Newsletter #1 2023 / Pānui #1 2023

Welcome back team! Nei te mihi ki a koutou katoa!

We hope you had a great Christmas and a bit of a break over the summer. It has been great seeing all the smiling faces back last week. We aim for newsletters to come out each fortnight so keep an eye on the app or website for this. It will usually be the Friday, however, we are and will be down three staff members with covid for most of this week to come so it has been and will be a very busy time as we cope with that. Shelley is one of them, so I am a bit busier than usual if you are wondering why you have not seen me or if I delegate things sent my way. Also, hence the newsletter being done on a Sunday. 

Please, although for some, covid is a thing of the past, we are already struggling with staff away. Please, if you suspect your child is unwell, please test. We have spare tests if needed. It is without saying that we are keeping windows open, have air purifiers on and doors open and continue to ensure students who are unwell come to the office.

This newsletter is a beast, but I suggest reading it in detail as you will really be on top of things at the end!

PUM (Paid Union Meeting)
Please note school will shut at the time of 12.30pm Thursday 2 March due to an NZEI meeting for all teachers in Christchurch. As all of our teachers are NZEI members, it is unsafe to stay open with just Shelley and myself available.

-We are currently speaking with Kidsbase to see if they will open early for those that need it. If this is not possible, we will look at supervision in the library for those that cannot sort other arrangements.
We apologise for this inconvenience. Feel free to pop to:

This covers what the primary school teachers are fighting for. Note: teachers, principals, and support staff are all different unions or sections of unions. 

Skool Loop
This is a must have app. If there was an emergency or lockdown etc., you would be informed via this app. We limit notices to really important things and reminders so you do not get 10 a day. You can send your absentees through it so you do not need to call the office, the school phone number is on it, links to our Facebook pages, links to website etc., you can check the calendar daily or whenever (note: this function has been not working properly but I contacted them and is working now) and read our newsletter on it (or on our website). Booking Parent Teacher Interviews will come on here too when this happens. We suggest as many family members as are interested have it.

New Staff and Students
We welcome our new students and new staff. Mr Hamish Drummond leads Room 5, Miss Ateliana Tiatia leads Room 2 and we welcome back Rebekah Bradbrook after a six month break as a support staff member.

Building (Affects Rooms 1,2,7,8 and events)
It has been busy at school over the break as our builders worked through the break to help us limit the time we are squashed into existing rooms. The two new rooms, in which Room 7 and Room 8 will move into, are on track to be completed in 4.5 weeks (who’s counting ha ha). Room 7 and 8 are currently sharing the Mission Centre. We thank them for their patience, as we are aware that there is not much space for bags and a long walk to the toilet (the new rooms have all of these).

Once they move in, the builders will move back to Rooms 1 and 2 to complete the work there. Still coming for these rooms are glass sliding dividing doors, new carpet, new autex on the walls, new toilets, and new places to put bags. Room 1 and Room 2 will move over to the Mission Centre as we are keen to get the work done as soon as possible to free up our basketball court, walkways and to get more toilets for our children. This should then be around two weeks to complete.

We have changed toilets to ensure we can cope for 4.5 more weeks. Both sets of toilets between my office and Room 5 are for boys now. The toilets between Room 3 and Room 4 are for girls. Green for Girls, Blue for Boys. All new junior and senior individual toilets coming are unisex.

Illness Update
Thank you for the comments and prayers for my father. He became quite unwell in November and we eventually discovered he has cancer in December. He is our usual caretaker / Mr Fix It. He painted the whole school inside and out (it was two tone green prior), painted seats, painted all the games on the ground, put together most tables, weeds etc etc. He is struggling but begins radiation this week. I suppose one of the biggest things I have learned from this is that people can have so much going on behind the scenes that we are unaware of. We have a few other staff members with similar going on and do not doubt, many families with different hardships happening. All we can say is, let us be quick to help, quick to forgive and quick to care, like St Anne.

From the DRS (Mrs Fleming)
Ngā mihi o te tau hau! I hope that you all are feeling well rested after our longer Summer break.

After so long of working around Covid restrictions, we are looking forward to welcoming parents and whānau back into school for our special character events. We will be resuming fortnightly prayer assemblies, Wednesday class masses and each term, two classes will help to run one Sunday Mass. Keep an eye out in the newsletter for when your child’s Mass or prayer assembly is coming up and feel free to come along! Prayer assemblies will be held outdoors this term so a message will be sent out via school loop if an assembly has to be postponed due to the weather.

