Week 6 Term 2 Panui

Monday/Rāhina - 7th June 2022

Principal Message

Kia ora koutou Witherlea whānau,

We are in CRISIS mode across New Zealand, in Marlborough and to a certain degree at Witherlea School. We have the lowest rates of attendance that we have seen EVER. The national average is at 62% and Marlborough is at 68%. COVID is responsible for some of this with students needing multiple isolations times due to COVID hitting whānau and families more than once, we have had a series of Lockdowns in the last 2-3 years and all this has interrupted and disrupted learning, engagement, community involvement and the essence of going to school EVERY DAY.

Some whānau/families have thought school is unsafe and as we grapple with the new sense of normal and that COVID is here to stay we are tasked with getting back to school EVERY DAY because EVERY DAY MATTERS.

For students to gain the numerous benefits of school, attendance is critical. Attending school helps set children up for life. Principals and their boards and staff help ensure that students, parents and caregivers all take student attendance seriously and that children go to school unless they are sick.

Nationally, the past few years have seen substantial drops in the number of students going to school ‘regularly’.* Alongside a trend of high absences on Mondays and Fridays and nearing the end of term, there has been a worrying rise in the number of absences due to reported ‘illness’ and an equally worrying rise in the number of students who report ‘skipping’ school.

*‘Regular’ attendance is defined for statistical purposes as 90% attendance or higher. However, Ministry analysis shows there is no ‘safe’ level of non-attendance; every day matters. Every day at school has a cumulative impact on students’ learning. A child with an average of 90% attendance will miss the equivalent of one year of schooling in ten.

Using the current rates of 62% this would amount to four years of learning/schooling missed out of ten for our students across New Zealand. At Witherlea School some of our current rates are below 50%. This is not just detrimental to the individual student, this is detrimental to society as a whole as we have large groups of youth underachieving and disengaged who will become our adults who should be entering the workforce.

This is our current PROCESS at Witherlea School;

  1. If attendance drops below 90% - the teacher to make contact with caregivers
  2. If attendance remains low - the teacher to make a plan with whānau/family
  3. If attendance drops below 80% - principal to make contact wth caregivers
  4. If attendance remains low - an official attendance letter sent home to whānau/family for a hui/meeting and truancy service can be actioned at this time
  5. If Truancy Service is called upon they will meet with whānau/family to make a plan

IMPORTANT; must state a REASON with an absence as this is directly reported to the Ministry of Education - if NO reason is given your child will be marked UNJUSTIFIED.

Below is information directly from the Ministry website to support parents and caregivers to understand the importance of attendance and how we can team up to support children, whānau and families. LINK to website.

Does my child have to go to school every day?

Yes, your child must go to school every day. Under the Education and Training Act 2020, parents and carers of school children up to 16 years old can be prosecuted if their child is away from school without a good reason.

Why do they need to go every day?

Going to school every day really is the key to getting the best out of school because:

  • it sets up good habits for going to school right from day one
  • learning to read, write and do maths takes a lot of practice and is easier to master if your child goes to school regularly
  • each day is a chance to learn something new
  • school offers your child regular, dedicated help to master the many skills they need
  • it teaches your child life skills like commitment, being reliable, having a good work ethic and sticking with things when they get hard.

What about my five-year-old?

Even though you don’t legally have to enrol your child at school until they turn six, most children in New Zealand start school when they are five.

Once your child has started school they need to attend every day. School used to be compulsory from age six, but the law changed in July 2017, and now children need to attend every day from when they first start school.

If your child is going to be away from school for any reason you should always follow the school’s process to let them know. They need to know the reason that your child is away and that they are safe.

What if my child needs to be away from school?

Your child should go to school every day. But sometimes they might need to be away from school because they are too sick to attend, have an appointment or need to be at a tangi or funeral.

If your child is going to be away from school you should let the school know as soon as possible. Check what your school’s process is for letting them know about absences. You will need to let them know that your child will be away, why and for how long.

