Dear parents and caregivers,
What a rollercoaster of a year! Our students enjoyed the entire of Term 2 in a classroom environment despite the presence of COVID19 globally. We commenced remote learning during Term 3 and are continuing as Term 4 progresses.
We have a number of updates to share with you including an overview of the student experience, changes to measures of student achievement that include forgoing school-wide PAT testing this year, an update on finances and details of the new classrooms that will be constructed over the coming weeks to address the current shortfall of teaching spaces.
We are acutely aware of the challenges this year has presented. We thank the teachers, parents and caregivers for their continued efforts to support the education and the wellbeing of Kohimarama School learners.
The change to remote learning has impacted us all. Teaching staff for example have observed that in a physical classroom environment teachers and learner assistants are able to provide live feedback to learners whereas the remote learning upload-review-feedback cycle takes longer. The school has deployed all its available staff including part time teachers and learner assistants to support students. The school has now settled into the remote learning paradigm and steps are being taken to continue to improve support to learners.
Despite the obvious challenges of remote learning there have been some positives:
- Kohimarama School has comparatively small class sizes. Our students benefit from this when in the classroom and also learning remotely.
- Our school is progressive in its use of technology by students and also by staff to teach and communicate. We are fortunate to already have SchoolTalk and other digital platforms in place that have enabled us to transfer to a remote learning environment with minimal friction.
- Teaching staff have also observed that having similar topics, such as weather, applied simultaneously across different curriculum levels has enabled entire families to engage in discovery about a topic.
- The majority of our learners and teachers and learners started the year together in a classroom. This helped teachers to get to know students and establish rapport before the transition to remote learning. Starting the year in the classroom also really helped students to develop bonds and friendships with each other that have endured through lockdown.
The board’s most important responsibility is for student achievement. The school uses a range of assessment tools to assess both individual performance and school-wide performance. A review was conducted by the school earlier this year to ensure the most appropriate assessment tools are being used. It is important we maintain a healthy balance between energy applied to learning and energy applied to assessment.
Individual performance assessments are primarily for the benefit of learners along with parents and caregivers; the school recently shared examples of the format of these reports. School-wide testing provides important data to identify school-wide trends over several years and enabling the school to refine its approach. This is not a normal year and the learning experience for children learning remotely can vary significantly; therefore we are not performing school-wide PAT testing this year.
From an academic perspective we have some reassurance that performance during 2020 was not significantly impacted by the change to remote learning. Of course our school is not alone; learning at other schools across Auckland and in many nations have also been impacted.
Our school relies on the goodwill of families who provide donations and other support each year. The donations are primarily used to fund education resources beyond the base level provided by the Ministry of Education. We are grateful for donations received this year. In total 78% of donations have been received which is an excellent result given not all families are in a position to do so.
School donations are generally tax deductible. We have an arrangement with a TaxGift that enables donors to gift the tax credit associated with their school donation back to the school. It is free for individuals to use the TaxGift service. Individuals can now opt in to donating their tax credit to the school by registering with TaxGift here: https://
Registering for TaxGift takes only a couple of minutes and the school would be able to fund the equivalent of two full time learner assistants if all donors used TaxGift. All of our parent board members have registered already. Thank you for signing up now if you haven’t already.
We are grateful for the hard work by the PTA who have run a series of successful and enjoyable fund raising events this year including the colour run and quiz night.
Each year the board and school work together to set the budget for the year ahead. The recommended donation is currently set at $495/child and this has not changed in recent years. The recommended donation level will be reviewed along with all other aspects of as we commence planning for 2022.
The Board and school have worked together with the Ministry of Education throughout the year to resolve our current shortfall of teaching spaces. To address our needs a single story modular classroom block is scheduled to be delivered and constructed on site in the coming weeks.
We are fortunate to be receiving a brand new modular building. This has enabled the school to specify requirements such as sinks in the teaching space and a toilet facility to address our needs. The building itself is 25m long and encapsulates a learning area of approximately 165m2 which is of generous proportions compared to our existing learning environments. The learning area opens out onto a wide covered deck that will offer shade and protection from the elements. This modular block is intended to cover roll growth until a permanent solution is implemented.
The block will be situated along the Kohimarama Road boundary and face east with a covered deck opening out towards the hard courts and the field beyond. This location will slightly reduce the hard court area available for sports and recreation however steps have been taken to improve other outdoor spaces including a new shaded area adjacent to the hall to counteract the loss of outdoor amenity. A range of locations across the school site were also considered but discounted as being unsuitable for a variety of operational and constructability reasons. The Pohutukawa on Kohimarama Road and Rawihitiroa Road will not be impacted.
We are looking forward to the new teaching spaces providing bright, modern learning environment for our students. These new spaces will also enable us to reinstate the library.
We are in ongoing discussions with Ministry of Education about how to further meet our short and long term property needs.
The Ministry of Education is currently developing a plan to complete modern perimeter fencing around the entire school site. This fencing is intended to improve safety and security. Comprehensive perimeter fencing has been installed in many schools recently with local examples including St Thomas’s and St Heliers. The design of the fencing project is currently underway and we anticipate that works are likely to occur over the summer holidays.
The centennial celebrations have been deferred until 2022. Further details are available on the school website:
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is a collection of representatives from the school community and we welcome engagement with you. To learn more or to contact us please see the school website: