Week 10 T2 Panui

Monday/Rāhina - 4th. July 2022

Principal Message

Kia ora koutou Witherlea whānau,

As this is my last message to you as tumuaki of Witherlea School I would like to express my gratitude to the students, staff and community who have made this one of the best roles in my leadership career, to date.

You have all in your own way supported me to be the best principal I could and the learning from and with you has been immeasurable. It is true āko and for that, I can not thank you enough. This word means a lot to me and is one of the beautiful ways that the Māori context can teach us so much. Āko means to listen and learn from others including tamariki / students and to be ready to teach, so having the skills, knowledge and confidence. Many people just translate this as learning but it is so much more.

I am a firm believer in LIFE LONG Learning and how important this is for individual health and wellbeing and as a society. So even when I make mistakes and I often do, I really want to learn from them. This makes every experience worthwhile. I have had some honest feedback in the role of principal at Witherlea and I appreciate this so much. Because of this I have grown and I leave for an opportunity that I only dreamed of. You have supported me to reach my potential...and that is our VISION at Witherlea.

Part of my role as a leader of a school is to also ensure that the community gets clear messages about what is relevant in education, and what is important for our students so that we can team up to support them in their journey, to reach their potential.

We are in a National crisis with Attendance and Engagement and this scares us on many levels.

We know how important it is to be at school every day because every day matters. COVID has disrupted so many things and one is consistent attendance and engagement in learning as students have been isolating, have been sick and/or in lockdown. To add to this our teachers have been isolating, had COVID or sickness so the students get a double whammy of inconsistency, so to speak. This effect is being felt all across New Zealand.

Our most affected students coming through the data are our Year 3 cohort. This is largely due to the age when they entered and how hard learning from home is for new students. They have endured two lockdowns and a COVID outbreak. Our data at Witherlea is no different to others in the region and across New Zealand.

So, what can we do?

  • We need the children to know how important school is by getting here every day they can
  • We need the children to know that learning is vital and continues our whole lives, it happens everywhere; at home, at school and in all settings
  • We need to read every day
  • We need to write every day
  • We need to work with numbers (mathematics) every day
  • These above items improve with consistent, everyday practice - like learning music or playing sport

If you are at home and you want to give your child extra - and it is a positive experience, then you can do some of the below;

  • Join the Library and get books out
  • Read to your children every night - have them read to you
  • Write; shopping lists, create cards and postcards and have them make their own books
  • Use dice and cards and games so they can see how important numbers are or cooking which incorporates both reading and maths
  • Talk to them - limit devices
  • SLEEP - regular routines and early nights because school is a priority and learning is hard...you need your brain activated and ready

Ask your classroom teacher which of the above is the most important and seek support for other ideas.

We will be focused for the next few years on; attendance, engagement, and progress. We will take the children from where they are NOW in their learning and ensure they progress each year. Progress or improvement is far more important than achievement.

Part of the way we gauge progress is through our action plans, targets and charter - these guiding documents support the priorities that we have set for our school and learners.

The Board, the principal, the staff and the community created our 2022 Charter and Targets for the year. The new Charter has a strategic section that is for the next 5 years with aspirations - lofty goals for us to reach. We have completed this and want to share it with you.

We appreciate your feedback from our PB4L survey, and the whānau surveys this year with all your ideas to make Witherlea great. This is something we always endeavour to get better at and our new acting principal Symon Beattie is keen to work hard in this space in the next six months.

Symon met with the staff on the teachers-only day and with his experience in the principal role, he will no doubt do an amazing job steering the ship through these COVID waters that we are all experiencing and finding the next tumuaki for Witherlea School.

Lastly, thank you for sending the best kids you could each day to school. The reason why we are all so committed and turn up each day is because of them. They are each so wonderful and unique. I will miss them all and the way they live our motto; Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair - Kia Atawahai, Kia Ora, Kia Tika.

I look forward to seeing many of you before I leave this Friday and I do hope you have a wonderful holiday break with your whānau and come back safe in Term Three.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Andrea Harnett - Tumuaki

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Guiding Documents LINK - School Website

Here are our most important documents that guide our school; Charter, Targets, Financial Summaries and Data Reports.