Your child’s safety and wellbeing is a priority for the school. If your child doesn’t turn up to school they will be concerned for their safety. If the school doesn’t hear from you, they will get in touch with you to make sure your child is okay.

If your child is going to be away for several days, talk to their teacher about getting some work to do while they are away, so that they don’t fall behind in class.

Can I take my child out of school during term time to go on holiday?

No, a holiday is not a good enough reason to take your child out of school, so holidays should be planned outside of term time.

Events like a birthday or a special day’s shopping aren’t considered valid reasons for being away from school either.

What can I do to make sure my child is going to school?

The key here is to make school the priority. There are things you can do at home, and things you can work side by side with the school on.

At home

  • talk to your children about why it is important to go to school every day – ask them what they want to be in the future. Their education is the key to doing well in life
  • be positive about school
  • set good habits about going to school from day one
  • prepare your children the night before school - make sure they have done their homework
  • have a good morning routine that gets them to school on time, relaxed and with everything they need
  • don't let them have the day off just because they would rather be at home
  • keep absences due to sickness to times when your child is actually sick - don't keep them at home when you know that they are just nervous about school – talk to the school who can help your child overcome this
  • know about your child's school life – ask questions, listen to your child. This will make it easier to pick up on any issues they might be having
  • keep family holidays outside of term-time, as every day at school is an opportunity to build skills, and repetition is critical for learning – especially for primary school children
  • don’t overload them – school may be exhausting for your child so make sure they have some downtime after school to relax and have a break.

Working with the school

  • build a strong relationship with the school and teachers to improve communication – it’s easier to talk to them if a problem arises
  • get involved with the school – volunteer for parent help, go on school trips, and help out on the PTA. It helps you to get to know the teacher and the school, and it shows your child that you prioritise their schooling
  • learn your school’s process for letting them know about absences, and contact them as soon as you know your child is not going to be at school that day
  • talk to the teacher or principal if your child is reluctant to go to school, and work together to problem-solve.

What can I do if my child refuses to go to school?

This can be really upsetting. Talk to your child about why they don’t want to go. Be supportive. There may be a reason, like:

  • not getting on with some of the other children
  • bullying
  • feeling too much pressure in their learning
  • a health issue, like wetting their pants
  • a problem with their teacher or another staff member

Talk to your child’s teacher or principal straight away. Whatever the reason, you won’t be the first parent to talk to the school about that type of situation. Your school will have some good advice, and you’ll be able to work together to help your child.

If you have a really serious concern about a teacher or other staff member or suspect your child is in danger you can contact the Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Education Council or the New Zealand Police.

Our aim at Witherlea is to have a safe and happy environment where students are supported to REACH their POTENTIAL. This does not mean they will be HAPPY all the time or that learning will be easy...it means that we will work with you to make the best plans we can so that your child finds success in their way.

This starts with coming EVERY DAY that they can.

Our composite class structure supports the development of deep dyadic relationships where students, teachers, whānau and family get an opportunity to learn with and from one another for up to two years. These relationships form the basis of understanding the learner and ultimately lead to the best outcomes.

This year our teachers have reported success with learners who they have had from 2021 as the learning has been seamless, the students understand all the classroom routines, and the student's confidence has grown which is key to unlocking learning.

We look forward to seeing the rates of attendance at Witherlea rise as we make our way th5rough the PEAK of COVID.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Andrea Harnett - Tumuaki

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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;

Sofie P, Alok J, Riley A, Lehan V

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 6 - Wiki Tuaono


Friday 10 June

Subway School Lunches

Week 7 - Wiki Tuawhitu


Fundamentals @ Stadium 2000 (All week)

Ferns Team: Pukeko Room, Room 3 and Room 5

Monday 13 June

Mihi Whakatau Welcome - Flag Raising Hui (Top Court)

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

Thursday 16 June

Playhouse Theatre presents; The Emperors New Clothes

Friday 17 June

Subway School Lunches

Week 8 - Wiki Tuawaru

MON 20 June - FRI 24 JUNE

Monday 20 June

Mihi Whakatau Welcome - Flag Raising Hui (Top Court)

