ANNUAL REPORT 2017
Before reporting on things at St Andrew’s, we would like to thank all those who have supported us and the school over the past year, firstly in prayer, and second financially – paying fees for students from needy families and for some of those who have gone on to tertiary study, paying for professional development for teachers, and for school buildings and equipment.
Deputy Principal Naimila Mafi and senior teacher Liliani Havili spent two weeks in June/July on professional development leave at Naenae College in Lower Hutt, and found it very stimulating. They observed a range of classes, helped with the College’s Polynesian Festival and learned a lot about school administration. The Hornsby Trust arranged and financed their study leave with a grant from the H & W Williams Charitable Trust. We are very grateful to Nic Richards, Naenae’s deputy principal, and others who hosted the two teachers.
Support for students. Hornsby Trust support for St Andrew’s students continues. 34 students from needy families received full fees scholarships in 2017, which is a record number. Three school-leavers are being supported through a grant from the David Ellison Charitable Trust and are all doing well. Two are doing trade training at the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology, and one is completing the two-year music programme at Tupou Technical Institute. We are grateful to the Ellison Trust for their support, which continues into 2018.
The Brass Band. Shortly after we arrived in Tonga this year, the Inter-Schools Brass Band Festival was held, and the St Andrew’s Band under Kaveinga Vaka (pictured) distinguished itself by winning four Gold Medals in Grade 2, and being promoted into Grade 1. As it was only the third year they had entered the Festival, this was a great feat and we congratulate all concerned. We are delighted that Kaveinga himself has been awarded a scholarship to study in England, and will be there for part of next year. We acknowledge again all the help given to Kaveinga during his year spent at Onslow College, Wellington. The band played at the consecration of the new Bishop of Tonga, and won great praise for its contribution.
A second small group of volunteers arrived from New Zealand on August 10th. For Eddy and Sarah van Leeuwen of the Christchurch Reformed Church it was their fourth working visit to St Andrew’s, and this year they brought with them another couple, Josiah, a builder and Zipporah, a marine biologist, who worked together very effectively on the major building project, replacing the large picket fence around the school’s front garden. Zipporah also made use of her marine biology background to give a lesson on the octopus to senior students. John Hewitson, our electrician, also made his fourth visit to the school, and was tasked with carrying on the work that the late Robert Gilmour and he had done over the last five years. He made good progress with a long list of electrical maintenance jobs.
Student involvement with volunteers. A very positive factor in last August’s volunteer projects was the inclusion of six of the school’s technical students in the workforce. Four students were attached as ‘apprentices’ to the builders (above 1), and were able to learn carpentry skills from builder Josiah. Two students were attached as ‘apprentices’ to electrician John Hewitson (above) and were able to learn electrical skills and theory from him (above 2). Most of these students made very good progress during the short time they were involved.
Maintenance work completed by volunteers
1. A new picket fence was built around the large front garden at school. Four technical students
were involved in the building project, learning valuable skills from builder Josiah
2. The old picket fence round the smaller garden was repaired and repainted
3. A garden archway was welded together to stand in front of the principal’s office
4. Thank-you letters were written by scholarship students to sponsors, and photos were taken
5. Over 250 books, donated by King’s College, were sorted and put into the library
6. Sarah van Leeuwen helped younger students with their reading, using a book specially
written by Penny Porritt, one of last year’s volunteers (see photo below)
7. New switchboards were installed in the school flat, home economics store room and Lab B store-room. Two technical students were involved in all electrical work, learning valuable skills from electrician John
8. A new earth was installed for the school flat switchboard
9. Faulty wiring was removed and replaced in the home economics store room
10. A serious electrical fault was investigated in the lab block, found and fixed
11. Tree branches were removed where they were damaging the main overhead power supply to the school behind the hall
12. Large rocks were cleared out of the drainage sump
13. Two new toilets were installed in the girls’ block (funded by last year’s grant from the David
Ellison Charitable Trust
14. Two toilet cisterns were repaired in student blocks
15. Two new batteries were bought and fitted to school truck
Our education consultant, Dr Kay Hawk (right, with school secretary Melenaite) continued her valuable work at the school in 2017, with a week spent there in late January, and another in September. St Andrew’s is the envy of other Tongan schools in having her depth of educational expertise at its service. In July, Cameron Pickering, a teacher from St Andrew’s College in Christchurch, spent two valuable weeks at St Andrew’s Nuku’alofa helping teachers prepare for the new teacher registration process which is being introduced soon by the government.
The school grounds are being kept in good order by deputy principal Naimila Mafi. One staff member has been deputed to cope with rubbish, and the grounds are noticeably cleaner. Naimila has also taken charge of the timetable, and the daily schedule is now operating much more smoothly. When Siokatame returns from advanced study at USP, he and Naimila will be joint DPs, with Siokatame handling all assessment.
Finance. The school’s very tight budget has been impacted by a major cut in the grant received from the Diocese of Polynesia. As with most mission schools in Tonga, St Andrew’s has few possible ways of increasing its income, and expenditure is pared back to survival level. A number of families each year are unable through poverty to pay the school fees. Some are helped by Hornsby Trust fees scholarships, but no student is excluded from the school for non-payment of fees. The school has in effect committed to provide free education for students from needy families. Ex-students contribute generously when asked, but incomes are low in Tonga, and much reliance is placed on ex-students living and working overseas. The news below concerning government support is encouraging, but it will still leave the school critically short of resources, by any reasonable standard.
The political situation. In an unprecedented move, the King dissolved parliament in August, and called an early election. This occurred in October, but only returned Tonga to the status quo. For most of last year the mission (church) schools have been asking the government to take over payment of all their teachers’ salaries. At the same time it was hoped they would raise these salaries to the level of state school salaries, which are currently four times as high as mission school salaries. It is good to report that there is agreement on at least the first part of this, and the government will take over payment of mission school teachers’ salaries later in 2018. The level of those salaries is not yet known. This will be a help to St Andrew’s, after the recent cut to their grant from the Diocese of Polynesia.
Trustees. Brent Bruce, our Treasurer since the Trust began, has retired, and his place has been taken by Dennis Blank, a chartered accountant from Waikanae, who was at school under Reg Hornsby.
We have a fifth trustee now – Dr. Jonathan Austin, who is currently NZ High Commissioner in Singapore. Jonathan has a personal connection to Reg and Mary Hornsby, was a strong supporter of our work during his time as High Commissioner in Tonga, and is married to Salote, who is Tongan. We thank Brent for his service as Treasurer, and Dennis and Jonathan for their willingness to help.
We thank all of you, friends, sponsors and volunteers, the H & W Williams Trust, and the David Ellison Charitable Trust, who make the Hornsby Trust’s work possible, in helping to improve the education given to Tongan young people. Progress is being made, and lives are being enriched and changed through your help.
Simon and Rachel Tipping
Hornsby Pacific Education Trust
A copy of the Trust’s Annual Accounts is available on request.