Week 5 Term 4 Panui

Monday/Rāhina - 15th November

Principal Message

Kia ora koutou Witherlea whānau,

We are living in such extraordinary times at present with uncertainty and pressure from many spaces and places and how we react or respond to these pressures is so important. If we keep in the backs of our minds; Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair we cannot go too far wrong because even though we may disagree from time to time with one another in; beliefs, values or opinions, we do not need to make this a huge divide.

We at Witherlea are grateful for the consistency we have within our school and community and the shared motto. We are not being impacted like many schools in our region or mōtu but we do feel the pressure of what is happening in New Zealand and other schools. We took time on Friday to reflect and be grateful for our circumstances, for each other and for our wonderful community.

Many years ago I worked with a very wise woman who used the phrase; "Not better, not worse - just different". Diversity is vital in a vibrant world so we want different, we should role model to our children that difference is beautiful and essential and in this difference, we can always seek out common ground and where we do align. This is the tap dance of being human. We do this with you, our community - we as a school actually want the same thing as you do for your children; for them to reach their potential however we may just approach this differently than you expect. When this happens we speak to one another so we can see each other's perspectives and we learn, from and with each other.

During the principals' Hui last week it was decided across our region to have a consistent decision regarding end of year events. There will be no prizegiving or end of year breakups which means we will need to be creative in the way we farewell our Year 6 students, celebrate our high flyers and end our year. We thank you for your support in this space as this is one of the factors that impact us too.

We continue to navigate what is happening in New Zealand and with COVID ensuring that we follow the guidelines to keep our children and our most vulnerable safe. Wearing our masks, signing/scanning in or just dropping off at the gate rather than coming on-site are all part of the new way of doing things and we have adapted well here at Witherlea.

While all this is happening we are furiously planning for 2022, with excitement and some changes. These are outlined below with some of our WHY - why we are making changes and what this means for our students. As always, if there are any questions that need more clarification please reach out and we can discuss them together so we are all on the same page going forward.

We have said farewell to staff members this term and we have welcomed our new people; Lynn Glavin and Katie Higgins have joined the Witherlea crew. We say farewell to Sue Holmes who is retiring at the end of this year, to Hazel Halton who is off on study leave and two teachers who have been in fixed-term roles; Harriet Mackle and Angela Ives.

In 2022 we have Amy Lucas in a full-time position and we welcome back Rachael Pottinger to the Ferns Room full-time. We have always been so lucky at Witherlea to have such strength in our teaching and support staff teams. It is one factor that makes the most difference with learning.

The outline for our 2022 Future Focused Learning is below with some important information that supports our WHY ... we look forward to bringing this to life so you can share our WHY too.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Andrea Harnett - Tumuaki

Big picture

2022: Future Focused Learning

We have been moving in the last few years to a more collaborative style of teaching, knowing that teaching in this way supports our learners and our teaching teams.

We use terms like the above; FLE which stands for Flexible Learning Environment. This has at times been misunderstood and parents often think of big barn style open learning spaces. This is far from reality. FLE means that the space can be used in many different ways depending on the activity or type of learning or people within it.

The teachers work together to; plan, to teach, to assess and they use their combined strengths to lead in different ways. Something that is different is that they share ALL the children in their environment. They take responsibility for ALL and your children will have the opportunity to learn from and with ALL of the adults within the environment. We will use a Whānau Group approach for roll call, for emergencies and as the teacher to touch base with for parents. This is more organisational and one of the many systems that support an FLE to be successful.

Inside an effective FLE are many systems, often hidden to the untrained eye. They ensure that all students are tracked and monitored (no slipping between the gaps), they ensure all students are taught explicitly how to behave (where and how to behave in different spaces/places for different types of learning), they ensure that the noise is appropriate to the activity (every learner can learn and teachers can teach) and each FLE will be different depending on the teachers and learners within it. All teachers and learners develop collaborative skills which are stated as one of the keys to 21st Century Learning along with; Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking.

We have, of course, our Ferns Room who has been operating in this way using collaborative team teaching and Play-Based Learning for many years and as Sue Holmes leaves, Rachael Pottinger will join Ang Clark to continue this into the future.

Phoebe Quirk returns from Maternity Leave to collaborate once again with PJ Muir and adding to this dynamic duo is Tracee Lee. They will have the Year 5-6 FLE across Room 10-13 and this will see all our senior students from Year 4-6 in our Village.

A new collaborative team will be working together in Room 8 and Room 9 with Ariana McIntyre, Larrissa Robertson and Kelsie Brown teaching a group of Year 2-3 students.

2022 will see all our Year 2-3 students working in composite classes moving to the Top Court space in our school.

When we mix our students in these year groups we are able to keep our Year 1-3 students in lower class sizes - research has shown that the younger year groups benefit from the smaller classes.

We continue to have Matt Robertson, Naomi Anderson and Maree Herdman collaborating in the Kowhai Team which will have a mix of Year 4-5 students in 2022 and this ensures that we keep our teaching teams together so they develop the skills to work in modern ways.

