St Mary's School Term 3 Week 1


Newsletter 29th July 2021


Kia ora koutou, kumusta, talofa lava

Recently the government announced $10M in funding over the next 4 years to train approximately 4000 teachers in a structured literacy approach which has been trialed by the University of Canterbury over the past few years. The approach is called the Better Start Literacy Approach. Many of you may have already heard of this as at St Mary’s we have been using this approach from the beginning of term 2 in the junior school. Very early on I saw the benefits of this research and evidence-based approach for our learners at St Mary’s. We have paid for Mrs Nicola Anthony to be trained in this approach and she has been using it with our year 1 and 2 students for over a term. The fact that the government is now going to fund this for all schools vindicates our decision to adopt this approach early. As educators, we are constantly reviewing our teaching and learning programmes so that we can accelerate our students’ progress in all areas.

The Better Start Literacy Approach, is an integrated classroom literacy programme that supports students’ early reading, writing and oral language success. It incorporates vocabulary development using quality storybooks, structured teaching of critical phonological awareness skills and letter-sound knowledge through fun, game-based activities, activities making explicit links to the reading and spelling context, and structured small group reading sessions using the new Ready to Read – Phonics Plus early readers series. The Better Start Literacy Approach follows a phonics scope and sequence that is used in the class and small group reading teaching. We have found that the approach has already accelerated some students’ progress in learning to read so far.

Mā te Atua koe e manaaki, e tiaki

May God bless you and protect you

David O’Neill



29/07 Thursday NITA Rm3

01/08 Sunday KAYA Rm2
11/08 Wednesday ESTELLE Rm2; WRAYNE Rm3; FLORENCE Rm1

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School Finishes 2pm Monday 2 August for Parent/Student/Teacher Interviews

Please note the early finish time is only for Monday 2 August.

School will finish at the normal time of 3pm for interviews on both Tuesday 3 August and Wednesday 4 August.

Parent/Student/Teacher Interviews Availability

Arataki Team (Rooms 3,4,5) -All slots are booked out. If you have missed out and wish to make a time please email your child's teacher to arrange an alternate date and time for an interview.

Kotahitanga Team (Rooms 1,2)- There are still slots available. Please use the booking code that was sent via our school app alert last term to book a slot.

Mana Ake Parent Drop In - Monday 2 August 8.15am-8.45am

Mana Ake provides support for children aged 5 - 12 years across Canterbury. Mana Ake kaimahi (social workers) work with schools to support teachers, families and whānau when children are experiencing ongoing issues that impact their wellbeing such as anxiety, social isolation, parental separations, grief and loss and managing emotions.

If you have any concerns you would like to discuss with our kaimahi Alofa she will be available to meet in our learning centre, fortnightly on Mondays from 8.15am-8.45am beginning on Monday 2 August.

Jubilate Concert Friday 6 August - 7pm

Our Special Choir has been chosen to participate in the Catholic Schools’ Jubilate on Friday 6th August at the Town Hall. We are very lucky to have been invited to perform items as part of this concert. Join us in a memorable event celebrating sacred music performed by more than 600 students from 25 schools across the Christchurch Catholic Diocese.Schools will be represented from the West Coast, South, Mid and North Canterbury, as well as Christchurch city. Experience a timeless, beautiful repertoire which dates back more than a thousand years, along with more recent compositions. Choirs will sing in English, Latin, and Maori, recognising our heritage and tradition.

We require our Special Choir students to be at school no later than 8.25am on Friday 6 August so that we can walk to the Town Hall for rehearsal.

Book free tickets to the concert here

Religious Education Newsletter Term 3 2021

Faith Fact

On Monday the Church celebrated Sts Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The couple's faith and perseverance brought them through the sorrow of childlessness, to the joy of conceiving and raising the immaculate and sinless woman who would give birth to Christ.

Teacher Only Days for 2021

Friday 27 August

Monday 15 November

School Polar Fleece

Our school polar fleece can be purchased from the school office at a cost of $50.00. Payment can be made with cash or via internet banking.

Pre Enrolment of Siblings

The number of spaces remaining on our school roll in the upcoming years is limited. If you have a child that you would like to attend St Mary’s that you haven’t already advised us about can you please make sure you talk to Mr O’Neill or Mrs Odams otherwise there may be no space for your child.

