2019 Information for Year 7-10 students and whanau.

A big welcome to all of our new students and their whanau. Welcome back to all of our existing students and families. We also have a couple of new staff members joining our teaching staff this year, Emily Mowbray and Craig Perry….a massive welocme to you guys too…

Below is a lot of information to hopefully have you prepared for next week and beyond. Things to especially read are the sections on IEMs and the Mihi Whakatau.

IEMs – Individual Education Meetings – 31st January and the 1st of February

These happen at least once a term. They are not optional. You must attend these meetings. These meetings are the opportunity to create a learning programme that suits your son/daughter, to reflect on the previous term and to make plans for the upcoming term.

Term 1 – Week 1 (2019 – 31st January and the 1st of February) 

Term 1  – Week 10 – 11th & 12th April

Term 2 – Week 10 – 3rd and 4th July

Term 3 – Week 10 – 26th & 27th September

IEMS are bookable on this site… http://aotawhiti.school.nz/book-a-meeting-unlimited-campus/ 

If you are still unsure about who your HBLA is please use the following link….https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DnTwl5IfT8VAciECSmBJbw_arJR_CGD7Cz6XVmbo5lo/edit#gid=1227821066

If you can’t find the automatically generated confirmation email check your JUNK mail folder.

Please come prepared with goals and ideas to these meetings. Attached are a couple of links that take you to a couple of documents that will help to shape your thinking for these IEMS. The IEM is a time to plan out this coming term and the rest of the year. This first one of the year is important for HBLAs to get to know each of the students; their interests, their hobbies, what they do in their spare time and their passions.

Passions and Interests Blank – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7Tx1sAnU0MwSUhPOXQ5Y1V4azA/view

Passions and Interests Example-  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7Tx1sAnU0MwaEV5WDh5YUFqQ0k/view

FAST goals – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EyhomtazwfCpYkf04D5HJV4-XcN15rRD/view?usp=sharing

If you are not sure where to go to for your first IEM of the year, head to the office and someone will point you in the right direction.

NB…students are only expected to attend their IEM on these two days. There is no supervision on the Unlimited Campus for the two days.

Choosing subjects/classes

Students will be walked through this process with their Homebase Learning Advisors.

The Schedule of available classes and the Timetable are available at https://lms.aotawhiti.school.nz/?q=timetable

This information changes twice a term. Reading through the descriptors of each course is extremely important so your son/daughter is clear on the content of the class that they are enrolling in. 

As a rule of thumb any course that starts with a “4” should be suitable for our Year 7 & 8 Students, “5” for our Year 9 & 10 students, “6” for our Year 11 students, “7” for our Year 12 students and “8” for our Year 13s. These numbers relate tp the Levels in the NZ curriculum. The are a guide only and if your son/daughter is a Year 7 and operating at Level 6 then that’s the class they should choose.

e.g – 6PE  Anatomy, Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology would be better suited for our Year 11 students.

Colour block classes run in the morning from 9:00am – 10:30am and in the afternoon from 1:00pm – 2:30pm. L2L (more details below) runs from 10:50am – 12:20pm.

Break times are 10:30am – 10:50am and 12:20pm – 1:00pm

NB. All courses will not be available to view until 5pm on the 30th of January 2019.

Mihi Whakatau – Official Welcome – Monday 4th February – 9am

Each year we start the year with a welcome to our new whanau. This will be happening at 9am on Monday the 4th of February at 9am. This year’s Mihi Whakatau will be held at the Unlimited Campus. Please meet outside the Unlimited Campus office before 9am.


1:1 meetings are 15 minutes long and each student will have one booked one day per week between 2:30pm and 3:15pm. The meeting is for students and their LA to discuss progress in the previous week towards the learning plan that was created in the IEM and to plan the upcoming week.

L2L (Learning 2 Lead)

There are some changes to the timetable this year as we move into the CBD. We are introducing a concept across the school called L2L (Learning to Lead).

What happens in this time will be vary depending on the community level the student is in. In year 7-10 during this time  (7.5 hours/week) there will be a mix of working with their Homebase, working in their community, working with their floor (when we get to the CBD), Self Directed Learning, staying Physically Active, student led workshops, parent led workshops, LA led workshops, Health workshops and Project Based Learning.

Devices & wifi

We have no prescribed requirements for devices, you should just consider the type of work your son/daughter would be doing and make a choice based around this. If they are just thinking about searching the web and some work on Google Docs then a Chromebook or something similar will be fine. If they are thinking of working with graphics and video etc then you may need to choose something more high end. We would recommend talking to your local retailer and working this out with them.

