Week 9 Term 1 Panui

Tuesday/Rātu - 29th March 2022

Principal Message

Kia ora koutou Witherlea whānau,

What a hectic couple of weeks we have had at Witherlea and across the country. We have completed our Whānau Hui - Parent Teacher Interviews, Six Week Hui for our Ferns Team (NE-Year 1) and have seen huge changes flagged for our country with COVID-19 mandates and traffic light changes (see a dedicated COVID update section below and a link to our school website).

The teachers in Years 2-6 were delighted with the response from our whānau and loved engaging in learning conversations regarding your children. Thank you to all the parents who committed to this engagement. We prioritised these at school like we do every year with an Early Finish and you all support us with this. We would love to get some feedback regarding the phone interviews and the sheet we sent out prior to support the hui and the upcoming reports.

The Ferns Team also engaged with their whānau onsite with the six-week meetings for our New Entrant to Year 1 whānau. These hui are so essential so we can team up together and support all our learners to reach their potential.

Property Update

We have our new fenced perimeter of the school which now brings it up to current Health and Safety specifications and standards for New Zealand schools which will support some of our most vulnerable learners.

We implore you to speak to your children about staying off these gates. We have noticed that children are climbing to try and open. This will break our fences costing the school for the fix-up. We have told ALL children to stay off them in school but we ask you to follow this up at home, at our gates and remind any children you see.

Our CAR PARK is now off-limits to everyone except staff (and specific whānau) and this will ensure our students are safe from vehicles that come in and out during the day. You have five entries to pick from including our newest beside the hall that will take you to the Ferns Area. We DO NOT want children walking through the car park so this needs to be modelled by the adults in the community.

We have a new outdoor classroom to be built in April which will provide a dedicated space for Edible Gardens, for classrooms to use as they investigate sustainability at Witherlea and connect learning to our; worm farm and butterfly garden which links to our EnviroSchools philosophy. It will be positioned next to our sawdust pit.

All going well, as we head into Term Two with the Traffic Light changes we will reinstate our wonderful Mihi Whakatau Flag Raising, welcome our new students and whānau each Monday morning on the top court and have our community back through the gates for events like; Matariki, Cross Country and our famous Whānau Open Days where you get to see through the classrooms.

Until then, take care of yourself and your whānau.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Andrea Harnett - Tumuaki

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COVID Update

The Ministry has let us know that the COVID-19 data for Nelson is used to predict the case numbers in Blenheim and we should expect a rise in cases this week coming and the following.

Ms Harnett is officially in isolation (household contact) however working from home. This does mean our office is stretched with Mrs WiRepa also at home as a household contact. Mr Funnell, Mrs Sim and our wonderful staff are pulling together however to support them please ensure you txt or phone the office for all absentees. If it is non-urgent don't come in and if you, your children or a household member tests positive let the school know - we send all this information to the Ministry.

Mr Funnell can be emailed at; philf@witherlea.school.nz

We still remain vigilant at Witherlea.

This being said we have updated our website and now have a dedicated COVID-19 page for information, links, support and learning. If your children or child tests positive or anyone in the household please email the office and their classroom teacher. We send this information directly to the MInistry each day.

The main aim throughout 2022 is to keep our school gates OPEN however there could come a time when either teachers and/or adults in the school are at home in isolation and the students are not. The school, with the Board of Trustees, will make the best (safest decisions) which may result in a number of actions listed below;

  • Classes split across one another (could result in larger groups)
  • Teacher Aides or adult volunteers used in the Teacher role
  • Specific classes asked to learn from home - hybrid (BOT decision)
  • School only open for essential workers (BOT decision - last resort)

These are some of the options we have and will signal to our community via SchoolApp and Seesaw when numbers are rising in both staff and student cohorts so that you can make plans.

On Wednesday 23rd March Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced changes to the COVID-19 settings and Protection Framework, which will affect kura/schools.

The changes will be phased in and include:

  1. Removing the limits for outdoor gatherings = Friday 25th March 11.59pm
  2. Raising the limit for indoor gatherings to 200 = Friday 25th March 11.59pm
  3. Removing of the requirements around vaccinations, vaccination passes and contact tracing = Monday 4th April, 11.59am

We have and are doing an amazing job at Witherlea as a community. We will as a school look at the changes above but may not action them immediately as we are behind the country in the wave of cases.

We currently have four staff members who are in isolation as household contacts however we know this will rise. Our student numbers have just risen above 50 however we are seeing students who are going into their second round of isolation from further household positive cases. We still need to make the best decisions to keep our students, staff and community safe.

We seem to have a very slow burn and this could be to do with the state of the art heating, cooling and ventilation system that the BOT and Ministry installed 2 years ago. It has CO2 meters in it and it is the latest VRV system. We knew we were lucky when we had this ducted system put throughout the school but it may be a significant factor in the zero to low rates of transmission at Witherlea.

Read the Stuff article below that talks about this.

Stuff Article: Ventilation Systems (Click to Read)

Witherlea School had a state of the art VRV ventilation system installed for the start of the 2020 school year. Thanks to Jen Sim and the Board!

Term 1 Events - Wahanga Tuatahi

Week 9 - Wiki Tuaiwa


Monday 28th March

SCHOOL CLOSED - Term 1 Teachers Learning Day (TOD)

Tuesday 30th March

Flag Raising Hui over the loudspeaker

Friday 1st April

Subway School Lunches

Week 10 - Wiki Tekau


Monday 4th April

Flag Raising Hui - TBC

School Photographs

Friday 8th April

Subway School Lunches

Week 11 - Wiki Tekau ma Tahi


Monday 11th April

Flag Raising Hui - TBC

Thursday 14th April

Subway School Lunches

Lunch with the Principal = Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Fair WINNERS


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We began our journey as a PB4L school this term and have sent the PB4L Schoolwide Team and Leaders on training days and used our Term 1: Teachers Only Day to ensure ALL our staff started their training. This is an initiative that is funded by the Ministry of Education and we are among six Marlborough Schools to win this professional learning and development opportunity.

Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiatives help parents, whānau, teachers, early childhood centres, schools and Kura address behaviour, improve children's well-being, and increase educational achievement.

By strengthening relationships and creating a more positive home and school environment, we remove barriers to engagement and improve students' chances to achieve at school and beyond.

PB4L is a systematic approach involving a suite of initiatives. These include universal whole-school change initiatives, targeted group programmes, and individual student support services.

We will regularly update our community regarding our progress and any learning which leads to either a change at school or where we need your input to make the best decision.

Find out more information About PB4L

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;


Hunter Martin - For always showing kindness to others. Hunter, you are a role model and a star in our Pukeko Room. Ka Pai!


Quin Cresswell - For being a kind class member who helps others on their learning journey!

Marialucy Tuneti - You are such a kind and caring person Marialucy. You always think of others first, showing patience and understanding. Ka Rawe!


Riley Pope - For showing kindness and compassion to others ALL the time. You are a wonderful role model!

Early Words Recognition

Congratulations to these students for completing their Early Words;

Charlotte M, Beau B

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.

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Digital Author Visit

What a cool way to have the famous New Zealand author, Matt Owens, via the digital platform. All Witherlea School children got to see, and hear Matt read his own story, "The Story of Swoop",

The Story of Swoop

Heart-warming internet sensation! A true story of animal rescue and release. When firefighter Matt stopped to rescue a lost magpie chick, a very special friendship unfolded.

A huge thanks to Mrs Moran for setting this up.

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