School days

Teacher Andrew Kingston talks to a group of students
Teacher Andrew Kingston talks to a group of students

The intermediate school at the centre of Northcote Development is getting ready to welcome more whānau as the neighbourhood grows.

Northcote Intermediate School is all go as it gears up for growth in the community. Principal Phil Muir has a list of “active property projects”, which will eventually see the 70-year-old school rebuilt to cater for future demand.

“We’re breathing life into it, giving the old school new life for the future,” Phil says. The school’s transformation will happen in stages as it increases from 460 year 7 and 8 students to a forecasted roll of 800-1000. Come winter, work will start on the first of three two-storey, open-space learning blocks, designed by architecture firm Pacific Environments. Other upcoming projects include a “sports cloud” shelter, similar to the one at Westlake Girls’ High School, as well as fitness trails, a library upgrade and additional toilets.

Drainage, new lighting and paths have already been completed. The front of the school sports a new fale Pasifika, as well as new bike and scooter racks.

Students and staff have been involved in planning what’s to come. “Where we can get them involved, we do,” Phil says. “For them it’s about feeling good about the spaces they’re in.”

New pou
Five newly installed pou now take pride of place outside the school office. Representing Northcote Intermediate’s school houses, the pou are made up of individual ceramic cylinders, stacked on upcycled steel poles and held in place with expandable foam. Students researched their pepeha and came up with designs to represent themselves with the guidance of artist and teacher, Craig Ellis.

Game on
Late last year Northcote Intermediate hosted one of the country’s first intermediate school-level Esports Zone Days. More than 100 students and teachers from nine local intermediate schools took part.

The day was a huge success. Organiser and Northcote Intermediate teacher Conor McHoull says esports has a bright future. He wrote about the day for Interface magazine; “Technology is changing, and tomorrow’s jobs are changing. We want to make our students have the skills and knowledge to follow their passions, to go on and leave their mark on the world.”

Town centre solutions
Northcote Intermediate students have had the chance to think big about what’s local. Recently a group of about 80 children participated in an ‘ideas project’ for Auckland Council.

Teacher Andrew Kingston explains the students were tasked with coming up with suggestions on what they would like to see in a community hub building when the new town centre gets redeveloped. To do this, they visited Northcote town centre and were encouraged to think about ideas that would make a hub successful and enjoyed by the community now and in the future.

Children then developed their ideas into presentations, along with a typed letter from each student, for staff from Auckland Council, Panuku, and Kāinga Ora.

The presentations were all different – for example, Phillip chose to do a mind map, keen TikTok fans Eva and Zoe made a video, while Sofie, Emma and Liane chose to do a PowerPoint, as did Moses and Sebastian. Keen writer Reon compiled his ideas in his letter. For Reon, a big priority for the community is to support people and help them learn and strive in life. “There are many ways we can do this. This is crucial if you want our community to come together and support people in need,” Reon wrote as part of his letter.

Their ideas and the feedback from the public gathered from the recent Community Services Survey will help inform the design of the new community hub building and spaces in the new town centre. Students and the public will have an opportunity to provide more feedback during the design process.

Kimberly, a Service and Asset Planning Specialist at Auckland Council, says there were lots of good ideas, which will be considered further in the development of the community hub and town centre. “We were absolutely blown away at the calibre of the presentations and the level of thoughtful consideration that went into them,” she says.

“The students’ ideas showed strong themes around what is important to young people and our city, including belonging and participation, providing a safe space for all intergenerational activity and things to help people connect,” says Roxie, Placemaker at Panuku Development Auckland.

You can read more about what is happening in Northcote in the latest issue of Everyday Northcote here