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Amesbury School

Amesbury Digest - 20th April 2020

Kia ora koutou,

It is really heartening to see New Zealand's Covid-19 data moving in a positive direction, with far fewer cases of infection and greater rates of recovery. Our thoughts and hearts are with the whānau of people who have passed away during this very difficult time.

I would like to thank you all for your continued support and encouragement throughout this tricky period. We have had lots of positive communication from parents and students, and it has been lovely to hear of all the different kinds of learning and family activity that is happening. I would also like to take this time to give huge thanks to our very hard working staff. Working remotely under these circumstances is not easy, as we are all finding out together! Our staff has been online and working hard throughout this rāhui, with the best interests of our students and their whānau always held at the centre of whatever they do. The team has made the very best of a difficult and unforeseen event, and I am very grateful for their dedication and mahi (work). Thanks also to all of you - our parents and caregivers. Unexpected and unknown circumstances are often stressful and anxiety-inducing, as we work to make sense of living and thriving in new conditions. The staff are very appreciative of the support and hard work of parents and whānau, and of the positive communication we have had from you. Working together in this way makes the situation more manageable, so thank you to you all.

It has now been confirmed that we will be moving from alert level 4 to alert level 3 at midnight on Monday 27th April. This allows for more economic activity, but not more social activity. For Amebsury School this means school will be open from Wednesday 29th April for children who need to return onsite to school. Where a parent or caregiver can be at home with their child/ren, we are asking students to continue with remote learning at home whilst we remain in alert level 3. The Prime Minister has confirmed that they still want the “vast majority” of people to continue working and learning from home. We do very much appreciate that it is difficult for parents to manage working from home and managing to support our students with their home learning. However, we do ask that at this alert level, children remain learning from home where a parent or caregiver is able to be at home with them. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home. If your child is sick please also ensure you keep them at home.

Home learning will look different at level 3, because teachers will be able to be onsite at school and access a much wider range of resources. We anticipate that the learning onsite and offsite will be as similar as possible, such as teacher snappers or explanations being given at school being recorded, when possible, and made available for students working offsite. We will also look to use technology to contact students working at home face to face and engage in discussions with them. Alongside this, we will have the capacity to provide some hard copy learning materials that can be safely picked up in a contactless way, such as sets of reading books for younger readers.

Very shortly we will be sending out a feedback form for parents to fill in about home learning. Designing home learning to meet the very varied needs of our learners, and the wide ranging family circumstances, is a complex and difficult task. We know from the outset that it is very hard to please everyone. What we are aiming to do is provide high quality learning that is accessible for everyone, and is flexible enough to be adjusted to meet each family’s individual needs. We will look to use the information from the feedback we receive to design a new pack of home learning for level 3, including more opportunities to connect with teachers and other students.

For students who need to come on site to school, we will look to create small, consistent groups of students that will form bubbles. These bubbles will be kept physically separate, and break times will be staggered to keep bubbles separate. We will also look to alter school and finish times slightly to allow bubbles to remain separate. Please be aware that the size of bubbles will depend, to some extent, on the numbers of students who need to come to school. Ideally, we will look to keep these bubbles as small as possible, thereby keeping things as safe as possible for students, staff, and their whānau. Please note that during alert level 3, before and after school care programmes will not be running for children who attend onsite learning.

If your child will need to complete their learning onsite at school from 29th April, please complete this registration form as soon as possible. If your child will continue learning at home, you do not need to complete this form. Please note that if children are not registered with us to complete onsite learning from April 29th, they cannot come onsite to school. Once we have a clear idea of numbers onsite and offsite, we can begin to form a clear plan of how the learning will be organised.

At this point, we have one last pack of level 4 home learning to send out. This will be sent to you on Wednesday morning, and will last until the following Tuesday, 28th April. On Wednesday 29th April, new learning packs will be sent out, which will include greater levels of contact with teachers online.

I will be in touch with you later in the week to give more details about what learning at level 3 will look like at Amesbury.

Me mahi tahi tātou, mo te oranga o te katoa - we must work together for the wellbeing of all.

Ngā mihi nui,

Urs Cunningham


Offsite learning, only, continues this week and into next....

by John Murrihy

While the Amesbury campus opens for limited onsite learning from Wednesday 29 April, we are asking students to continue with remote learning, at home, unless no parent or caregiver is available to care for them.

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