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2018 Parent and Student Survey

Highlights from the 2018 Parent and Student Surveys - to download click HERE


In mid 2018, students, parents and staff had the opportunity to respond to a survey asking three things: what was wanted in a new Principal; what to maintain (keep) at Onslow College, and what was wanted for the future.

407 responses were received: 167 students; 198 parents; and 42 staff. The themes identified through the survey responses were then used to help refine the criteria for short-listing candidates as part of the Principal recruitment process.

Here is a summary of what the survey found in respect of what student and parent respondents wanted maintained, and what was wanted for the future.

In a Nutshell…

The friendly, inclusive culture, and respectful staff – student relationships were an often mentioned ‘Keep,’ by both students and parents, along with the quality of the sports programme, the many extra-curricular opportunities, and the variety and quality of the academic programme. The hard working and enthusiastic teachers were also a ‘Keep’ mentioned by students and parents.

On the sheer number of mentions, the ‘no uniform’ policy stood out as an emphatic “Keep!” by the students – with quite a big group of parents also in support of no uniform.

The need for upgrades to the school buildings, grounds and facilities was the most often mentioned wish for the future from parents and students.

Some of the students’ “Keeps”

The accepting culture

The feeling of community

Liberty for us to make a change

Anyone being able to make a club

Out of curricular opportunities for students

Wide variety of sports and clubs

Sports, Pride in our college sports

Kind but hard working teachers

The welcoming atmosphere within the students and staff

Culture - no uniforms, inclusive, self driven learning style

The way diversity is valued

Some of the parents’ “Keeps”

The culture of tolerance

The sense of belonging, part of a family

The way the kids love the place

The teachers who really care about student achievement and student welfare

Two way respect between teachers and students

Equal emphasis on culture, academic, sport and community life

Encouragement of sports

Valuing young people’s choice

Challenging students to be their best selves

And for the future?

Upgrading and expanding the buildings, facilities and grounds was the stand out request from both parents and students. Here’s some of what was said:

From the students…

Clean up and refurbish the bathrooms and changing rooms

Better classrooms and heating systems

More music rooms

New hockey turf

Cricket/sports pavilion on the top field. And also improved accessibility to the top field

A whole new study area where students can study and do work during a free spells, that's nice and clean as well as environmentally friendly. Also a Prayer room for the Muslim students here at Onslow

More indoor lunchtime seating.

And from the Parents

Upgrade the front fascade of building, the gym and entrance to the school

Better sports facilities i.e. a gym that doesn't leak, repairs or replacement of the Recreation Centre

Get rid of those prefabs and hassle the Ministry to provide classrooms that are fit for purpose

Better drainage of the Farnborough fields. Utilise the area where the old tennis courts were

Move Maori learning area to where it is more central in the school.

Other things for the future

Beyond the matter of improving the buildings and facilities, the pattern of what was wanted for the future was less clear.

A theme apparent among some parent respondents was ensuring teachers were supported to gain the skills and knowledge to better cater to diverse learning needs, styles and abilities. There were varied ideas and suggestions given in respect of the curriculum, teaching and learning. Some mentioned a desire to see learning focused on what’s needed in the world of work, and some others wanted a focus on life skills and wellbeing. Some wanted to see more flexibility in subject choice.

Some parents and a few students also wanted to see improved feedback and communication between themselves and teachers. Some students and a few parents wanted Ako time removed or improved, and opportunities provided to give feedback on their teachers.

Some students and parents wanted to see academic and cultural achievements better recognised. Some parents and students wanted greater focus on cultural awareness and Te Reo Māori.

From the students

I would like to see developments in terms of extending students, not just in maths or science but also in areas such as languages or music

I think work should be more practical

Do more to promote Maori culture and kapa haka

More opportunities for bilingual students and more cultural things around school for people from all ethnicities, also include more Maori in classes and around the school.

Teacher reviews - Ensuring students are learning everything they need to know from their teachers.

Study should be more focused on the individual and their passions, and the school should be more flexible in providing opportunities and subjects that the students can thrive from. Extra curricular activities, such as dance, sports, drama, music, and anything in between, should offer credits if the credit system is to continue

The school needs to do more to help students with mental health issues. Raising awareness, providing better care facilities and allowing for flexibility within the school system for students.

Less screens, we should spend more time off screen. It can sometimes have effects on health and stuff

I would like to see device based learning be developed, especially in the seniors.

More education about same-sex relationships in relationships and sexuality units in Health. Specifically, sex education for LGBT people.

More flexibility in teacher choice; stricter lessons which are under better control for optimal learning; more awareness of how to treat people kindly.

More functional Ako classes with planned, useful topics; ask students what they would like to learn, perhaps more life lessons/inspiration/how to cope in everyday situations.

From the parents

Supporting kids develop the skills they will need to hold several jobs in their lifetime i.e. planning for a life of change NOT a career

Preparing our young adults for the real world, prepare them for work, for study, for coping as young adults when the training wheels come off

Exposure to meaningful tertiary (not just university) and work experience for all learners, starting in Year 10.

More presence of Te Reo Maori and sign language across the school to keep up with Wellington's development of this.

Change the curriculum to include more subjects about building human relationships (EQ, Psychology, Sociology)

Enhance celebrations of student success, not just the end of year event but the everyday accolades - mention names on the website, in assemblies, identify the scholarship achievers, how many got Excellence endorsements for NCEA, maintain sports achievement pages on website, keep tabs on ex-student achievements etc

Perhaps a more organised academic / culture awards nights? (The sports one is very good).

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