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Our model for returning to Te Huruhi on Wednesday 17th November

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Kia ora koutou


As principals of the two primary schools on the island, we are happy to share our model for the return to school on Wednesday 17th November.  We are so excited about seeing our tamariki return where we will have an emphasis on reconnecting and wellbeing in particular.  Both of the primary school models are very similar for years 1-6 with subtle changes to suit the local needs.



Waiheke Primary, the High School and Te Huruhi Principals met first to share ideas.  Then the two primary school’s senior lead teams met to share the pros and cons of our proposed models.  This was based on the health and safety guidelines from the Ministry of Education.  There are a number of factors that led us to our agreed model.   We would have loved the opportunity to consult with our community too, but the time frame was not realistic for us to do that.


Our key deciding health and safety factors were:

  • Mitigating the risk of transmission.
  • Reducing numbers of children in classrooms to support the best possible learning opportunities, alongside safety.
  • Reducing the number of adults in classrooms and reducing mixing of adults between each other.
  • Giving optimal time for parents to have time back for themselves.
  • Supporting health and safety logistics such as staggering entry locations and times at the start and end of day and staggered break times. 
  • Use of buses.
  • Contact tracing for every adult interaction at school during the day (which we have to do).


We completely realise that there will be no eutopia with our models so we have decided on the best fit for our island community.


We are also building in time to review at the end of the first week, with staff,  and with our community after the first full two weeks so we can hear your voice.  This is very important to us, especially if this framework continues until the end of the year.


Our model:


Two full days for half of the school (Mon-Tues) and two full days for the other half (Wed-Thurs) with one day (Friday) left for staff to reach out remotely, prepare offsite learning packs and have time to get prepared for the following week.  Please see the table below. 

Many packs will need to be made as follow-up work for children to use once they have had their two days at school. Staff would also like to touch base where they can with children not at school. Please note, staff will not be asked to run two separate programmes if your choice is not to send your child back.  


Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th November: 

Two days for staff to prepare onsite. There will be a short online Zoom/Seesaw which will introduce the two days of distance learning. Alternatively, two days of home learning will be emailed for tamariki to complete.


Wednesday 17th November:

Group A 


Thursday 18th November:

Group B 


Friday 19th November : day for review and reflection for teachers and to prepare the next week’s learning and reach out to those not attending. 


Which group is my child in?

Class teachers will try their hardest to let you know by Saturday 13th (tomorrow) 3.00 pm which group your child will be in.  The worst case scenario will be Monday morning. This is a very challenging task where we have to take into account having siblings attend on the same day, friendship groupings where possible and children who require additional support, as well as the adults. It is a huge jigsaw puzzle. However, we also know you will have to arrange your own work commitments.


From week 6 (Monday 22nd November)


Monday TuesdayWednesday ThursdayFriday
Group A Group A Group BGroup BTeachers preparing learning for offsite children
Children with additional support

  • Learning Support Assistants to be in one bubble only
Parents who need children in all week- we would run a separate bubble

  • The option would be either entering the class bubble A or B for the two days, or being in a separate bubble during the week.  
  • Note – we have to keep children in one bubble only and we have no choice with this.

Children can not be in the class bubble and then the additional bubble.


We realise that plans will possibly change over the duration.  We may decrease or increase in numbers depending on situations beyond our control.  This model also supports us with fluctuations. 


At Te Huruhi

What could a day look like?


Our staff have only had twenty four hours to process this information which is why we are giving time on Monday and Tuesday next week to set up and plan. Staff have already been sharing ideas for what the day may look like.


After being picked up by our very friendly staff at the gate we will go straight to class. 


To begin with, classes will be spending time on mindfulness to help develop strategies for change and anxieties back at school. Some spaces will be using drama as well as crafting and creating things using a range of materials. Resources are being shared that we can use from Talking Tree Hill too.  For our younger children there may be outside dancing, rotations around the sand pit, handwriting with chalk or paint brushes outside, sharing stories and integrating small blocks of writing for example.


Routines will be vital and the most important thing to begin with will be getting the children back into school, re-socialising as much as we can and re-connecting.  Academic learning will gradually filter back into programmes and staff will use their expertise for when this is appropriate for each child. There is no pressure.  We are not expecting children to get straight back into their normal programmes until we see how tamariki feel.  


Break times will still happen and the children will be able to use the playgrounds.  This will be staggered and each group will learn and socialise as one group only. Unfortunately they will not be able to mix with other groups.


However, we feel this first step to reconnecting is vital and we are welcoming as many of our tamariki as possible.  We will be making it as warm and welcoming as we can.  Next week will be more about meeting peers at school again and learning how we have to operate with the guidelines.  It is a transition day, but with lots of smiles, albeit under masks.  



The school will be cleaned thoroughly at the end of each day by a contractor and during the day internally.  Contractors are fully vaccinated and tested.  This will be out of hours when children are not present.


Bubble class for children who need to be in all week

Please read the information on the form very carefully before completing.  The table above explains how this may work.  This will close at 5.00 pm on Saturday 13th November so we can set up a room on Sunday. 




Further information

We completely understand that there is a lot of information to take in at once.  We will communicate on Monday more of what you can expect and need to know.  


As you can imagine, the task of creating two mini Te Huruhi’s has been very complex with many factors.  All we want to do is see your children in school so we can say hi and reconnect.  We have not completed all of our planning and will continue over the weekend and early next week so we are ready to open up.  We aim to create a FAQ page on our website over the weekend to support you too. 


Have a lovely weekend and we are really looking forward to seeing you as soon as we can. 


Ngā mihi maioha 

Phil Wainwright

Acting Principal