Our first whole school event will be our Ash Wednesday Mass. We will be joining with the St Anne’s Parish at 9.15am on the 22nd of February to celebrate the start of our Lenten journey. All are welcome to join us on this day.

Please note: we will still be safety conscious with ventilation for any of these events, hence why we are outdoor this term.
Ngā mihi
Clara Fleming

Thanks for the feedback. We had some saying, “Soooo easy”, “awesome”, some, “too expensive”, and some “too hard”. We will review before the end of this year. Regarding cost, we compared and the cost was very close to others, if anything cheaper, the products cheaper at other shops were of very budget quality. There was also the option of not ordering online and getting yourselves if you had the time. Sorry if that was not clear in the Christmas Newsletter, like I said above, it was a busy end to the year for many.

At St Anne’s, unlike many schools, we are fees free at present. The only thing charged for is camp in year 7 and 8, in which we ask for $100. The cost is closer to $400 so we pay the majority.

We cover all trips, interschool sports, swimming lessons, any learning outside of the classroom, chromebooks, ipads, (chromebook and ipad fixing / replacing from students dropping etc.) jackets and we do not ask for donations. After school sports like basketball and touch, we ask for around $20 when actual is closer to $60. We also provide free uniforms and a lunchbox to students starting school to help make finance less of a burden. In comparison, my son’s last primary school was around $1000 a year with all fees and camps taken into account and a chromebook was needed in seniors/ipad in juniors (not including parish fees). 

Parish fees
These are paid once a term to the parish. It is the same at any Catholic school in the diocese. I suggest direct credit weekly to make it easier. The cost is around $100 per term. In comparison, Australia charges around $10,000 per year to attend a Catholic school.

Bilingual rooms
We are excited that all classes are learning through two languages daily. It can be a hard way to learn at the start but through experience, speeds up actual use of the language. Last year Room 5 and 6 (this year’s year 5,6,7 students) did this all year and you can see the difference already. Although it seems strange, the younger students adapt and learn so much quicker. Rooms 1 and 2 are flying already.  It will probably be most challenging for our Year 8 students as they have not experienced it yet and are a bit older. Remind them it will get easier, and learning is hard, if it isn’t, you probably aren’t learning. It may take a term to really start flying for them but is much like an exponential line, it feels like no traction is happening, then you take off. I remember doing immersion Māori for ten weeks, no English allowed 8.30am-3pm. I had a headache for a month but it was the best thing I have done for my language development.  

Māori will be the language of instruction and use for around 1 hour straight a day for all classes. We do this outside the time we do English reading and writing, mathematics and other topics where the context would be lost. In this hour, students will learn, Māori language, sports, dance, drama etc. where there is less of a demand for ‘low frequency or subject specific words’. 

We know you will be excited by the doors this will open for your child being able to speak 2,3 or more languages (many of our students can speak more than one language already). 

I’m sure you are aware of the benefits on the brain, socially, and even career based. 

Over the years we have regularly had students come to St Anne’s with no or very little English, they have this experience from 9am to 3pm, compared to our students for an hour or so. A year later they are conversing in a basic form, 2-3 years they understand most things, interacting at all times but are still building vocabulary, 5-6 years later they are fluent in English as well as their first language and often achieving higher than our monolingual students in English. It is far easier to understand a language, when you understand languages!
Immersion Time – Mrs Fleming led
Immersion Time – Mrs Fleming led
Immersion Time – Mr Halkett led

Reminder, we are waste free. Please do not send things in wrappers. We are seeing a lot of ‘chip packets’. A reminder, the rubbish often blows out of lunchboxes or is dropped, and food in wrappers are often the unhealthy ones! Thanks heaps people!!!

Youth Group
This is for our year 7 and 8 students. A great time to hang out with friends, make new friends, get involved with games, drama, and faith. At the moment it is every Friday 4.30pm-6pm. If your child attends, please discuss with them your standards of behaviour. I was fixing problems with the alarm on Friday during Youth Group and noticed some students who could be quicker to listen and more respectful of leaders. It is a privilege to attend, not a right.

Camp – Nā Dean Isherwood
Excitement is escalating as our departure date for our Year 7 and 8 school camp looms. Students will be staying at Living Springs on Banks Peninsula from Monday the 27th of February to Wednesday the 1st of March. The programme is very exciting and will be run by the outdoor education providers at Living Springs. The students will be fully involved in all activities.

Your son or daughter has a copy of the gear list so there is plenty of time to get the appropriate gear ready. Please note that all activities will go ahead, rain or shine, so it is essential that the student has the correct gear for all weather conditions. See me if anything is lost.

A reminder, we ask that a contribution of $100 per child be made towards this fabulous outdoor educational experience. This goes towards bus transport, accommodation, food, and activities. This cost is heavily subsidised by the school. Payment can be made with our school’s Office Manager, Shelley Nicholson, or via the internet to the bank account number 03-1599-0030146-000  Ref: ‘child’s name’. You could also start now to pay this amount off in installments to make payment easier.
Note: We do not have eftpos at the office due to the lack of payments we take.

Ngā mihi
Dean Isherwood

This is held every Thursday for Years 7 and 8. Please be at school at 8.30am for this. If you miss the bus, please sign in and go to Room 7 for the morning with Mrs Fleming.

Current Policy Reviews
If you are interested, head to our website, go to Policies/Kā Kaupapa Here, follow the link and sign in. Click on current reviews. Read through the policy and give your feedback.

Homework / Mahi Kāika / Learning App Access
This is all coming soon! Teachers will be in touch regarding homework specific to their class and what they expect. 

How rooms are formed
I thought this time was appropriate to let you know how classes are formed for a coming year. As teachers cater for a wide range of achievement levels, classes are grouped in a more ‘age’ based way in the majority of schools in New Zealand. For example, we would not put an extremely bright 5 year old with the year 8 students in Room 8 even if they were achieving there, as socially, it would not work. We would extend them in their own class for the subjects they are excelling at.

When forming classes, we tend to start at the oldest students. In the past it has been easier to have all year 8s or all year 7 and 8s in one class depending on numbers. Unfortunately this year it was going to be around 38 students. Too big for one class, not enough for a year 8 and a year 7 class. So we made a line at around 26 students in the seniors so the mainly the older year 7s are in Room 8 and the younger ones in Room 7. The highest achieving student in the school could be in Room 7, because it is age based. Not intentionally, but all year 6’s and half of the year 7s helped make a tidy 25 for Room 7.
Rooms 5 and 6 were next. We had the option of all the year 5s being in one class (roughly) and all the year 4s in the next, however, there were a lot of learning combinations that were not working for some students so we opted to have half the year 5s in each class and half the year 4s in each class. Neither class is higher achieving, better at sports, or anything else. We know from research that having classes for just one year group does not increase learning, in fact, smaller schools with many year groups in each class often showed better results. There are many reasons for this that I will not go into in this newsletter.

We continue to move through the classes focusing on getting smaller and smaller in numbers. Room 1 starts little but has to cater for students coming over the year when they turn 5. Also, the younger they are, the more dependent they are on the teacher or adults. 

We form the classes at the beginning of term 4 and tinker with them over the term to form the best sizes and combinations of students we can. I thank Mrs Smart for leading this as our SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator). She has a handle on pretty much every child in the school, it is amazing.

Teacher shifts
We also have a big emphasis on all teachers learning the science  backed approach to reading and spelling. This can only be fully experience in a junior room. All of our teachers have had or will have the opportunity to learn and teach through the BSLA (Better Start Literacy Approach) and structured teaching of spelling (not memorising!!!!!). Shifting teachers to get this experience will help them wherever they end up teaching the majority of time. 

Also in this, teachers have been paired up. In each two class grouping we have a tuakana and a teina at te reo Māori (a stronger speaker and a developing speaker). Mr Halkett is out of class to assist for the hour straight a day for Rooms 1-6.

Mihi Whakatau / New Families Meeting / Meet the Teacher delays
If you have a student new to the school or you have not attended the Mihi Whakatau and New Family Meeting, a time will come later in the term for this. Usually it would be very early in the year, however, we have no space to cater for the amount of family members and students who will attend. Therefore we are waiting for our building work to conclude. 

If you have any questions in the meantime, ask your child’s teacher! We will cover a lot at the meeting when it arrives. 

The same goes for Meet the Teacher and other events, they are coming!

Surf Boating
Congratulations to Dean Isherwood (our Deputy Principal), his team has been doing really well at the Surf Boat Championships around the country building up to Nationals. For those of you who do not really know the staff, for the coming weeks we aim to do a profile each Newsletter on our staff so you get to know them better!

You made it!
This is the end of Newsletter #1. If you are still unsure about anything, relax, we will help where we can. 

Nāhaku noa, nā
Dallas Wichman