Start of Term 2 IMPORTANT information for families and whānau

COVID-19 Minister of Education announcement

Minister’s announcement
Wednesday 8 April

Detailed package of supports for schools and kura announced

This afternoon, the Minister announced details of the package of supports and resources for supporting state and state integrated schools and kura to deliver learning at a distance when Term 2 begins on 15 April. You can see the Minister’s press release and Q&As on the Beehive website.

It’s important to state up front that the Government is still working to a timeframe of a four-week lockdown, lifting on 22 April, but we’re planning for every scenario so that we have a resilient system and are taking this opportunity to invest in closing the digital divide.

That means, in education, developing robust distance learning infrastructure so that learners and ākonga don’t miss out in any scenario, such as alert levels moving up and down or schools, kura and ECEs or kōhanga and puna reo having to stay closed for longer.

This week we have begun the dispatch of devices and hard copy resources. The first devices and modems are being dispatched this week, and the first tranche of hard copy deliveries will make their way to homes on Thursday and will continue on Tuesday next week.

Thank you all for the work you have done to complete the survey, which will enable to delivery of devices or hard packs to homes. Just a reminder that if you do not have this information and are asking parents to provide it, it is important that you’re explicit about why the information is being collected and used – that we are collecting this information to better support students’ needs for distance learning and will be using it to:

  • help identify what support may be needed
  • distribute hard copy learning resources to learners
  • report at an aggregate level on its COVID-19 response and for research and statistical purposes.

Starting this week, the Ministry is rolling out an extensive, four-channel package to provide at least one distance-learning option for all families by 15 April.

As we advised last week, the package includes:

  • increasing the number of students and ākonga who have access to connectivity and devices by an estimated 2000 this week (limited by the number of modems available)
  • supporting where we can with hard copy materials for different year levels
  • a range of NCEA subject-specific hard-copy resources for delivery to years 11-13 students and ākonga
  • more online resources for schools and kura, parents, ākonga and whānau available through the Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites
  • providing insurance cover for devices your schools and kura send to student homes
  • PLD to support teachers and kaiako, tumuaki and leaders to work remotely with their students, ākonga and whānau
  • TV channels in English and te reo Māori offering learning prgrammes for learners from early learning to year 10
  • Extending access to the Virtual Learning Network.

We are also fast-tracking ways to connect Learning Support Coordinators with families and whānau remotely.

Parents are not expected to replace their child’s teacher. You and your staff are the experts in the practice of teaching and learning, and these supports are intended to supplement and enable the learning programmes you are delivering to your students and ākonga.

Home learning television
We want to ensure that every learner and ākonga has at least one channel for accessing educational content from 15 April – either through this package or through their school or kura.

So, we have been working with teachers and leaders, alongside staff from ERO and Te Kura  to develop Home Learning TV | Papa Kāinga TV, on TVNZ, which will run from 9am to 3pm on school days on TVNZ2+1 and Sky channel 502. Some lessons will also be available on TVNZ On Demand.

There will be content for parents and whānau with preschool children and tamariki, and lessons for those aged 5 to 15 years of age will cover a broad curriculum that includes movement, music, physical education, wellbeing, numeracy, literacy and science through an integrated approach to curriculum. There’s already a lot of good education video content available, and the Ministry will be working with experts and educators to refine and further develop it.

Thank you to those of you who have agreed to release your teachers and kaiako to deliver these lessons – we know that for most of them live television will be unlike anything they have done before, and we’re very grateful for their willingness to be part of this initiative to broadcast learning into the homes of children and young people across the country.

We have also been working with Māori Television to make distance learning accessible for all ākonga and whānau. The programmes on Māori Television are for reo Māori learners of all ages, with a focus on those who are aged 0-18, covering ākonga in kōhungahunga (early learning), kura tuatahi (primary) and wharekura (secondary).

