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Thursday 9th April - Message for Parents and Whanau

Thursday 9th April - Message for Parents and Whanau

Apr 9, 2020 841 Views

Kia ora koutou - Dear Parents and Whanau, 

I trust you are all well within your bubbles and that your extended whanau are also coping with the opportunities and challenges of the current situation. The school ‘holidays’ officially come to an end next week with the first day of Term 2 and remote schooling beginning on Wednesday 15th April. 

In order to support families with learning expectations alongside your existing routines, we will be introducing the following times:

  • 10:30am to 11:30am ‘class’ session one.

  • 1:30pm to 2:30pm ‘class’ session two.

We are trialling the idea of two separate hour-long learning sessions. This will break up the lesson time and enable students and parents the chance to add variety or additional routines. Parents are encouraged to pursue authentic learning experiences at home depending on their situations and resources. 

These ‘class’ sessions will be times when your child will be expected to engage with the learning opportunities planned by their class teacher. Year 5-8 teachers will share learning directly with students using Google Classroom and Year 0-4 teachers will share learning with parents weekly using Google Slides. This will make use of hard copy materials already shared with you.

On the whole, class teachers will also be available to answer questions from parents and students between 10:30am and 11:30am each day and will continue to respond via email in a timely manner. Staff will not be available from 11:30am to 12:30pm as they will be participating in online meetings or related tasks. 

It is our intention to help parents avoid feeling overwhelmed with too much content from school, and instead to better gauge the needs of your child. Please contact your class teachers to provide feedback - they are trying to provide meaningful learning opportunities in unusual circumstances. Please also feel free to share successful learning experiences that you have created for your whanau - teachers may well be able to pass these ideas on. Although we have a wonderful group of teachers, we do not have a monopoly on creativity and are always looking to share great learning. 

We all anticipate a return to ‘normal’ schooling sooner rather than later. However, as we do not know when the Ministries of Health and Education will deem it safe for the lockdown to be reduced or removed, Parua Bay School will continue to provide remote teaching and learning. Remote learning on this scale is a relatively new space we are striving to make the most of, please be patient with us as we refine our provision for your tamariki. Thank you for all the great things you are doing to encourage learning.

Nga mihi mahana, 


Mark Ashcroft


Friday 3rd April - School Update 3rd April

Friday 3rd April - School Update 3rd April

Apr 3, 2020 902 Views

Kia ora koutou - Dear Parents and Whanau - I trust that after the first full week of lockdown and entering the second, your family and lockdown bubble are doing well. The following contains updated information from the Ministry of Education - the related links are well worth a check as they may provide useful information relating to your current circumstances. Firstly however, a poignant quote from Perry Rush, New Zealand Principals' Association Chair:

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking this is business as usual for teaching and learning albeit from home rather than school. To do so would be to miss the significance of our current reality. We are experiencing an international health crisis of a magnitude unheralded in our lifetimes. It has the potential to change the way we live forever. Focusing on keeping teaching and learning going as it always has, is the wrong approach. To do so would be to miss understanding the emotional and psychological impact of this crisis on people. 

Some families are experiencing loss of employment; many are experiencing the stress of the whole family being underfoot day after day; and most are simply struggling with the challenge of a changed world of isolation and uncertainty. Our job at this time is to infuse any home learning plan with a deep sense of humanity. (Perry Rush, Principal Matters, Issue 10, 2nd April 2020)

I also thought the opening paragraph from the latest Ministry of Education update (2nd April) was relevant:

… we encourage you to take some time away from the constant news cycle and social media postings about the virus. However, balance becomes even more important in times such as these. It’s important to give our minds and bodies what they need to stay healthy – good food, plenty of sleep, fun, exercise, mindfulness, music, relaxation, reading, nature, laughter, space, gratitude – whatever works for you (

Key items in this extract include

  • Keeping online learning safe
  • Home learning packs
  • Term two dates
  • Wellbeing information
  • Welfare
  • Childcare for Essential Workers
  • Connectivity and Data Caps

Keeping on line safe

 Parents, caregivers and whānau may want to discuss internet safety with their children - of all ages. We recommend that they should agree with their children what they can do online including sites they can visit and appropriate behaviours including:

· reviewing and approving games and apps before they are downloaded

· reviewing privacy settings of sites and applications

· checking children’s profiles and what they are posting online

· check the sites your child is accessing

· reminding children that anything that is posted online will be permanently on the internet

· taking the time to understand what sites they are visiting and who they are talking with and check in regularly

· some social media sites have age restrictions to join, check these before letting your child use them or join them

· monitoring a child’s use of the internet and consider having them use it in an open, common area of the house

· making sure your children know to report any activity they don’t feel comfortable with to parents and caregivers straight away.

There is a unique opportunity during the lockdown of families going out together, albeit it close to home, but if your child is going out on their own it’s still important to check where they are going.

· Netsafe continues to be available to provide you and your parent and caregiver community with support for online safety. They have information for parents and caregivers and have pulled together their top tips for online safety during the lockdown.  To report an incident To Netsafe -

· If you think a child in your care is the victim of online exploitation or abuse, report it to Police - if you or a child are in danger or a crime is being committed, call 111 or visit your nearest Police Station immediately.


