Principal’s Message Term 1, Week 8

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Before you read my update, all school messages regarding COVID 19 will be shared via our school app, website page, Facebook, and Seesaw. As you are very aware the COVID-19 pandemic is developing rapidly.  Already a significant number of college activities and events have either been postponed, suspended or cancelled.

One of the possible scenarios we need to consider and plan for is school closure.  Exact details of what this might look like, if it were to happen will depend on the circumstances at the time.  One thing would be certain however – online learning programmes would need to be provided by teachers for their students who are at home.

As I shared last week, at this stage the school is open for instruction.  The only difference is for students that are high risk, and are self isolating at home, as advised by the Prime Minister (PM).  The teachers will share work with these students via our online platform, either Seesaw or Google Classroom.

I will share what working via our online platform might look like later this week.  It will be a programme that will vary depending on the class level.  To allow us to do this effectively, the Board and I wish to give teachers time to plan and organise a robust curriculum delivery programme.  To allow teachers a half a day to plan for possible school closure School will be finishing at 12:30 pm this Wednesday 25th March.

To answer questions regarding school closure, these are decisions made by the MOE, not the school.  MOE have created a decision tool which is  used to make this decision.  This information is available on our website/health and safety/COVID-19 updates, you can access it at Decision Tool for Early Learning and School Responses to COVID-19

Below is the latest update from the MOE

We really appreciate how you are all responding to what are very uncertain times.  Unfortunately the situation is going to remain uncertain for some time yet.  It is important to maintain contact with colleagues and help one another.  Everybody is facing tough decisions; talking those through with a colleague is a powerful act to help you, and you will be helping them too.  We will do our very best to help, and we know you will also help each other.

Staffing absences

We have had a number of inquiries seeking guidance for schools with a proportion of staff who are impacted by the COVID-19 Level 2 Alert announced yesterday – staff and students who are over 70 years of age and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on and avoid any non-essential travel.

If you are concerned your school won’t have enough teaching staff to safely deliver learning to all year levels, you will need to consider a range of options which could include:

  • Offer supervision of some classes using non-teaching staff (who have been safety checked) – use those teachers who can work from home to set learning for them and could potentially offer support online back to the class, undertake marking etc
  • Implement your distance learning/online learning plans for some classes or year levels – again teaching staff working from home can support their learning at home
  • Relief staffing could be an option depending on your pool of available teachers; we appreciate this might be difficult but where they are available they should be used
Vulnerable people

Information about who is considered vulnerable has been updated today on the website and is as follows:

At risk people include:

  • Those over 70: Older people often have underlying health issues, including respiratory issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions can make you more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, people with respiratory conditions such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.
  • People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions: As treatments for cancer and blood conditions affect people’s immune systems, this makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Pregnant women: Health experts do not yet know if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk from some infections. 
  • People without easy access to healthcare

End of MOE announcement.

Fairfield ERO Newsletter

As a community we should all be very proud of our school and achievements.  The ERO report highlights the wonderful learning environment we have in our school.  ERO has published its findings from their recent visit with us in November.

Below are a few of the highlights from the report.

  • The school is working purposefully toward equity and excellence for all its students. 
  • Achievement outcomes are often good, with many students achieving at or above expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. 
  • Wellbeing survey information for students in Years 4 to 6 indicates that most students are positive about school. 
  • The school provides a wide range of actions and initiatives to respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.
  • Individualised goals, for high needs learners, are developed in conjunction with parents, staff and external specialists to match the specific needs of students.
  • Transition in, through, and out of school is well managed to suit learners, families and whānau. 
  • Appropriate resourcing provision, including the allocation of additional personnel, impacts positively on the progress and achievement of English speakers of a second language (ESOL). 
  • Students’ skills, competencies and capabilities are well supported through their active participation in well-designed curriculum experiences.
  •  Learners pursue their interests and passions through a wide range of authentic learning opportunities.
  •  Aspirations for Māori learner success encompass the shared values of Ariki, Tohunga, Mangotoa and Aronui. Leaders effectively guide the school in their ongoing development of culturally responsive practices aligned to their vision for Māori learner success.
  •  Comprehensive teaching and learning guidelines inform practice expectations that support consistency in the classroom. Access to digital technologies assists student inquiry. 
  • Students are well supported by teachers to make decisions in relation to their learning needs. 
  • Students learn in a positive and inclusive environment. They articulate a sense of belonging and connection to their school, of feeling included and secure and where their culture, language and identity are valued and celebrated. 

These are just a few of the highlights, and the ERO team always provide us with commendations and recommendations.  As part of this process we are always seeking self improvement to continually move school forward on a positive trajectory.

The full ERO report is available on our website/school information/ERO, or open the following link ERO Report

School Calendar

To help you with school dates, whole school events the following calendar has been created.  The calendar is available on our school website/school calendar, or open the following link School Calendar

2020 School Term Dates
Term 1 Monday 3rd February Thursday 9th April 96 half days
Term 2 Tuesday 28th April Friday 3rd July 96 half days
Term 3 Monday 20th July Friday 25th September 100 half days
Term 4 Monday 12th October Tuesday 15th December 92 half days

Kind regards,

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Alasdair Maclean