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Welcome to Witherlea School

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

Conor F, Matilda H, Japheth N

Welcome to School Certificates are given out at our Flag Raising on a Monday morning at 9am. During Red Light, ONLY parents of New Students receiving Welcome Certificates can be onsite.

Term 2 Events - Wahanga Tuarua

Week 10 - Wiki Tekau


Monday 4 July

Mihi Whakatau Welcome - Flag Raising Hui (Top Court)

New Students, Early Words, Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair Awards

Tuesday 5 July

Cross Country

Friday 8 July

Subway School Lunches


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A HUGE thank you to Blenheim New World for their generosity to Witherlea School with all the supplies needed for the Kauri - Year 6 Sausage Sizzles. Such great learning for our young leaders and a great lunch option for the school!

Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair Shoutouts

Congratulations to these students who have displayed one or all of our school behaviour expectations and are a model to others;


Nash M - showing kindness to those in need


Isabella R - Bella is always happy for others to join in games and activites. She applies our school motto (Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair) in the classroom and playground. Tino Pai Rawa!!


Jonathan G - You are so kind and thoughtful to your classmates and teachers and help to make our class a happy place.

Early Words Recognition

Congratulations to these students for completing their Early Words;

Immy B, Finley P

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.

PB4L Community Survey

Thank you to those families who completed our ‘Ideal Student’ - Community Voice Survey.

We asked whanau to rank the five key characteristics in order of importance that would “ideally” be a defining characteristic of a Witherlea Student when they leave our school. We received 109 responses.

Thank you also for the suggestions of other characteristics that were important to you also but not listed in these five - one of the most reoccurring words was; CONFIDENCE.

We used this data at our recent Teacher’s Only Day as part of our PB4L - Positive Behaviour for Learning - professional development to discuss our School’s motto and where each of these characteristics sit in relation to Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair.

These were the final results from 109 responses.

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Over the last three years, Witherlea School has missed out on approximately $90K-$120K of fundraising with the loss of our wonderful Gala that was cancelled before the first lockdown in 2019 and has not returned due to COVID restrictions.

Many high decile schools are facing the same with 20% of their school funding coming from events like this and fundraising being lost. This cumulative effect is impacting everything we do and is causing deficit budgets.

So - we have a brand new initiative that is being generously supported by Blenheim New World.

We announce to our community first that we are starting the first Annual Witherlea Grocery Grab which is a raffle. There are four amazing prizes up for grabs....literally.

See the above sample tickets - please note this was the first sample and the dates have been changed.


  1. 2 minutes Trolley Run

  2. 1 minute 30 seconds second Trolley Run

  3. 1 minute Trolley Run

  4. 1 minute Trolley Run

The tickets will go on sale on Day 1 next term and each child will be given 15 to sell. All we are asking is that our whānau and families support this fundraiser each year and this should come close to getting back a fundraising stream that we never thought possible.

Student Prizes

If a child sells all their 15 tickets they will go into the draw for 50 spot prizes. if they want to and can sell more then they go into the draw for the below prizes;

  • TOP ticket seller (whole school); 30-second Grocery Grab

  • Top seller for each team; Ferns, Ponga, Kōwhai and Kauri ($50 Prezzie Card)

  • Second place seller each team; Ferns, Ponga, Kōwhai and Kauri ($25 Prezzie Card)

  • Top Class ticket sales (averaged); Pizza Lunch for the class

We will send out more information later this week and will be looking to create a team of WSPCG volunteers to collect money each day, give out extra tickets to students, sell tickets at New World, and purchase the student prizes. Let us know if you would like to help and support the school with this fundraiser! office@witherlea.school.nz

This has taken a lot of internal organisation and could not have happened without the generous support of Greg and Tineke at New World....we are so lucky to have them in our Witherlea community and Marlborough.

Please show your appreciation by shopping at New World and support us by spreading the word far and wide about this fun region-wide initiative!

Staff on Gumboot Friday

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