Sending out packs to homes
Please remember that during a lockdown there is to be no direct contact with people outside your household (bubble).  Doing so creates risk of spreading COVID-19, including through putting together and delivering parcels. Staying home keeps people safe.
You will also be aware you and your staff are not permitted to go onto the school sites to collect resources for distribution.

Term two

The start date of term two has moved to Wednesday 15 April. Currently the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 is due to remain in place until Thursday 23 April. Schools and kura will open for instruction from 15 April with instruction taking place remotely.


Wellbeing information updated including new tip sheets for families, caregivers and whānau

We have slightly updated the wellbeing information on our website to better reflect how the COVID-19 response has changed over the last weeks. Included in there are three new tip sheets for parents, caregivers and teachers:

· Tips for teachers, parents and caregivers – supporting toddlers

· Tips for teachers, parents and caregivers – supporting children

· Tips for teachers, parents and caregivers – supporting young people

If you know someone who might be struggling in your school or early learning service community, there are a large range of supports in place that may be able to assist including:

· Mental wellbeing

· Supporting children and young people at home

· Managing self-isolation

· Care options for children of essential workers

· Financial support for employers and employees

· Staying safe online

· Preventing harm from bullying

· Family harm

· Responding to discrimination – through the Human Rights Commission

· Accessing healthcare

· For people vulnerable to COVID-19

Information in languages other than English:


· Office of Ethnic Communities


If you are aware there are people in your community who cannot get access to essential goods such as food, they can contact the local Emergency Coordination Centres (ECC), part of Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups. These groups coordinate the regional multi-agency response and provide a range of support activities.  This is intended for people who don’t have any other options available to them and operates 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm -  
You can also email the following people/contacts:

· Northland -

More providers offer childcare options for essential workers

Parents who are essential workers can get additional childcare support if needed during the lockdown. The Government has increased the range of national home-based providers, with some offering care for children aged 0-14, and others ages 5-14. Our website has more details and will be updated as new providers are identified - Home-based care options for children aged 0-14 of essential workers.

Improving internet connectivity
Our IT team has put together some tips for improved connectivity at home.
For home internet connections
It is important to eliminate performance/speed issues with the home wifi setup first, rather than assuming there is an issue with the connection from the house to the internet. To check this:

· Run a speed test at to establish a baseline, and repeat after making any change below to check for improvement

· Power off home router every morning, leave off for 30 secs before powering back on (don’t press the reset button this will reset the device settings!)

· Turn off, or disable Wi-Fi on, unused devices where possible, especially older devices that run at slower Wi-Fi speeds

· Decrease the physical distance between your device and the Wi-Fi router, line of sight is best

· Use an Ethernet cable on devices where possible, to reduce Wi-Fi load (especially smart TVs, gaming consoles) – plug these into a spare LAN port on your router

Data Allowance/Cap issues

· Check you are not already on an uncapped data plan as previously communicated in the bulletin (applies to Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, and 2Degrees, Trustpower). If unsure contact your provider

· Some providers have made uncapped offers to rural and remote customers for off peak (night time hours only). Consider shifting non time critical downloads such as computer patching to these time periods

· Check what options are available for the address at and if not on the cheapest/best option suggest changing provider as an option (this is covered as an essential service)

In some remote areas speed of connection AND the amount of data is a hard technical constraint based on the capacity of the technology used such as satellite or “point to point” wireless.

· As a very rough indicator if it requires an externally mounted antenna or dish it probably falls into this category

· If this is the situation for a teacher delivering distance learning, consider non-digital alternatives in the short term

 For mobile phone connections

· The data plan on mobile phones is NOT covered by the removal of data caps

· Individual data plans vary significantly – high data usage on some plans over the allowance is very expensive

· For personally owed phones consider changing to a different plan that better reflects new usage patterns. Often this can be done at no/little additional cost

· Use the app provided by your mobile phone supplier to track usage

· “Hot spotting” from a mobile phone is less efficient than using home Wi-Fi (aerials are smaller) so this will be slower

· If using for voice calls and running out of minutes consider alternatives where possible such us email/messaging systems.

As a school team, we hope you find the above information useful during this lockdown period.

Ngā mihi

Mark Ashcroft
Friday 27 March - School Message COVID-19 Update

Friday 27 March - School Message COVID-19 Update

Apr 2, 2020 807 Views
Kia ora Parents and Whanau - Here is an extract from the latest Ministry of Education update. If you haven't had the opportunity so far, have a look at the link in the 'Wellbeing for all' section - some useful ideas for home.

