FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY NEW FAMILIES

STARTING DATES FOR 2021

Monday 1 February – Homebase selection day [School open for visits only]
Tuesday 2 February – Teacher only day [School closed]
Wednesday 3 February – Teacher only day [School closed]
Thursday 4 & Friday 5 February – IEMs [School open – supervision for Y1-6 only] 
Saturday 6 February – Waitangi Day
Monday 8 February – Waitangi Day observed
Tuesday 9 February – classes begin

TERM DATES FOR 2021

Term 1:  Monday 1 February to Friday 16 April (Easter weekend is 2 to 5 April)
Term 2: Wednesday 3 May to Friday  9 July
Term 3: Monday 26 July  to Friday  1 October
Term 4: Monday 18 October to  Thursday 16 December

HOMEBASE LEARNING ADVISOR (HBLA)

Your student will have a couple of opportunities to meet HBLAs. Once during orientation day and again on1 February. They will then choose who they would like to be placed with. Not everyone gets their first choice, but we try hard to place students with people they connect with.

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION MEETINGS (IEMs)

These happen four times a year around the beginning and end of each term with HBLAs. You must attend these meetings with your child/ren. They are the opportunity to create a learning programme that suits your student, to reflect on previous learning and to make plans for the upcoming term. A link to schedule an IEM with your HBLA will be placed on the website. School is closed for instruction on these days and students only attend for the half hour of their IEM. Supervision can be provided for Y1-6 only, a link to a form will be placed on the website for this.

DEVICES & WIFI

We have no prescribed requirements for devices; consider the type of work your student will be doing and make a choice based around this. If they are thinking about searching the web and doing 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 with more capability. We would recommend talking to your local retailer and working this out with them. Your HBLA may also be of some assistance when making this decision.  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.

STATIONERY

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

APPROPRIATE CLOTHING

We do not have a uniform. 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, and should sit with our values.

CHOOSING SUBJECTS

Students will be walked through this process with their HBLAs during IEMs. The schedule of available classes and the timetable are available on the website under the ‘Learning’ button. The schedule for 2021 will be published in time for the first IEM.

As a rule of thumb any course that starts with a ‘4’ should be suitable for Year 7 & 8 Students, ‘5’ for Year 9 & 10 students, ‘6’ for Year 11 students, ‘7’ for Year 12 students and ‘8’ for Year 13s. These numbers relate to the Levels in the NZ curriculum. These are a guide only and if your ākonga is Year 7 and operating at Level 6 then that’s the class they should choose. Again, your HBLA will support this process.

SENCO (SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS COORDINATOR) & COUNSELLOR REFERRALS

SENCO – These need to be managed through your HBLA.
COUNSELLOR – These are usually self-managed by students, however they can be referred by staff or requested by parents.

NEW ENTRANT VISITS

Our new entrant teacher will contact you directly closer to the time your student starts school to arrange visits prior to starting.  These are usually about  two to four weeks before the student’s  start date.

STAFF AT OUR KURA

For our staff list and contact emails see our website –  https://aotawhiti.school.nz/list/

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 staff us on the number of students we have on site. This staffing is used to provide opportunities for your children to be educated and enriched. It is absolutely clear that staffing of around 45 LAs we are given is never going to be enough to be able to address the Passions and Interests of all of our ākonga. That’s where parents, grandparents, friends, co-workers come in. You are a network of people that we can tap into to broaden the experiences we can offer our rangatahi. A network of 1000 parents who could offer 10 minutes of their time per week generates 166 hours of learning opportunities for our kids during the course of that week. It 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. We can only do what we say we do with your support. 

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

Part of being involved so closely with our students means we are required to do safety checks which include a police vet.  Please see this link on our website which has the documentation for this at the base of the page:  https://aotawhiti.school.nz/education-outside-the-classroom/. The office also has hard copies  if this is easier and they can sight your ID and take the documentation. Our Senior Leader (Leading), frequently runs RAMs (Risk Assessment and Management) training for families working with students and dates for these sessions are advertised in our newsletter.

TRANSPORTATION

CBD Travel Info For Parents – Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery

LOCKERS

We do not have lockers.

SCHOOL COMMUNICATIONS

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

Our fortnightly School Newsletter is posted here, as are other important messages. It is good practice to bookmark the page and head there regularly.  We also use SchoolApps to communicate last minute reminders. Simply download the SchoolApps app and choose “Ao Tawhiti” from the list of schools. The password is mollett19. You can use SchoolApps to inform the office of absentees, see the school calendar and access the school newsletter.

START AND FINISH TIMES

9:00am to 3:00pm

Doors open at 8am and lock at 3.15pm. We encourage students to come to school after 8am and leave as soon as classes end at 3pm.

HOW MUCH ARE THE FEES?

We are a state funded school so don’t have fees.  

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 A YOUNGER/OLDER SIBLING WHO WANTS TO START

You will need to follow the normal enrolment process. This is available at https://aotawhiti.school.nz/join/

OUT-OF-SCHOOL CARE

At this stage the school does not have an out-of-school care programme in place.  The Board of Trustees is working on a proposal, however it is unlikely this will be in place for the first part of 2021. Many families hire a nanny or share care with each other. We also currently have a partnership with Powerzone (https://www.powerzonechch.org/) who collect students at 3pm. This is a private arrangement that whānau organise with the providers.