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25 Dromorne Rd, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand

August 17 Newsletter 2017

Message from the Principal

The recent demolition of the Year 1 block brings us one step closer to the opening of what will be a state of the art, dedicated Year 0/1 Teaching facility.  This block represents a significant shift in our thinking around how children can access their learning.

The Vision Statement within the New Zealand Curriculum aims for young people to be confident, connected, actively involved and lifelong learners.  Additionally, the Key Competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum suggest that successful children will be those students who can manage themselves and who can relate effectively to others.

With these fundamentals in mind, a growing number of schools have researched and practised the use of the Herrmann Brain model on how teachers teach and how children learn.  The results show that children learn in different ways - which is of course nothing new to us at RPS.  For quite some time our staff have differentiated their instruction to ensure that they cater to the different learning styles and needs of the students.  However, what many schools are now realising is that we need to be thinking more critically about the ways in which students can access their learning.    Have you ever wondered why you bothered to purchase a nice desk for your child's bedroom - so that they can complete their homework, only to discover that they tend to work more on the floor than at their desk?  If you reflect on your own environment too, what do you tend to do when you need to get on with something and not be interrupted?  For me I close the office door.  We refer to this as "cave time" and kids need this too from time to time.

Turning the model around and re-thinking our pedagogy requires a completely different approach.  We need to break down our mental models of how kids learn and how we learned when we were at school.  Why would we place children in desks, rows, tables when we know they learn in different ways?  We are seeing this now too in offices as the concept of "hot desking" takes off.  If we value our learners we must also value their learning styles and provide learning spaces that complement their learning.

The Ministry of Education has stipulated that all schools need to be moving toward the development of "Innovative Learning Environments" or ILEs.  ILEs are specifically designed to be flexible in nature.  Our new rooms will be strategically outfitted with this in mind and their design and layout is a reflection of our new thinking.

While there will always remain the "feel" of a regular classroom, you will discover a myriad of different forms of furniture from which the students can choose to access their learning.  Ottomans, bean bags, tables, high desks, stools & the good old regular chair, are some of the different forms of furniture that you will find in each class.

Our teachers will be challenging the children to take more responsibility for their learning and make discerning decisions around which sort of furniture will enable them to work best.  Is the set activity of a collaborative nature, and if so, where would I work best?  Alternatively, do I need "cave time" as I really need to work independently?

Our ILE classrooms are broken up into areas that acknowledge the needs of all aspects of the Herrmann Brain model.  Naturally, we anticipate that the children will not always get it right with their choices, but that's a natural part of maturing as a learner.

This is the start of a journey for us and one that will take time to nurture and mature.  Our staff will be working hard to continue to challenge themselves and their learners as we look to continue to provide the very best learning environments and opportunities for our students.


Construction Update

Several parents have asked for an update regarding the earthworks associated with the Construction of the Year One block.

As with almost all schools with buildings of a similar age, asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are present.  This is either in the existing building material (e.g. cladding) or as offcuts and waste buried in the ground at the time the buildings were constructed.  In many cases, it is both and we encountered exactly this during phase one of the building programme - the Library re-development.

Asbestos exposure is a well-known health issue and dealing with its removal must be managed carefully.  In terms of informing our community on what is happening with the asbestos, to date we have taken the approach of providing general updates via Newsletters, but now appreciate that this has not been enough. We want to provide some initial information and from this point forward, regular updates around asbestos management as it relates to the Year One building programme.

As the first and most important point, we want to reiterate that there is nothing more important to us than ensuring that our pupils, our staff, you the parents, and our neighbours are kept safe and healthy.  We would allow nothing to occur that would jeopardise that. That is also the Ministry of Education and WorkSafe's (the Health and Safety Regulator in New Zealand) number one priority when it comes to asbestos management.

Asbestos removal is a very tightly regulated activity in New Zealand.  Almost all asbestos removal work requires a detailed asbestos management plan which must be approved by WorkSafe.  The work must be then carried out to that plan by competent and licenced operators under stringent monitoring regimes - including air & ground monitoring.  Form Construction also adds another layer of monitoring and conducts both internal and external audits of their work in relation to Health & Safety.  In addition, and because they are dealing with this regularly, the Ministry of Education have further minimum requirements for asbestos work in schools.  Remuera Primary School has no desire or option but to follow, to the letter, the above requirements and this is what we have been doing.