Key dates reminder

26 March            Alert Level 4 commenced
28 March            School holidays begin
10 – 14 April      Easter including the Tuesday after Easter
15 April               Term 2 begins (through distance learning)
22 April               Current date for ending of lockdown period
27 April               ANZAC Day observed

Key lockdown messages from the Prime Minister (Select Committee Media Briefing 25 March)

· If the virus is left unchecked it will have an unacceptable toll on New Zealanders

· Staying at home will break the chain and save lives

· Breaking the rules could risk someone close to you

· if the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands

· Success will not be instant. The benefit of actions taken today will not be felt for many days to come. People need to expect the numbers to continue rising, because they will. Modelling indicates that New Zealand could have several thousand cases before today’s measures have an impact. However, if everyone sticks to the rules there will be change over time

· Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how New Zealanders must collectively think now

· All New Zealanders are urged to be calm, be kind, stay at home

· if people have no explanation of why they are outside the Police will remind them of their obligations and can take enforcement actions if they feel it is necessary

· New Zealanders will want to do the right thing. The Government is being as clear as they can on the guidance and Police will be working with people to help them understand

· Government’s goal is to keep people connected to their employer through the wage subsidy, and said if that was not happening then they have the backup mechanism of the welfare system

· In regard to those overseas - even under the most difficult of circumstances - New Zealand is their home.


You will understand the importance of routine for your family. If your routine has been shaken up, like you’re now working from home, it’s good to structure your time. Routines are reassuring, and promote health and physical wellbeing. The below timetable (targeted at children) could be something your household adapts to use over the next weeks. A school holiday version will likely look a little different, but some form of routine will still be important as we go through the lockdown period.
Daily Schedule

Before 9:00am

Wake up

Eat breakfast, make your bed, get dressed, put any dirty clothes in the laundry


Morning walk

Family walk with the dog, bike ride,
Yoga if it’s raining


Learning at home

School-led learning or Sudoku, books, flash cards, study guide, journal etc


Creative time

Legos, magnatiles, drawing, crafting, play music, cook or bake etc.

12:00 pm

Lunch :)


Helping at home

# wipe all kitchen tables and chairs
# wipe all door handles, light switches and desk tops
# wipe both bathrooms - sinks and toilets


Quiet time

Reading, puzzles, nap, radio NZ stories


Learning at home

School-led learning or iPad games, Prodigy, Educational show


Afternoon fresh air

Bikes, walk the dog, play outside


Dinner :)


Free TV time

Kids shower time



All kids



All kids who follow the daily schedule & don’t fight

*Adapted from a resource developed by Jessica McHale Photography

Wellbeing for all

We have information focused on wellbeing and supporting a child’s learning at home for parents, caregivers and whānau. It may also be useful for teachers. This resource adds to the information we have previously provided supporting conversations with children about COVID-19 -

Further information to support wellbeing

Stay home to stay safe.
Nga mihi,
Mark Ashcroft
Tuesday 24 March - Teacher Emails

Tuesday 24 March - Teacher Emails

Apr 2, 2020 757 Views

Kia ora Parents and Whanau

Here is a list of the Teacher's emails should you need to contact them:

Mark Ashcroft Principal
Hazel Smith Deputy Principal
Rob Jones Assistant Principal / Rm 15 Yr 6 & 7
Tineke Martin Release - Room 15 (Wed & Fri) / CRT
Jeremy Hamilton Room 14 Yr 6 & 7
Lynfa Harris Room 1 Yr 5 & 6
Madeleine Brooks Room 2 Yr 5 & 6
Janette Steel Room 3 Yr 8
Kylie Aubrey Room 4 Yr 5 & 6
Deanna Uttley Room 5 Yr 3 & 4
Barbie Reynolds Room 6 Yr 3 & 4
Tania Westren Room 7 Yr 3 & 4
Melissa Aarsen Room 8 - Mon, Tues & Thurs Yr 3 & 4
Sam McNeight Room 8 - Wed & Fri Yr 3 & 4
Renay Brown Room 9 Yr 1 & 2
Carolyn Henwood Room 10 Yr 1 & 2
Amanda Askew Room 11 Yr 1
Laetitia McKenzie Learning Support Coordinator



Tuesday 24 March - Holiday Dates Brought Forward

Tuesday 24 March - Holiday Dates Brought Forward

Apr 2, 2020 751 Views

Kia ora Parents and Whanau - the Ministry of Education has brought forward official school 'holiday' dates, beginning Monday 30th March to Tuesday 14th inclusive. Firstly, regardless of holiday dates, the school will remain closed until further notice during the Level 4 Covid-19 lockdown stage. Secondly, teachers will be working remotely, providing resources and responding to students, for the rest of this week and then from Wednesday 15th April onwards. 

FYI the Ministry of Education have launched Learning from home and Ki te Ao Mārama two new websites to support teachers, learners, parents and whānau so that learning for children and young people can continue. The sites include resources across the age ranges. More resources will be added. The information and resources are available at and

Your child's teacher has already prepared and provided multiple resources for you to acces during this home learning period. Please email your child's teacher if you have questions regarding their home learning tasks.

Although the school will be open on Wednesday 25th March (tomorrow) for children of Essential Workers please CONTACT THE SCHOOL TODAY, as an 'essential worker' to confirm your child will be in school on Wednesday. To note, buses will NOT be running.  The school will be completely closed from Thursday onwards for a period of at least 4 weeks. 

As the school prepares to re-open, families will be contacted about specific opening dates. 

Ngā mihi

Mark Ashcroft