Newsletter – Friday 30 October 2015

Upcoming Events
Term 4 Week 4 (Monday 2 November – Friday 6 November)

Monday 2 November: Term 4.2 Begins

Monday 2 November: NCEA – study leave commences

Monday 2 November: NCEA – last day for submission of Internal Assessments

Monday 2 November: Mandarin, Discovery Campus

Tuesday 3 November: 9-11am Mindfulness, Discovery Campus

Tuesday 3 November: 11am-12pm HPP, Discovery Campus

Tuesday 3 November: Music with Mary, Discovery Campus

Wednesday 4 November – Friday 6 November: 1-3 Community Camp

Wednesday 4 November: Discovery Campus Coffee Morning 9am, Shared Space

Wednesday 4 November: 11am-12pm HPP, Discovery Campus

Thursday 5 November: Unlimited Campus Coffee Morning 8.45am, Steven’s Office

Friday 6 November: NCEA examinations begin

Term 4 Week 5 (Monday 9 November – Thursday 12 November)

Monday 9 November: Mandarin, Discovery Campus

Tuesday 10 November: 9-11am Mindfulness, Discovery Campus

Tuesday 10 November: 11am-12pm HPP, Discovery Campus

Tuesday 10 November: Music with Mary, Discovery Campus

Wednesday 11 November: Discovery Campus Tour, Discovery Campus

Wednesday 11 November: Discovery Campus Coffee Morning 9am, Shared Space

Thursday 12 November: Unlimited Campus Coffee Morning 8.45am, Steven’s Office

Thursday 12 November: Athletics, Discovery Campus

Thursday 12 November: Homebase selection sent to students

Friday 13 November: Canterbury Anniversary Day [School Closed]


Message from Steven
Tanja and Unlimited

I’ve just come from a gathering of some former UPT students, board members, staff and parents (so my apologies that this newsletter is a little later than usual).  The focus was to celebrate Tanja’s massive contribution to Unlimited.  While I won’t go into the many funny, emotional and inspiring stories told to Tanja, I do want to focus on one or two of the many important things that I took from the evening.  It was fantastic to listen to the incredible impact Tanja has had on the amazing young people that worked with her in her role as a homebase learning advisor.  Her contribution to their life and their education was there for all to see.  Tanja made a great point during the get together.  She firmly believes that homebase was the vital component that brought all of the learning together. She said that the fact every LA said was not just a curriculum learning advisor, but also a homebase LA, was special. It provides the base for learners to explore and a place to build relationships with not just the learning advisor, but other students as well.  While Unlimited and Discovery have merged, I really hope that Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery continues to honour this important aspect of its make up for many years to come.

Structures for 2016

Last week I promised to published our intended structures for 2016. I’ve included a brief discussion on each of the structures.  I realise however that for many, this will still not provide enough information and as such I have organised 2 meetings (one at each campus) to allow our community to discuss these structures further. I will post the date, time and venue for the meetings next week via the website (and therefore facebook and twitter)

At the heart of all of these structures is the special character and its commitment to ensuring that the child is central in directing his or her own learning so that the enthusiasm and love for learning is retained.  All of our systems are based on the fundamental premise that every child’s learning is discussed and planned for via an individual education meeting (IEM) and are therefore flexible enough to provide every possible opportunity for each student work in the community, homebase and programme of learning that matches their passions, interests and needs.


  • The break times across the campuses have been brought more closely in line with each other.  This is to ensure a smooth transition to working on one site.  It also makes it easier for students at each campus to work together.
  • Y1-6 day is focused on improving the ability for students to set up their learning for the day around their passions and interests
  • Y7-10 timetable has dedicated homebase time in the morning.  This ensures that the students are able to clearly identify with and belong to a homebase.  It also provides the homebase with more control over how they can best use this time
  • Y7-10 communities have 60mins each morning for courses that are based on their specific passions and interests.  These could include a mix of LA passion base courses, student requested courses and parent offered courses, as well as supported SDL. This is a vital time for students, parents and learning advisors to offer opportunities to students that are specifically informed by student voice.  
  • Kay and Steve are paired together in a community to ensure that Y7-8 students have the choice of extremely experienced Y7-8 learning advisors.  Kay and Steve are also solely responsible for the delivery of course based literacy and numeracy at curriculum levels 3-4 (where most Y7-8s work).  This does not limit Y7-8s to just these LAs, but instead provides a clear option that did not obviously exist this year.
  • The Y7-13 timetable works across all communities.  Students can choose to work at the level most appropriate to their passions and interests regardless of community.  For example, a student in the Y7-10 community has no intentional barriers to engaging with NCEA level courses.
  • Y11-13 students now have access to curriculum mentoring.  This time will be advertised by LAs (through the descriptors) and will allow students to meet with subject LAs to get support on course based learning, independent based learning, and other curriculum opportunities not currently available in classes.  As with everything we do at Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery, curriculum mentoring is available to all students regardless of community, once it is established through in IEP.
  • Courses return to 3 hours per week. This year they were raised to 3.5 hours.  We have returned to 3 hours per week to allow the introduction of curriculum mentoring.
  • From Y7-13, courses move to 90 min sessions.  This allows our LAs and students to get offsite with their learning more easily.  This is an important transition for returning to the CBD.