Programming will be tailored to specific age groups of reo Māori learners throughout the day from 9am to 3pm. It will be aligned to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and contain age appropriate content that tamariki can do on their own, with their siblings or together as a whānau. Content will focus on building skills in speaking te reo Māori, and ensure that te reo Māori is being spoken and heard in the home.

We will be putting information about the programme scheduling on the Learning from Home website early next week this will help teachers be able to connect with learners who are accessing these programmes.

Hard packs
We have had a lot of requests for learning material hard packs for learners and there are limits on what we can provide immediately. The first tranche of deliveries will make their way to homes on Thursday and will continue on Tuesday next week. You will receive a confirmation email of who has been sent a pack. Content of the packs is on the Learning from Home Website, this is to help teachers interact with students with their learning activities.

Access to devices and connectivity
In our email to schools and kura last week, we indicated how we will prioritise the rollout of devices and hard copy materials. We will reach students and ākonga and households in waves, with an initial focus on connecting students and ākonga in senior secondary school working towards NCEA – to minimise disruption for those working towards a qualification – and on those with greatest need due to disadvantage. The first devices and modems are being dispatched this week.

Where we are unable to immediately connect a household with the internet or get a device to a student, we will be working with schools and kura to provide hard-copy learning materials direct to homes where possible. The first of these will leave the warehouse this week.

Extending access to the Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC)
We are funding more places for students to receive direct teaching from experienced e-teachers though the VLNC during term 2.

This means that students, and especially those from rural, remote or small schools can take part in classes or programmes that their own schools are not able to offer.

The Learning from Home website will provide links to enable schools to enrol students in either primary or secondary provision.

The VLNC will also offer support to teachers who are setting up their own online learning classes.

Wellington City Mission food parcels

Information for whānau:

You can order food parcels to be delivered through the Wellington City Mission on 0800 2450900.

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 State or Emergency update

State of Emergency declared
A nationwide message will go out to all of New Zealand between 6pm and 7pm this evening. It is vital that all your community understand how crucial it is that they self-isolate within their group, minimise travel, practice physical distancing when outside their group and outside, and practice very good hygiene for the next 4 weeks.

There will be no tolerance for people who don’t self-isolate.

 Schools are closed
After 11.59pm today, no one is to go on site to schools during the lockdown. If there is an emergency Police and/or Fire services will respond.

Government announcement about children aged 0 – 14 of Essential Workers
Further to our Bulletin content about self-isolating groups (circles of care), Government has confirmed the following arrangements today. You may wish to forward this to your community immediately.

Where possible, essential workers need to make their own arrangements for childcare from Thursday 26 March until the end of the lockdown, due to limited capacity.

Where this is not possible alternative arrangements have been made so essential workers can continue to work.

What essential workers need to know when making their own arrangements
Essential workers will need to use their existing networks for in home care, for example a neighboor, relative, friend or current carer/nanny who can come to their house, or provide childcare in their own home. There are Public Health rules that must be observed:

  • The person caring for your child becomes part of your self-isolating group
  • This group must remain the same for the whole period
  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period
  • If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home

If essential workers do not have access to childcare through their own networks
If essential workers are unable to access childcare to perform their essential service, the government will fund other licensed childcare providers (for example through PORSE, Barnados and Edubase / Home Grown Kids) to provide in home care to the children aged 0-14 of essential workers. The carer would be subject to the same Public Health rules as set out above.

For the purposes of providing care to children of essential workers, the in home carer will be classified as an essential worker in both cases.

Initial list of contact details for providers

  • Barnados website – email covid19enquiries@barnardos.org.nz or call 0800 BARNARDOS (0800 227 627)
  • Edubase / Home Grown Kids website or call 0508 44 54 37 or email info@hgk.co.nz
  • PORSE website 0800 023 456

Support for learning at home
We know many of you have already completed take home packs for your students and/or have implemented your distance learning programmes.

This is an update on the support the Ministry is providing for learning at home. Over the next two and a half weeks we will be working with you so you are supported for the 15th of April to open your school and kura for distance learning (16 April for Southland).