As previously indicated in the final newsletter of Term Two, the identified asbestos in the cladding of Rooms 1-5 was removed during the recent school holidays.  What the contractors are now dealing with is determining the extent - if any, of ACMs present in the ground surrounding the building slab.

Extensive ground testing took place during Terms 1 & 2, prior to the demolition of Rooms 1-5 and no ground contamination was found.   Following the demolition of Rooms 1-5, further ground testing was conducted, the results of which were received last week, and once again no ground contamination was found.

You may wonder as to why continual testing of the ground needs to take place?  The reason for this, is that ground testing simply means that ACM's are either present or not, for the area that has been tested. Hence as the earthworks continue, further testing needs to be carried out.  Please note, that earthworks only continue in areas that have been tested and are free of ACMs.

As previously indicated, to date the soil samples have returned negative results, allowing the contractors to continue with their earthworks.  If, however, a positive result is returned, as per Worksafe and Ministry of Education requirements, all works in the affected area would cease until the contamination can be removed - outside of school hours when all pupils and staff have left.


Important notes from the School Office

NEW ENROLMENTS: If you have a child turning 5 in 2017 OR 2018 and you have not already done so, can you please stop by the office and pick up an enrolment pack.  If you have a completed enrolment form which you have not brought back to the office can you please do so as soon as possible, this helps with our planning for 2018.

Absent From or Late To School.

There seems to be a lot of confusion around letting the school know your child will be Absent, Attending an Appointment or Late to School. We are legally required by the Ministry of Education to account for every student on our school roll between 8.55am and 3pm. It is critical that parents notify the office if your child is not at school for any reason between these hours. Whilst you may feel emailing the Teacher is sufficient, there are occasions when the Teacher is away and Relievers will not have access to those emails.

Below are the three options in terms of notifying the school:

1. Phone the school, choose option 5 and leave a message on the absence line.

2. Email the Office - office2@rps.school.nz  as well as the class teacher.  The teachers are often busy in the morning and sometimes don't get a chance to clear their emails.

3. Use the RPS Mobile App.

4. Use the Report an Absence button on the front page of our website.

Thanks for your support in this important health and safety requirement.


Parking for school drop off and pick up


As a school we value the relationship we have with our neighbours and therefore it is with disappointment we have received, once again, a number of complaints regarding parking by some parents - before and after school.

We would like to remind parents that standard road rules apply and you should not be parking or stopping on yellow lines, in the bus stop, across our neighbours' driveways, double parking and coming up onto the footpaths. Be aware that there is heavy foot traffic of small children crossing and walking in these areas before and after school. Offenders will have their licence plate numbers forwarded to the Community Constable for him to action.



Writing from Year 6

Galaxy Mystery by Tania Liu Room 25

It was a sunny Saturday morning, I reached out for my TV remote controller, turned on the television and switched to the daily news. I'm glad I did or else I would be dead! The news reporter looked as worried as a mouse with no cheese, I was sure something was wrong! She put down her script and yelled "It's crashing!" "The Sun and Moon are crashing into each other!" I stared outside and there it was! I kept on watching the news, "Earth is going to explode!" "We need to teleport to Mars!" "To teleport, jump in, 3, 2, 1!" Without thinking, I jumped.

The Door by Shenelle Senanayake Room 28

The wind howls unusually, like a wolf in pain. I stare at the wood. The rusted handle gleams in the light, trying to lure me in.  Finally I turn the handle. The wind suddenly stops, as if it is satisfied. The room smells damp and musty and is covered in a thick layer of dust. Dotted amongst the tables are humanlike figures draped in white cloth. As I come closer to the figures I hear footsteps. When I turn around there is nothing there. Whipping off one of the covers I come face to face with a mannequin. It blinks.