Homebase selection for 2016

In Week 5 we will email every student in Years 6-13 with a homebase selection form.  This form will ask students and their whanau to indicate there preferences for HBLA for 2016.  It will also allow students to indicate whether being in a homebase with their friends is important, and whether a location is important.  Once this process is complete we will notify students of their HBLA for 2016.

A similar process will run at the Discovery campus.  Ian will provide details of this at the time, but the focus will again be on providing each student and their parents with the chance to indicate the HBLA they would most like to work with.

It’s important to mention that while the communities and homebases have year levels on them, these are not set in stone. I definitely do not want to see barriers to learning created through age or year level. We are always open to working with students and their whanau in working wherever learning can be happen.  For example, a Y7 student wishing to work at Discovery campus again, may be entirely appropriate, but may come with some limitations.  Similarly a Y11 student wishing to be in at Y7-10 homebase is entirely appropriate but may come with some limitations.  I would encourage you to discuss such matters with Duncan or Ian.

Communities for 2016

Communities are a structure that allows homebases to work together when appropriate.  Homebase LAs are based in spaces throughout the campuses.  Courses will continue to be taught in the most appropriate teaching space. For example a Y10 may have a homebase located in the Ao Tawhiti block, but this does not mean that all of his or her classes will take place with the LAs from that community or in that community space.

The major changes at the Discovery campus is the move of Kay from being a Y1-3 community leader to a Y7-10 community leader.  This decision has not been made lightly.  Nadine will fulfill the Y1-3 CL role for 2016.  The other change is the loss of one of the Y1-3 homebases.  This decision has been made entirely based on roll size at the Discovery campus.  We do not expect a roll drop, but the desire for roll growth in Y1-3 this year has not been great enough to afford the extra homebase that we ran this year.

We are still finalising aspects of our staffing for 2016, but I am eager to keep you as informed as I possible can. I will immediately notify you of any changes.


  • Nadine Walmisley (Community Leader)
  • Gina Thompson
  • Libby Boyd
  • Jason Eade


  • Melva Gill (Community Leader)
  • Mel Fisk

Y7-10 (located in the Ao Tawhiti block)

  • Kay Hayes (Community Leader)
  • Braden Faavae
  • Jared Gallagher
  • Sarah Burnett
  • Steve Hunt


  • Tracey Mills (Community Leader) (P7)
  • Brent Barrett (P4)
  • Marlene Teevale-Hunt (P3)
  • Matt Parkes (P2)
  • Nathan Woods (P8)

Y11-13 (CL to be confirmed)

  • Allan Henderson (S3)
  • Derek Thatcher (Incubator)
  • Emma Barrett (S1)
  • Matt Davis (P2)


  • Pete Brailsford (Community Leader) (S4)
  • Beks Frew (S6)
  • George Mackenzie (S2)
  • Holly Ramsay (P7)
  • Richard Pitts (S5)


  • Richard McCance (Community Leader) (P6)
  • Brent Silby (P13)
  • Florian Maisonneuve (P10)
  • Ino Kelderman (P11)
  • Louise Wilson (P12)
Y7-13 courses so far

There will continue to be several courses offered at the Unlimited Campus for students to undertake.  The lists below are just what the LAs will offer and as such does not include the likely addition of courses from parents and other providers. Rather the list all of the courses I’ve just listed the curriculum areas.  For some of them, there will be multiple courses of the same curriculum area.

Level 3-4 learning advisor offered courses

Maths/ Numeracy, Music, Health and PE, Technology (at the Unlimited Campus rather than at Christchurch East), English / Literacy, Social Sciences, Science and integrated / holistic options.

Level 4-5

Visual Arts, Maths, Health, Technology, Social Sciences, English, PE, Science, Maori, Languages, Media Studies, Music

Level 6, 7, 8

There are 54 courses currently scheduled for next year at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, with a couple more still to be finalised. Currently these include – Science, Maori, Business Studies, Technology, Visual Arts, English, Maths, Media Studies, PE, Social Studies, Health, ICT, Dance, EFS, History, Geography, Legal Studies, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Philosophy, Psychology, Outdoor Education, Music

We are also offering NCEA level mentoring from next year on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings 9-10.30 and every afternoon from 2.30 to 3pm.  This time allows students to arrange to meet with a curriculum LA, very support NCEA level course learning, or develop independent programmes.  This time is something myself and the LAs are extremely excited about, as we’ve never formally staffed time like this before, and strongly believe it will be a valuable addition for our students learning time.  Many students currently rely on the goodwill of staff to get this mentoring. It often happens after school, or at break times.