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

Tuesday 21 June

Marlborough Rippa Tournament - Lansdown Park

Enviro Group Tree Planting - Wither Hills

Thursday 23 June

Matariki Hikoi and Hui @ 7am (Top Court)

Open Classes @ 8:15am

Friday 24 June


Week 9 - Wiki Tuaiwa


Monday 27 June

SCHOOL CLOSED - Term 1 Teachers Learning Day

Tuesday 28 June

Whole School Cross Country

Friday 1 July

Subway School Lunches

Ferns (Year 1) Reports go home


Mental Health Awareness

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 Postponement Day

Friday 8 July

Subway School Lunches



At Witherlea School we have dedicated ONE day per term to our teachers and whole staff LEARNING. This means that we start the year earlier than other schools and finish later so that we can use FOUR days for concentrated learning together across the year.

The number of school days that we are required to be open is 384 for 2022. The Ministry states these many years in advance and our Board assures this each year in Term 3 for the following year. Here is the LINK. We have to factor in ALL holidays, and all proposed Teacher Only Days to ensure we are open for the correct number.

This year and next the major focus is PB4L; Positive Behaviour for Learning. We are learning about WHY behaviour happens, WHAT we can do consistently across the school and SETTING up SYSTEMS that are easy to follow and understand for; students, teachers, whānau and families. This will promote and create a much safer and positive environment for all.

At the moment our SchoolDocs site is reviewing BEHAVIOUR - your input is valuable if you have time;

  1. Go to SchoolDocs - LINK
  2. Username: Witherlea
  3. Password: kind
  4. Go to CURRENT REVIEWS at the top of the page
  5. Select Behaviour
  6. Use the Red 'Under Review' button
  7. Select your role in the school
  8. Put in any changes and/or feedback (SchoolDocs and the BOT will look at this to make enhancements to our site)

The upcoming Teachers Only Day is on Monday 27th June following the first Matariki Public Holiday on Friday 24th June. We have combined this as it assists many families who wish to take a long weekend with their whānau/family.

Please note on a Teachers Only Day school is officially CLOSED.

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;


Finn L - Being an honest and kind friend. Keep up the great work Finn!

Arjun G - Being a kind friend to all your classmates!


Oisin S - Always applying our school values in the classroom and in the playground. Oisin you are also so respectful to everyone and everything around you!! Ka rawe - Awesome!

Bria C - Being kind and thoughtful, you always offer your knowledge and wisdom to those around you usually with a huge smile on your face.

Sienna W - You are always so considerate and thoughtful towards the other children and adults in our team and this is noticed and appreciated. Thank you Sienna!

Josh W - You turn up to school each day with a big smile and excellent manners, you are very welcoming to new students. Ka pai!


Zoey S - Being kind to her friends and always including others.

Early Words Recognition

Congratulations to these students for completing their Early Words;

Luka S

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.

Junk Shed Items

Our Witherlea Junk Shed is in need of some good quality recycled items for our students to reuse and recycle.

Items such as cardboard boxes and containers of all shapes and sizes, lids, tops, cardboard tubes and any other items that you would usually put into your recycling bin. Classes of all ages use these items and anything else you think would be good for crafting and creating. These can be left in Room 12 for sorting.

A reminder that the seniors are also collecting plastic bread tags that are collected for fundraising for wheelchairs in South Africa.

Matariki Glow Show


Open PDF for more info.

Scout Group

The Marlborough Scout Zone is looking for Adult Leaders to assist in running Scouting in Marlborough. If you would like to learn more please register here, https://tinyurl.com/ScoutsIntro to take the first step in joining an exciting Outdoors Adventurous program, and the chance to positively influence the youth of Marlborough.

Orange Flags - Stay off the Grass!

Flags are placed on the edge of the grass on days when it is too wet. Please stay off the grass and use the concrete pathway.
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