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Are you free tonight to pop into school and help decorate cupcakes for tomorrows Whānau evening? We will be in the school staff room from 5 – 10pm spatulas in hand if you are bored pop in at any point for as long as you can! Any help will be extremely appreciated!

Cupcakes will be available at the event tomorrow- Gluten & Dairy Free available - koha welcome

Week 7 Term 3 Newsletter SFDS Wednesday 07 September


Kia ora e te whānau

We are really looking forward to meeting you all at our Whanau evening tomorrow! It is lovely to hear at the gate that parents and caregivers are also looking forward to the community event. The children have all been practising so that they all have something to share with you.

No need to cook a big dinner tonight as a sausage sizzle will be provided - FREE TO YOU! We just want to bring everyone together again.

SFDS Official Facebook Page

It’s Official! We now have a school facebook page. The purpose of this (public) page is to celebrate our school! We love sharing our news and showcasing our ākonga. We enjoy receiving feedback from our families, friends and the wider community and encourage all comments to be made in a respectful way in line with our own school values. Any comments that do not celebrate our school or follow our values will be removed.

Make sure to ‘like’ our page so that you can enjoy the updates too!

*Please note - This fb page does not replace our main forms of communication - the school newsletter and Friday updates. Please contact us by phone or email if you have questions, as the page is not for this purpose either.

Structured Literacy

Today Sarah, Chris, Sandra and I took part in an information session about the Structured Literacy approach.

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Structured Literacy is explicit, systematic teaching that focuses on phonological awareness, word recognition, phonics and decoding, spelling, and syntax at the sentence and paragraph levels (Google). It recognises that our brains need to ‘decode’ text, making connections between different parts of the brain when making sense of reading. Decoding and understanding language allows us to comprehend what we read.

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This systematic approach is being promoted by the Ministry of Education to address low levels of literacy across the country. Here is an article published in the Education Gazette about Structured Literacy in one of our fellow catholic schools in Wanaka. Here is some more detailed information from the Ministry of Education about ways that Structured Literacy supports learners who have dyslexia.

Currently we have several forms of the structured literacy approach being introduced across SFDS: Better Start Literacy Approach (Year 1 literacy), Phonics Teaching (Year 1-3) The Code (spelling). As we learn more, we will refine our approach and find ways of sharing progress with you, as the first teachers of your child/ren.

Reporting Review

As you know, we have been reviewing our reporting processes and platforms to make sure we meet the changing needs of our community - and provide the information that is helpful to you, as our parents and caregivers. This week, we are exploring other ways that schools report - looking at paper and online, real-time, options.

We are considering the following aspects - taken from our family surveys, school documentation and requirements of the Ministry of Education.

Most important aspects of our reporting for our parents / caregivers:

1. progress in learning

2=. attitude to learning and willingness to participate

2=. regular updates about your child's goals, progress, successes and challenges

3. where their child sits in relation to others / year group / curriculum

4. social and emotional wellbeing

We are committed to within our Charter / Curriculum:

  • Our Catholic Character as our key focus - through our values

  • Supporting our learners to develop critical thinking skills, be problem-solvers, and understand how they learn, as a basis for improved educational outcomes.

  • embracing our multicultural community

  • Curious, creative, inquiring and reflective learners

  • ākonga being self managing their learning

  • Collaborating to successfully meet challenges and solve problems

  • Hauora - wellbeing

  • every ākonga is capable of learning and experiencing success

  • Kaiako will identify and continuously monitor the learning of their ākonga

  • Learning and teaching practices are culturally sustaining - affirming individuality, diversity, progress & achievement

  • Inquiry Learning

  • Learning Through Play

  • Structured Literacy and Numeracy progress

  • Thinking Tools Framework

MoE have the following reporting requirements:

  • plain language

  • at least twice a year in writing (can be digital)

  • across The National Curriculum, including in mathematics and literacy

  • ensure that good quality assessment information is communicated

Other considerations:

  • Are we doing too much / enough?

  • How can reporting fall naturally from learning and teaching, rather than being an 'add on'?

  • How can we facilitate any changes in a way that everyone's Hauora is nurtured?

  • If we change format, how can we help parents to adjust to new ways of reporting?

Before the end of Term 3, we will let you know what our decision is, going forward. Please note that any changes will be implemented in 2023. If there is any need to communicate significant changes, we will do this in Term 4.

See you tomorrow evening! Be early for a free sausage!

Take care, kind regards and God bless

Mary-Angela Tombs

Newsletter proudly sponsored by

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We are looking forward to Grandparents day coming up! Invitations have been sent out by the tamariki welcoming all grandparents (or anyone who can step in) to join us on Monday 26 September at 9.15am. It will be an exciting day as the children will have the chance to show their grandparents their classroom and after the grandparents can stay for some tea and coffee.


Thank you to those who have reached out to me about getting your child baptized! I am still putting the feelers out there so if you are interested in getting your child baptized through the school please contact me via email ( or come and talk to me in Room 3.


