Welcome to 2020 – Info

Start of Year Important Dates

The first three weeks of the year are filled with a number of hugely important dates for our students.

Term 1, Week 1: Starting FRIDAY 31 JANUARY 2020

  • Friday 31 January: Homebase selection day


  • Monday 3 February: Teacher Only Day [School Closed]
  • Tuesday 4 February: IEMs
  • Wednesday 5 February: IEMs
  • Thursday 6 February: Waitangi Day [School Closed]
  • Friday 7 February: Teacher Only Day [School Closed]


  • Monday 10 February: Term 1.1 Begins

Homebase selection day: Friday 31 January 10am – 1pm

On Friday 31 January, all students (and their families) can meet with any Homebase LA during the day.  These are informal meetings that you can use to find out if your 2020 HBLA is a good fit for you, to meet other LAs who you feel may be a good fit for you, or just to meet up with some of your LAs from last year and talk about your classes.  You might need to be patient on the day as there is no booking system for these meetings.  

If you decide that you’d like to request a change in homebase you can do so but filling out a google form that we will put out to all families on the morning of the Homebase selection day.  We will then look at whether your change can be accommodated.

You do not have to come to school on this day if you do not wish to meet with HBLAs.

IEMs: Tuesday 4 February and Wednesday 5 February

All students must have an Individual Education Meeting (IEM) at the start of the year.  We set aside two days for these meetings – Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 February. You can book your meeting by using the instructions here. IEMs are the cornerstone of what we do at Ao Tawhiti. They provide the information to formulate your learning plan, reflect on the learning you’ve already done, and establish the basis for one of the most important learning relationships you’ll have this year – the one between the student, parent and homebase learning advisor. If you are unsure who your homebase Learning Advisor  is you can search for your name here.

Term 1.1 Begins: 10 February

“Normal” school starts on Monday 10 February.


Stationery requirements are always a talking point at the start of each school year.  

Y1-6 students

There is no need to purchase any stationery for students in Y1-6.  The school provides all of the materials that your child will need. You can however purchase and use any stationery that you’d like.  Whilst we are not a BYOD, all students are welcome to bring their own device if you feel this will support their learning

Y7-13 students

For Y7-13 students, you should ensure that your child has appropriate material for classes.  This could be a laptop or tablet or pen and paper. I would encourage you to make sure that they have pens, books and if possible a laptop or tablet.


We would love to have more of our students coming to school ready to learn with a device. There are a limited number of desktops, iPads and laptops available for students to use provided by the school. 

Timetable / Schedule

There are a couple of changes to our schedule this year.  The first is that we have aligned our times to better meet the requirements of the new facilities.  Last year we planned a staggered end to the day by placing Y7-13 1:1s at the end of the day. This has not been successful with considerable disruption being caused to the learning of the Y1-6 students between 2.30 and 3pm.  We have moved the 1:1s to the start of the day (9-9.30am). It is extremely important to note that this does not mean that school starts at 9.30 for Y7-13 students, just that the first class begins at 9.30am. All students are welcome to arrive anytime from 8am to start their learning. 

L2L has also been adapted by moving it to Friday rather than being spread throughout the week.  Community Leaders will work closely with the LAs in their community to ensure that this valuable and unique programme remains relevant, interesting and engaging for all of us.

Finally we have added a 6th colour slot to the schedule. 

We will release the timetable and schedule to families on Thursday 30 January.  This provides families with information that may be useful for the Homebase selection day and the IEMs.

New LAs

We have several new members of staff this year.

Beth Love-Smit and Sarah French join the Y1-6 team. Alister Emerson (Drama and Outdoor Ed), Michelle Verkaaik (Science and Maths), John Schischka (Gateway and Maths) and Sarah Higginson (English, Drama and History) are the new additions to Y7-13.  Richard McCance has been awarded a study grant for 2020. Sarah will pick up Richard’s homebase students. Megan Taylor joins our senior leadership team.