and ''giving some fresh perspectives and serving the McGlashan community''.

One of his first initiatives was to create what he called ''a level playing field'', where every boy was able to maximise his opportunities and reach his potential by overcoming weaknesses and capitalising on his strengths.

''We want a McGlashan education to be holistic; to develop a boy's character so that when he leaves school we've helped him mature, taught him to respect others and given him a bigger picture of the world.''

Mr Garry said this year would be the first year where every pupil would have their own laptop or iPad.

Many of the boys were incredibly IT savvy, so the college needed to take advantage of their ''skill and fearlessness'', he said.

''Challenges still exist in blending the use of e-learning within the curriculum, but McGlashan has been a leader in this area and we will continue to support the staff in their professional development.''

The college is fortunate to have the Edgar Learning Centre and the Davies Sports Centre, and Mr Garry said he would like to add a performing arts centre to the college's state-of-the-art facilities.

It would create a new cultural hub for the school, and early this term a group of staff would form a cultural committee to develop and advance the opportunities in areas such as music, drama and pipe band, he said.

There are also plans to upgrade and modernise the college's junior boarding house, to bring it up to the same standard as the senior boarding house.

In terms of the overall culture of the school, while it was based on strong moral values, he intended to maintain and further develop the culture in the best interests of the boys, Mr Garry said.

''I subscribe to a model of leadership where the workplace culture is largely autonomous; one where staff have a shared passion and vision for their work and are trusted to get on with their job in a professional manner.

''I have no time for posers. In teaching, as in life, I think you have to believe in what you're doing, trust your instincts and maintain your integrity.

''My focus has always been on doing what's right for the boys.

''Just as in a family, if the adults model good behaviour, then other things will fall into place.''

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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