Composite or Multi-Age

Our composite classes are underpinned by the Tuakana Teina philosophy and the fact that no children of the same age are the same - it is a "stage, not age" concept.

We are able in most circumstances to keep the same children with the same teacher, with a few exceptions, so that learning is seamless. These children start the year from where they left off without having to relearn systems, the language of the teacher and expectations. They become the leaders within the class and bring their strengths and capabilities to their environment with confidence.

The only age group we keep separated is our Year 1 so they can learn what school is all about in those vital first months however from time to time we do mix our Year 1-2 students if needed to keep our class sizes low.

All schools across the Marlborough Region and across New Zealand use composite or multi-age structures to ensure that their teachers who work best together, stay together and that the class sizes in the Year 1-3 remain as low as possible.

We are all excited as school staff to head into 2022 with such strength across all age groups, with teachers who are collaborative, for FLE's of all types of options for all types of learners and that our students are ready and able to learn in a future-focused way.

The picture below is the Curriculum Delivery Plan that we have been working on for 2 years since changing our VISION; Empowering ALL learners to reach their potential in an innovative community and can be found on our website along with our Charter (Strategic Direction and Annual Plan).

You will see notice many of the philosophies mentioned above which we believe drive the type of education we want to deliver at Witherlea so that we ensure we meet our vision for our learners. We have aspirations for every learner to succeed in their own way and we provide a rich and broad curriculum to achieve this.

While the fundamentals of reading, writing and mathematics lay an important foundation the Arts, Science, Te Ao, Technology including Digital Fluency and Social Sciences create a world of engagement and opportunity for students to showcase and develop strengths and passions.

FLE provides the personnel, space, time and opportunities to bring all these aspects to life.

Big picture
Big picture

Welcome to Witherlea School

We wish to welcome these new students and their families and whānau to our school and community;

Imogen B,

Welcome to School Certificates are given out at our Flag Raising on a Monday morning at 9am when we are in Alert Level 1.

Term 4 Events - Wahanga Tuawhā

Week 5 - Wiki Tuarima

Monday 15th November - Friday 19th November

Monday 15th - Wednesday 17th November = Room 15 & 16

Wednesday 17th - Friday 19th November = Room 17 & 18

Pine Valley Camps = Year 4's Kowhai

Friday 19th November

Subway School Lunches

Week 6 - Wiki Tuaono

Monday 22nd November - Friday 26th November

Tuesday 23rd - Friday 26th November

Mistletoe Bay Camp 2 = Room 9

Week 7 - Wiki Tuawhitu

Monday 29th November - Friday 3rd December

Friday 3rd December

Interschool Football - AMP Showgrounds: TBC (could be cancelled due to COVID)

Subway School Lunches

Week 8 - Wiki Tuawaru

Monday 6th December - Friday 10th December

Monday 6th - Thursday 9th December

Mistletoe Bay Camp 3 = Room 8 and Room 17 (Year 5's)

Friday 10th December

Service Assembly - Participating and Contributing

Subway School Lunches

Week 9 - Wiki Tuaiwa

Monday 13th December - Friday 17th December


Monday 13th December

Reports Go Home

Tuesday 14th December

Class Swap. - Meet 2022 teacher

Friday 17th December

School Closes at 12pm

Athletics Day 2021

Enjoy the movie we have created to share with our community. It showcases many of our athletes, students, teachers and the Sprint Finals at the end of the day.
Athletics Day 2021

Beautiful New Trees in our Ferns Area

As part of our Compassion value this term, the Ferns Team are showing compassion for our environment by planting 5 flowering cherry trees in our Ferns area. These trees will eventually provide shade for us to sit under. Each class has 'adopted' a tree to look after.

Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair Shoutouts

Ferns Team

Isabella R; for having a great growth mindset and trying her best in everything.

Oscar H; you are a kind and caring member of room 3. You are conscientious and can be relied upon to carry out extra responsibilities!

Punga Team

Ebony J; always shows the school values and is a role model for her peers.

Indy M; for always showing care and concern to classmates, being a great friend to everyone

Kowhai Team

Mia K; Mia gets on well with all of her classmates and consistently displays an amazing attitude towards everything!

Kauri Team

Ava L; for your enthusiasm and spark in everything you do. You have a positive attitude towards all learning and have a real can do attitude. Ka pai Ava!

Fade M; for challenging yourself outside of your comfort zone and achieving success in all that you do. Kia Kaha - show courage!

These students have been using their kind, safe and fair qualities within our school, towards other students and supporting our culture at Witherlea.

Early Words Recognition

Congratulations to these students for completing their Early Words;

Angus F, Freddie M, Olivia-Clare O, Dylan S, Jessica R, Jack T

We are very proud of the effort towards learning that our youngest students put in as the Early Words is the start of mastery at Witherlea School.