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LEARNING


COLLEGE ACADEMIES TAKE STUDENTS TO THE NEXT LEVEL


Seven thirty in the morning is a time when you would expect many teenagers to be ignoring the alarm clock in favour of a little more sleep. However, check out the gates of Avondale College at this time, and five mornings a fortnight you will see some special Year 9 students making their way to the music and drama rooms, dance studio and sports fields, ready for their first lesson of the day. Avondale College’s Sports Academy is currently in its third year of operation, and already the impact of the High Performance training given to students in Years 9 and 10 can be seen in the performances of teams and individuals. Operating in six codes, (basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball


and rugby) students are led by highly qualified and experienced elite coaches who focus on developing basic skills, acquiring more advanced skills and improving game understanding. At Year 10 level, the Sports Academy is timetabled during the day


through Physical Education, with a mixture of sports related theory, practical application and coaching in the Sports Academy codes. Avondale College has long held a reputation for excellence in the performing arts, with outstanding facilities including a 750 seat theatre, practice rooms and a professional recording studio. This year has seen the arts faculty going from strength to strength with the introduction of the Performing Arts Academy. Operating in four strands, Drama, Dance, Music (Jazz) and Music (Classical), students are given the opportunity to develop their talents in a rich environment resourced with specialist teachers and purpose built facilities.


So are those early mornings worth it? Year 10 footballer, Katherine,


thinks they are: “The Sports Academy has taught me that to reach my dreams I have to set high standards.” Auditions and trials for the 2012 intake to both Academies will be held in November 2011. To find out more, visit: www.avcol.school.nz.


DEVELOPING THE ART OF SCIENCE IN PRIMARY MINDS


Perseverance, teamwork and co-operation are adjectives often associated with sports teams. However at ACG Sunderland these words form the values underpinning the primary school’s science and technology programme. And the school loves to share this engaging approach, especially


with their BP Challenge competition. Developed by ACG Sunderland science teacher, Leanne Chartrand, the Regional competition is in its fourth year for West Auckland and has become a fine-tuned operation hosting over 25 participating schools. Each team is given a known challenge, which they work on before the day, and at the event they are given an unknown challenge. “The sense of competition between the schools is intense and it


really spurs the students to put their best foot forward. The creative solutions the students come up with can be breath-taking. At this age they don’t have such strong boundaries on their creativity,” says Leanne Chartrand. For example, one interesting problem was to design and make a free-standing flagpole which can support a flag as high as possible. The only resources given are 32 full sheets of newspaper, one roll of tape, 6m string, a flag and a pair of scissors. Each team is given 20 minutes. A really good solution to this was to roll the paper up extremely tight


and then slot them all into each other. Then put tightly rolled up paper at the bottom, secured with tape and string to allow the flagpole to be free-standing. Kent Favel, Primary Principal, ACG Sunderland says capturing


children’s imagination is crucial to becoming successful in science. “It’s not just about following instructions to successfully complete an experiment, but about seeing the big picture and taking creative approaches to solving problems” he says. The strength of ACG Sunderland’s science programme is also in


High performance trainees at Avondale College.


its breadth. Not only is the curriculum thoroughly ticked off, but it’s the outside opportunities that are stretching the students’ abilities and imagination. This year the primary school has two teams entered


22 TITIRANGI TATLER AUGUST 2011


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Education in the West A Titirangi Tatler Special Feature


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