This is an update on where things are at, to support your planning.

Learning from home website and Ki te Ao Mārama
Two online spaces went live this week. These have been produced with other agencies and are available online at https://www.learningfromhome.govt.nz/ and https://www.kauwhatareo.govt.nz/ki-te-ao-marama/ with resources for parents and whānau, teachers and leaders spanning early learning through to senior secondary.

These are a one stop shop for teaching and learning at home.  We have launched these now so people have time to get familiar with the site and we can keep developing it to meet your needs. Current content is just the start of the guidance, tools and resources we will be uploading to support teachers and parents.

Ki te Ao Marama has been developed to support those students learning te reo Māori and for those in kōhanga reo, kura and Māori medium settings.  They have been purposefully packaged to support learning at home.

  • Teachers can use both online spaces to point students to activities they think would help them learn at home.
  • Leaders and teachers can use the site to start their thinking and planning for learning from home.
  • Parents and whānau will find advice and activities they can use to support learning at home, without needing to become teachers themselves.

This week we will be working to add specific planning tools to support teachers to think about and plan distance learning online.

If you have any great ideas that would help others and requests for specific types of resources for the website please contact Curriculum.Design@education.govt.nz
For those who wish to support learning te reo Māori at home and for those learning in te reo Māori please contact TeReo.MaoriGroup@education.govt.nz with any great ideas you think will help others.

 NZQA 
NZQA and the Ministry of Education will help schools and wharekura develop effective plans for NCEA assessment and qualifications for students affected by COVID-19, including supporting remote learning.NCEA’s flexibility is a huge strength in times like these, and means that we can adapt how we deliver and use NCEA to fit with our conditions – including remote learning. We will be supporting schools to use this flexibility in how they manage internal assessment through remote learning, and to generate grades derived from learning programmes should attendance at external assessments be disrupted. Work is also underway to make sure that all qualifications, awards and pathways (including University Entrance and Vocational Pathways) will remain available through any disruptions.

NZQA and the Ministry will keep using their usual communication channels to keep school and wharekura leadership up to date.

For students taking part in Trades Academies and Gateway Programmes, further information can be found at https://youthguarantee.education.govt.nz/

For those students who are studying for the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations, contact your school with any questions and they can direct you to the best source of information.

Access to devices and the Internet
We know that not all households will have access to devices for their children to use for their learning. We also know that some households will have Internet connectivity issues. We are working hard on increasing connectivity and getting devices to households that need them.  This is complex and we will be working with schools and communities on how we make this happen.

In the next week we will be in touch about support you need for online learning, devices and hard copy resources.

Hard copy material for home
We know many of you have already provided students with material for home. We are working to provide hard packs for children who don’t have technology at home and we will work with you on the best approach to getting this to those children. Our aim is to provide a supply of these by 15 April, if printing and distribution times make this possible. We will update you on this as soon as we can

Support for your school to design and implement distance learning
All schools and kura can access additional support for distance learning:

  • You can ask your current PLD facilitator for help and support to plan distance learning
  • If you want to use a PLD provider to help support thinking and planning for distance learning but you don’t have PLD hours or your current facilitator is unable to help please contact the PLD mailbox. pld.enquiries@education.govt.nz and we will be in contact to help broker some support.
  • We know a number of schools can carry on online, if we can help please let us know, through the PLD mailbox pld.enquiries@education.govt.nz
  • A number of you identified  through our survey you were unsure about your readiness or did not feel ready to provide learning. There were a range of reasons for that and we will be in touch to discuss the best way to support you.

Updated School Holiday Dates

As per the advice from the Ministry of Education:

School holidays brought forward
School holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week period. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools).

At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at the schools.

Please note the instruction to stay home (Alert Level 4) will continue beyond the new school holiday period but schools will be technically open for distance instruction. Teachers will be working offsite.