Wow! How cool did everyone look for Wig Wednesday. Congratulations to those who took home the prize for the most exciting wig/hair do.

Thank you for supporting such a great cause! If you have yet to donate you can go on to kindo at any time for the rest of the week and donate.

Madeline Smith


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Pink Shoes to the Vatican – What’s it all about?

On 19 September 1893, 129 years ago, women in Aotearoa New Zealand won the right to vote, endorsing their human and God-given right to participate fully in society. Yet, Catholic women still do not have the right to participate fully in the life of the church. Therefore, we are protesting at being excluded from authorised leadership and decision-making within the Church.

So, on Sunday 18 September from 12-2pm, we will create an installation from the steps of Parliament made up of the shoes of hundreds of Catholic women who have gone before us, walking and working invisibly, heading towards Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hill Street.

Please join us at Parliament to offer your support and appreciation of all that Catholic women have contributed to the church in Aotearoa over the decades. Thank you.

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The latest Scholastic Book club brochures are being sent home last week. Please follow the payment instructions on the back of the brochure. Orders must be submitted online before Friday 16 September We are unable to accept CASH or CHEQUE payments as these cannot be sent through the mail. You can order online by visiting , when ordering online. Please DO NOT return any forms or payment to the school. If you have any questions please see Chris in room 7.


Thank you to all the families that have paid or are making payments towards their school donations and charges for activities. Requests for payment to those with outstanding amounts will be sent out later this week and we would appreciate your payment of these as soon as possible.

While we acknowledge payment of the donations are voluntary; we rely on these donations to provide facilities for the children.

If you have any queries, or if payment at this time causes difficulty, please speak to Suzanne in the office to arrange payment options


September is Bee Awareness Month so this week honey cakes and broccoli stir fry was on the menu.

The gardening group looked for bees! The class learned that bees communicate to each other by dancing a figure 8 and waggling their bottoms to find nectar rich plants.

The group also planted carrots, sugar snap peas & snow peas.


On Tuesday evening a group of Ranginui ākonga represented SFDS at the Wellington region Mathswell Challenge. Students were asked to solve a variety of multi-choice and problem solving activities. Although the tasks proved challenging, a great evening was had by all.
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This cup is awarded weekly to a St Francis de Sales student who demonstrates exemplary service to our kura and our community.

A huge congratulations to the wonderful Malesh P who is this week's recipient of our ‘Principal ‘s Cup’!

Malesh has been spotted being generous to others by sharing his smile and being a wonderful friend to all.

The following products are available though your school KINDO account

For information on how to get to KINDO Click here to view. From there you are able to pay your school donations, (there is an option to make part payments) uniform and any other school charges or sign ups for sports and extra actvities.

Supporting other children through Kindo
Kindo is adding a new feature to your myKindo portal enabling you to gift to others... starting with KidsCan. You will be able to buy lunch, shop and pay for our school items as normal, and you will now see some KidsCan donation offers on the checkout page.
Kindo will provide the donation receipts so you can claim back the 33% tax rebate – or sign up to TaxGift or Supergenerous to gift the rebate too.
If you have any questions or feedback, please email

Term 3 Policies and Procedures due for review

In term three, the focus is on the Student Wellbeing and Safety sections.

Student Wellbeing and Safety

Staff Wellbeing and Safety

Please feel free to have a look at this on the Schooldocs site and give us your feedback.

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Our upcoming October holiday programme is open for bookings!! We’re so excited, come

and join our Kelly Club Team for the best holidays yet!!

Kelly Club Island Bay Holiday Programmes focus on giving children aged between 5 and 13

the opportunity to do things they enjoy in a safe, supportive, and encouraging environment.

Our programme these holidays is jam-packed with fun activities for the kids, we have some

awesome days planned: We’ll be having Time Travellers Day, Kiwiana Day, Spy Academy,

Island Getaway Day, and more…We also have some amazing trip days planned too, we’ll

be off to Awesome Bounce, Space Place, Roller Skating, and Zealandia.

Check out our Activity planner for more information and secure your place now by visiting:

You can also contact us for more information by emailing us at or

give us a call at 022 198 6316


Music Holiday Programmes

Are you looking for a holiday programme that is suited to creative and musical children? Busking trips to build their confidence, songwriting sessions to unlock their creativity and lots of fun activities. Perfect for singers, guitarists and keyboard players. Beginners to advanced. Contact us today. or 021 565 750.

October 2022:

From Monday the 3rd of October to Friday the 7th of July. 8:45 am until 3:30 pm.



Join us at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve for Conservation Week this weekend 10th – 11th September

To celebrate Conservation Week, we have a weekend full of conservation focused family fun with face painting, sausage sizzle, coffee cart, a pre-loved clothing sale fundraiser and Eel feeding at 11am and 2pm. You can also meet our cheeky birds and rare reptiles with free Expert and Ranger talks on kaka, kereru, kakariki, tuatara, geckos, skinks, ruru and dactylanthus. We’re holding free demonstrations on composting, worm farming, bokashi and pest trapping. See our website for more info.

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