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The Influencers: Scott Thelning


Principal Cathedral Grammar

In challenging times it is often the things that bring us a sense of comfort, stability and normality that we fall back to support and guide us through the ups and downs.

For me it was getting back into my early morning gym routine, on my bike in the Port Hills, and supporting my kids on the sidelines on Saturday mornings. Structure, routine and enjoyment – it all feels normal and a part of daily/weekly life.

As a school, it was critically important after lockdown that we returned back to our site with all of our students and staff in order to provide this sense of normality, routine, structure and connectedness.

We had supported our school community very well with a strong remote learning programme, and it was vital we then settled everyone back into school and work in a manner that met the requirements of the Ministries of Health and Education, but resembled school as ‘normal’ as much as possible.

We chose to adopt a simple, safe and sensible approach and not twist ourselves in knots creating unnecessary processes, systems and compliance headaches that would in turn create an unrecognisable environment for our students and staff.

Structure, routine, normality.

Conversely, through these challenging times we are being encouraged to innovate, adapt and evolve so as to meet the new demands of our communities and customers.

The Cathedral Grammar School and Christ Church Cathedral have recently broken the glass ceiling on a 139 year old tradition and introduced girl choristers.

Equality in action and creating a new normality.


 

The Influencers: Scott Thelning


 

Principal Cathedral Grammar

Foresight and fortitude – sowing the seeds of hard work and reaping the fruits of success.

COVID-19 has created, once again, challenging times for our city, and this brings with it a mix of emotions.

For me, I am grateful for the foresight held by a team of governors whom some years ago set the pathway forward for our school to evolve, adapt and embrace a way of thinking that would prepare our students and staff for an ever changing world.

Through this transition period as a school, there were, as there inevitably will be, challengers and challenges to this way of thinking.

I am thankful for the fortitude of our staff for staying to the course and ensuring what is best for students, their learning, and their future was at the heart of the matter.

When the lockdown was announced, our team was ready and delivered superbly in a time of need.

The vision and strategy developed, coupled with a great team of skilled, open minded and solution focussed teachers, enabled our school to respond quickly and create and deliver a high quality and structured remote learning programme for our community.

It is through these difficult times, that as organisations our business models and cultures are truly tested.

All aspects are placed under the spotlight as we grapple with the financial and employment implications, together with the wellbeing of our people and the ability to adapt and innovate.

Success comes in many forms. For us, foresight, fortitude and agility have been key.