Closing of School Gate

Please ensure that when you enter and leave the school grounds you shut the school gate properly after you - thank you. This is to ensure the safety of all of our students.

Carpark Safety

A reminder to all parents/caregivers to reduce speed in our driveway and carpark areas to ensure the safety of our students as they walk down the drive or across the carpark.

Student Absence

Please remember to send the office a notification via the school app if your child is away from school. If your child is going to be away for a planned reason such as an appointment or holiday during term time you can advise us in advance with the dates and reason for their absence.
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Sacrament of Confirmation - Year 8 Students

If you would like your Year 8 child to make their Confirmation please contact Clare Bell as soon as possible. As lessons begin next week it is urgent to register now.

Confirmation will be on Saturday 4th September.

The student programme will run in August on Monday evenings with a retreat day on the 15th August.

Register here

Please make sure you read all the information in the registration form so you know what you are committing to.

Altar Servers Needed Urgently for 11am Masses

Altar Servers are needed for the 11am Masses at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral. Training will be provided. Students aged 10 and over who have made their First Communion are invited to put their names forward.

Once they have been trained they will be rostered on only once a month. If you would like your child to take up this very important ministry in the church please phone Sam and Paul Eastwood (027 282 1093) or email

Latest Diocesan Inform Magazine

Click here to read the latest news from around the Christchurch Diocese.

Attendance Dues

Each term the parish email invoice to families for attendance dues. Please note that the bank account number for making payments has changed. Their new bank account number is: 03-1592-0207236-22.

Attendance dues are compulsory for all students who attend catholic schools in NZ. For 2021 attendance dues have been set at $412 per year or $103 per term. For budgeting purposes families are welcome to pay weekly or monthly.

Upcoming Events


  • MANA AKE PARENT DROP IN- Monday 2 August 8.15am - 8.45am (Learning Centre)
  • PARENT/STUDENT/TEACHER INTERVIEWS- Monday 2 August 2.10pm - 7pm
  • PARENT/STUDENT/TEACHER INTERVIEWS- Tuesday 3 August 3.10pm - 7pm
  • PARENT/STUDENT/TEACHER INTERVIEWS- Wednesday 4 August 3.10pm - 5.30pm
  • KOTAHITANGA TEAM MASS- Thursday 5 August 9.15am
  • YEAR 7&8 SPORT- Thursday 5 August
  • JUBILATE - SPECIAL CHOIR- Friday 6 August - 7pm Evening Performance
  • LIBRARY VAN- Wednesday 11 August
  • ARATAKI TEAM MASS- Thursday 12 August 9.15am
  • YEAR 7&8 SPORT- Thursday 12 August
  • SCHOOL/PARISH MASS- Sunday 15 August 9.30am
  • MANA AKE PARENT DROP IN- Monday 16 August 8.15am - 8.45am (Learning Centre)
  • YEAR 7&8 SPORT- Thursday 19 August
  • KOTAHITANGA TEAM MASS- Thursday 26 August 9.15am
  • MANA AKE PARENT DROP IN- Monday 30 August 8.15am - 8.45am (Learning Centre)


  • ARATAKI TEAM MASS- Thursday 2 September 9.15am
  • MANA AKE PARENT DROP IN- Monday 13 September 8.15am - 8.45am (Learning Centre)
  • LIBRARY VAN- Wednesday 15 September
  • KOTAHITANGA TEAM MASS- Thursday 16 September 9.15am
  • ARATAKI TEAM MASS- Thursday 23 September 9.15am
  • MANA AKE PARENT DROP IN- Monday 27 September 8.15am - 8.45am (Learning Centre)


  • END OF TERM 3- Friday 1 October- School finishes 3pm
  • START OF TERM 4- Monday 18 October 9am

Lunchonline - Subway or Sushi on Fridays

If you would like to order your child’s lunch for delivery on Fridays this can be done via Lunchonline. You can click on the lunchonline image or link below to take you directly to their website or login to . Follow the instructions to create an account if you don’t already have one. Food must be ordered before 8.30am on Friday. If you already have an account you can update your child’s classroom by logging on and clicking on Members.

School App

If you haven’t downloaded our school app please do so as this is our primary means of communication with our school community. This is very important as if you do not have the app downloaded you may miss out on important information. If you require any assistance to download it please ask at the school office.