We do have a large number of classes that rely heavily on the use of a device. While there is a pool of school owned bookable devices, access to these is limited and not guaranteed. 

Password for wifi – airport256


We do not have specific stationery requirements. These will be dictated by the types of courses/classes your son/daughter has enrolled in and they way they like to work. Many students now record everything digitally, some still prefer books. We are comfortable for your son/daughter to make these decisions on what works best for them.

Appropriate clothing

We do not have a uniform or a dress code. However, we would like students to be conscious of the fact that they are part of a community and that the items of clothing that they choose to wear should not be offensive to other members of our community.

SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) & Counsellor referrals

SENCO – These need to be managed through your Homebase Learning Advisor.

Counsellor – These are usually self managed by students, however can be referred by staff.

Starting Dates for 2019

2019 begins with IEMs on Thursday the 31st January and Friday the 1st of February. There will be no supervision available on these days as all Learning Advisors will be in Individual Education Meetings all day with students and families. Please book your meetings here… http://aotawhiti.school.nz/book-a-meeting-unlimited-campus/

Normal classes, homebases and communities begin on Monday the 4th of February at 9am, each day will finish at 3pm.

Waitangi day is Wednesday the 6th of February. School will be CLOSED on this day.

We are yet to make a decision on our end date for 2019. This is dependent on our mid year move to the CBD site. We will announce this as soon as we are clear on this.

Parental involvement 

We presume that this is one of the major reasons you have chosen Ao Tawhiti, it’s one of our major points of difference from other schools.

The Ministry of Education staffs us on the amount of students we have on site. This amount of staffing is used to provide opportunities for your children to be educated and enriched. It is absolutely clear that this staffing is never going to be enough to be able to address the Passions and Interests of all of our students. That’s where parents, grand parents, friends, co workers come in. We have a staff of about 45. We have a network of people we know that we can tap into. That’s clearly limited. However when we consider the fact that we have 560 students next year…which means we have over a 1000 parents, that network that we have to offer to our students just increased way beyond the 45 we have on staff. 

A 1000 parents to come in and offer 10 minutes of their time per week generates 166 hours of learning opportunities for our kids in that week. That might be taking them out for a run around in the CBD, working one on one with them asking them about their project, offering a skill that you might have, reading with someone, walking someone to a business to ask some questions, visiting the museum with a small group…the list goes on… it’s only limited by your imagination.

We know that all of you can’t be here. We know that life is busy.

However, you did sign up to come to Ao Tawhiti. We’ve always been clear that we need you to be involved. You wanted to have a personalised approach to learning, you wanted to be taking of advantage of learning in the CBD, you wanted your child to be part of a learning community, you wanted your child to be well educated. There are hundreds of school’s around Christchurch that just allow you to drop your child at the gate at 9 and pick them up at 3. That’s not us, getting into the CBD, personalising learning effectively, growing a community and educating your children well takes more than 45 Learning Advisors. We need you to help us deliver what you signed up for!

Our challenge to you is to really consider how you can be involved. 

NB: Head to the office to grab a Police Vetting form so you can be involved directly with students.

Transportation…car pooling, buses, parking and biking

With our new site being located by the Central City Bus Exchange we feel that taking a bus is a great option for transportation to and from our new CBD site. 

There will be bike lock up at the school and there is also a great lock up at the Bus Exchange.

In the past car pooling has been managed by parents through conversation.

There is no car parking available at the school. There are plenty of free parking options, the Crossing for example is offering 2 hours free at the moment on Lichfield Street. There will be drop off availability by the site.


We are not planning on having lockers at this stage.

School communications 

All communication is predominantly sent through the school website… www.aotawhiti.school.nz

We also have a facebook page… https://www.facebook.com/pg/aotawhiti/posts/?ref=page_internal

You will find our fortnightly School Newsletter posted in both of the above places.

We also use SchoolApps to communicate last minute reminders… simply download the SchoolApps app, choose “Ao Tawhiti” from the list of schools and then request a password. You can also inform the office of absentees, see the school calendar and access the school newsletter.

We will sometimes also email information out, however our preference is the school website. This means you probably need to bookmark it and head there regularly to stay informed.

Start and finish times.


Ministry funded assistive devices from other schools. 

This will need to be worked through during a conversation with our SENCO. Please contact the school to get this arranged.

I have an older younger sibling who wants to start too…

You will need to follow the normal enrolment process. This is available at…http://aotawhiti.school.nz/enrol/

When are we moving into the CBD?

We are still currently on target to move into the CBD on the first day of Term 2, 2019.