I am still working on finalising several other courses.  I’m hoping to be able to confirm Photography, Hospitality, and Drama at NCEA level in the coming weeks.

SDL will also be supported throughout the day.

Steven Mustor – Director

Message from Ian

This week I had a great opportunity to works alongside some of our students who are venturing down to the Anthony Wilding Retirement Village. One of our ex staff members contacted the school about participating in an Intergenerational study that she is currently working on through the University of Canterbury. This study is a pilot research project on intergenerational learning and its main aim is to enhance the wellbeing of young people at school and older residents living in a retirement village.

Over the next few weeks we have some of our students heading down to the Anthony Wilding Retirement Village in Aidanfield to work 1 on 1 with one of the residents. Each session is based around the resident reading a picture book to the students and then having a conversation about what they see in the picture. One of the goals for our students is that we enrich their oral language and support them to develop an understanding of book language and structure. ( This programme is in the school calendar as HPP – Hei Awhiawhi Tamariki ki te Panui Pukapuka)

While we are wanting to support children with the goal mentioned in the last paragraph, more importantly, what I have witnessed fall out of the two sessions is so much richer, there is a genuine connection between the kids and the residents growing. They have already developed an amazing bond. The residents are really interested in the kids, they are wanting to help and you can see that they really do care that the kids do well. It’s reminded me of the fantastic connection most of us have had with our own grandparents over the years and the commitment they have made to us. I get the sense from some of the residents that I have talked to that they are feeling a real sense of self worth, that they are doing something good for members of their community and feel like they are making a difference.

I had been a bit worried that they children wouldn’t really see this as a positive opportunity, as we left for the first session they had been a little nervous and skeptical.  However, I just loved seeing the energy on the second day as I rounded them up to take them down there. Their nervousness had disappeared and there was a real sense of anticipation and excitement about heading to the village. On the way back to school they were chatting about the person they had been working with, about what they had done as a job before they retired, where they had lived and what they loved doing now.

There is a real sense of mutual respect and enjoyment of the experience growing. It’s really heart warming to see them working together, laughing, sharing stories and interests and learning together. I can only imagine that over the next 3 weeks this is going to get stronger and they will have established some fantastic friendships. After one week it’s already been one of the best things I’ve seen during my 20 years of teaching.

On the way back to school yesterday we chatted about the possibilities that our new relationship with the Anthony Wilding Retirement Village may offer… something I think worth investigating now we have opened the door.

Ian Hayes – Deputy Director
Homebase Kiwi SDL

Download (PDF, 4.67MB)

Nadine Walmisley – Learning Advisor
Junior News

A short and wet week this week but still lots of great things happening.


Mindfulness is moving onto being in the moment and noticing what is happening. Feeling our bodies and how they feel here and now. Below is a link to the you tube channel which has some of the audio tracks that we use as practice. I thought some of you might like to listen to them and even use some as practice at home. We have so far only used “Straight Back Soft Belly” and “Coming Home Bell”.


HB Kea have also been practicing some Yoga. We have just looked at it as a way of stretching our bodies and relaxing our minds. The kids seem to really like “Cosmic Kids Yoga” because they tell a story as they do the poses. Again I thought some of you might be interested in looking at these at home. Below is the link to the one we used yesterday.

 IMG_2070 IMG_2068

Camp is at Waipara Riverside Park (Boys Brigade) on Wednesday 4th November until Friday 6th November. I know the excitement is building in the children already.

Kay Hayes – Community Leader

Confucius Institute’s Calligraphy Competition

Congratulations to Anatia Bennett and Song Davis for receiving 3rd place awards from the Confucius Institute’s annual Calligraphy Competition!  Out of 57 schools nationwide (primary, intermediate and secondary) 821 works were submitted with 115  selected for awards of 1st, 2nd or 3rd place prizes. A very special thanks to Jiao Li, our Mandarin Language Assistant on the Unlimited Campus, for her support.

Richard McCance – Learning Advisor

Science Events

If you are looking for something to do on Saturday, head to Cathedral Square for Big Science Day they have an amazing range of Science and Technology displays, demonstrations and activities planned.

Conservation Week runs from 1st to 8th November this year. Department of Conservation have several events planned around Canterbury. There is also a daily online quiz, and a couple of competitions based on an inquiry  or an online treasure-hunt

Matt Parkes – Community Leader