Lynfield College celebrated its 50th
Jubilee in 2008. Since 1958 the college has grown from being a small new school with few classrooms, muddy fields and 93 foundation students into a large multicultural urban college with physical facilities and technological resources appropriate for 21st
century teaching and learning.
|In Maori times the Lynfield College local area had been part of the trading route between the Waikato and Tamaki Makaurau. When the first European missionaries explored they described it as deserted, desolate and scrub covered. Later the area, on the crucial Maori route north, became a frontier post with a defensive “BlockHouse” giving its name to the area.
Agricultural activities followed and by mid-20th century the land on which Lynfield College stands was planted in strawberries.(The photo is an early image of strawberries being picked on what was to become Lynfield College). However the growth of Auckland meant that more houses were being built on the once outlying agricultural zone.
With population growth and pressure on existing secondary schools, the Department of Education in June 1957 requested a public meeting to consider the establishment of a Roskill South High School. At a meeting in October the Foundation principal D. H. Thurston was introduced to the parents and the new name of Lynfield College chosen. The name came from a neighbouring farm on the opposite side of the road from the main entrance.
The new school adopted the motto DISCE VIVERE (Learn to Live) and a school crest with a plough, (preparation), open book (knowledge) and the Southern Cross (faith, confidence and endeavours).
The Growth of Lynfield College - the first 25 years
On the 3rd of February 1958, 93 students, two of them barefooted, assembled in front of the newly built D block. Around them was a sea of clay, about to become thick yellow mud with the first winter rains. Students and teachers had to cross ditches on planked bridges and scale slippery clay slopes and lessons had a backdrop of bulldozers, concrete mixers and circular saws.
The Ministry of Works topped hills and pushed them into gullies to create the terraced grounds, and more classrooms were completed for the following year when the roll leapt to 425 pupils.
When the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon C F Skinner, officially opened the school on 7 November 1959 the main Administrative block and hall were complete. The 20 acre site now had three football fields in grass and 8 sealed tennis courts. With the planting of 200 flowering scrubs for the official opening, the raw sea of yellow mud had become grass and garden.
As student numbers grew, sometimes very rapidly, so did the need for more classrooms. The physical changes to the structure of the school also reflected the changing curriculum needs of the student population and the requirements of the community.
The first twenty –five years saw a rapid growth in student numbers. The College grew from a roll of 95 in 1958 to the second biggest school in Auckland, with 1500 students in 1977.
Almost 8,500 students passed through Lynfield College in this period, in most part succeeding in the public examinations. Traditions of academic excellence were established which have continued throughout the history of the school. Extra-curricular opportunities in sporting and cultural fields were encouraged and strong student participation demonstrated how committed the college was to its motto "Learn to Live".
The second twenty-five years – The Computer Age
The school’s second twenty-five years saw big changes in education. Computers became a necessary component, new programmes to bridge the gap between school and work were developed, changing demographics in the community created a need for English as a second language courses to adults as well as students and traditional subjects such as Homecraft, Woodwork and Technical Drawing were re-invented as Technology. In addition, the school expanded its educational horizons to include international education. These changing needs required new physical buildings or major modifications to existing buildings.
In 1987-8, in response to community needs, a Childcare centre was opened and the Cultural Centre built. The centre caters for all cultural groups, becoming a major resource for a multi-cultural environment.
||The demand for more computers proved to be insatiable and led to the Library being adapted in 1995-6 to become a media and information centre. With a new gymnasium and drama suite, and re-organisation of learning areas along faculty lines Lynfield College was ready for the new century.
By 2002 with a roll of 1715 the school required further changes to its buildings and resources: the lower playing field gained an astroturf surface, and a sophisticated Technology block was opened.
The extra-curricular life of Lynfield College had continued to expand. Participation in both sporting and cultural activities was encouraged and celebrated, with senior leadership positions of Sports Captains and Arts and Cultural Captains introduced.
With more than 50 nationalities represented in the student community the diversity of cultural experience provided opportunities for the invaluable sharing of heritage. Cultural Week in Term 1 became a key calendar event to showcase the college's multicultural richness. The student ethnic groups continue to come together with the local community to share food and colourful stage performances.
In 2017, the Lynfield College roll is almost 1900, with each year bringing the same level of competition for out of zone places.
Academic Captains and an Academic Council keep the school's focus on learning and academic achievement in high profile. The percentage of students leaving with formal qualifications is high, and the retention rate of Year 9's through to Year 13 is one of the highest in the country. NCEA success rates are consistently above the national average and often better than those in Decile 10 schools.
During the 1970s and 1980s the College hosted Columbo plan students. In 1989 a change in legislation allowed foreign fee paying students to enrol in New Zealand schools. Lynfield College became a pioneer in international education attracting increasing numbers of foreign students on Student Visas wanting to receive education in the New Zealand schooling system. By 2003 there were 116 such students enrolled, and since then there has been an average of 100 international students enrolled per year.
With an international department providing students with pastoral care and school based educational experiences, Lynfield became a model of good practice for other schools and external agencies around the country.
Despite the changes that have taken place, the college today still encompasses many of the elements of the original 1958 school. With just five principals over 60 years, continuity has been a key factor. Ms Cath Knell, the current principal, was appointed in 2017.
Lynfield College is fortunate to have many talented staff, many of whom have worked here for most of their careers. Of the current staff, at least ten have been at Lynfield for more than 20 years. Such continuity is largely due to a shared collegiality, respect and pride in the school, and is also indicative of strong and visionary leadership.
Some things disappear only to be revived again. Houses
were re-introduced in 2003, adding excitement and colour to sports competition. The six houses were named for former students who had excelled as New Zealand representatives in the sporting field: Lewis (Chris Lewis, tennis); Fatialofa (Rita Fatialofa, netball); Faumuina (Beatrice Faumuina, New Zealand and World discus champion); Bray (Trent Bray, swimming); Reid (John Reid, cricket) and Zoricich (Chris Zoricich, soccer).
Community and School
Lynfield College has enjoyed strong support from the community throughout its history. The College’s early success was demonstrated when a new local housing estate being developed in the area from 1961-71, took its name from the College.
Parent representatives on the Board of Trustees have provided an integral link with the community. The positive relationship between the Board and the management of the College has been an important factor in the success of the school.
Throughout its sixty year history the motto of Disce Vivere
(Learn to Live), has been iconic for the school. The Board of Trustees, staff and students have been inspired by these words, and have worked to make Lynfield College a safe and rewarding learning environment where students are encouraged to towards excellence in academic, sporting and cultural fields in preparation for their future.