Email to Parents - Reduced Timetable

Kia ora koutou

You’ll recall in my last email to you that we had issues with covering classes when teachers are absent.

Unfortunately, these issues continue. Our teachers are still affected by COVID-related matters and other illnesses, we have to continue with our curriculum-related field trips (weather permitting!) and professional development, teacher support and school events that are part of our school life are still scheduled.

We have managed the situation using our small but dedicated team of relievers and remaining teachers to cover classes, but the impact of losing the important non-contact time which is used for planning and preparation is an ongoing issue for teacher workload and wellbeing.

We also recognise from our most recent experiences, that rostering home year levels of students on an ongoing basis over a period of time is not the best for our students – many are not as diligent at completing work when away, and they also simply miss being in the classroom with their teachers. This is especially noticeable at the senior level.

Therefore, with the support of the Upper Hutt College Board, and the Ministry of Education, we will be moving to a reduced timetable, effective from Monday 13 June. This timetable will see the school day reduced to a 4-period day with an early finish time for all students. It will provide teachers with time for their planning and preparation and also ensure continuity of teaching and learning for all year levels.

Key points are:
- the school day will start at 8.40am and finish for students at 2pm. The timetable of the day will be as normal, but there will be no period 5. There will be a slight reorganisation of periods on Thursday to ensure that Year 9’s continue to get their full amount of Year 9 option time.
- students will still have a morning break (shortened) and an extended break/lunch.
- there is no change in school buses (it is too difficult to organise these changes at short notice), so supervision in the Library from 2pm will be provided for students who need to wait at school for the buses.
- any sports trainings etc will continue, although there may be changes in times – that will be for coaches etc to determine.
- there will be no late starts this term.

The reduced timetable will run to the end of this term. We will make adjustments after 2 weeks to balance (where we can) any loss in class time. However, the maximum number of hours lost in a senior class over the 4-week period will be 4 hours.

I recognise that this change in our hours for students may impact on whanau again. However, this is an exceptional situation that calls for an exceptional response, and this reduced timetable minimises the impact on all students’ learning while ensuring we also care for their teachers’ wellbeing.

Regarding mask-wearing, we will continue to require students and staff to wear masks at school for the remainder of the term, minimising the risk of spreading COVID and the flu.

Thank you again, for your support and understanding as we work through these challenges. It is very much appreciated.

Ngā mihi nui

Judith Taylor