Night Black by Tyler Rowell Room 29

Pitch black stripes, gliding down the dim path, nervously clutching my sister's hand. The succulent smell of buttery popcorn wafts up my nose. It begins.

My Hot Air Balloon by Selina Yang Room 28

Looking down at the sand below me, people the size of ants scurry around. The wind blows in my face as I spot Uluru. Butterflies flutter around my stomach while immense heat surrounds me.

Darkness by Sabine Messer-Goodall Room 29


Darkness, it creeps up on you, and when you turn around there is nothing there. Wrapped up tight like a little package in my blanket, stumbling over my feet, I can see it, but the darkness is closing in. I start running. My little hand closes over the chord. Suddenly there is only light. No more darkness.


Class activities - contribution for years 3, 4 & 6

Class activities - contribution for Years 3, 4 & 6

Thank you to all those who have paid the contribution towards the years 3, 4 & 6 class activities for terms 3 & 4.

If you have not already made your contribution we would appreciate payment by 22nd August.

Year 3 -$13.50

Year 4- $11.50

Year 6- $11.50

(internet banking to account 12 3030 0467377 00 with your child's name as a reference, or at the school office by eftpos, cash or cheque)


ICAS Writing Results 2017

Congratulations to those  students who recently sat the ICAS Writing Exam and in particular congratulations to the following students who achieved Distinction and High Distinction Awards.  These certificates will be handed out in the Week 7 Assembly (8 September).

Year Four (13 children sat the examination)

High Distinction

Emily Allen 1st =

Xavier Clark 1st =

Felicia Zou 1st =


Jenesis Au Yeung

Mikayla Chai

Serena Ebbett-Geary

Jada Lin

Zoe Miller

Year Five (14 children sat the examination)

High Distinction

Saffron Tse 1st =

Isabella White 1st =


Emma Bews-Hair

Ian Parker

Molly Sherrard

Wayne Zhuang

Year Six (15 children sat the examination)


Christy Ganley

Jacob Hawksbee

Luca Toner


NumberWorks n'Words

August Numberworks




Well done to the children for all their hard work preparing for the  Knowledge-a-thon and collecting sponsors. All sponsorship forms and money need to be returned by Friday 1st September. This is one of the PTA's major fundraising events for the year, so we hope that you can get behind it.

There are two options for returning your sponsorship money;

  1. Use the Kindo - School Online Shop on the RPS website (more details on the information sheet)
  2. Have your child return their money and completed sponsorship form to their class teacher

Don't forget that we have some FANTASTIC prizes from our generous sponsors!

If you have any queries please contact Julia Stafford Julia.stafford@xtra.co.nz or Rachel Bowkett rachelb@ihug.co.nz.


RPS Sports News

Winter Field Day

Netball Field Days

On Tuesday 15 August, 108 Year 5 and 6 RPS students  participated in the annual Zone Winter Sports Field Day.  Despite the scattered showers and blustery winds, every team had a great time and demonstrated true sportsmanship.

Congratulations to our rugby team who made it into the play offs and narrowly missed out on taking the championship off Kings School. Our Year 5B football team achieved 3rd place in their tournament.

Special thanks to all the parents who came out to support the teams, as well as Tim Christensen, Andrew Elvidge, James Walsh, Rachelle Meller and Shana Mutton who helped  to train and manage the teams on the day.

Soccer field day 2015

Remuera Zone Gymnastics Tournament

On Thursday 10 August a large team of Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 gymnasts participated in the Remuera Zone Gymnastics Tournament.  Once again it was a great day and all participants should be very proud of their efforts.  Special congratulations to Alex Reid, Sophia Alexander and Emily King who placed on the day and will now be going forward to compete in the Auckland Champs.  Once again, a huge thanks to Rachelle Meller for overseeing the training of the gymnasts.


College Rifles Touch Rugby 2017 – 2018

College Rifles Touch Rugby 2017 - 2018

It's that time of year already for registration of touch teams.

Summer touch rugby is played on Fridays at College Rifles and has always been very popular.  
RPS has registered nine teams for the following dates:-

Friday: Dates TBC but usually around end October to  - early December (7 weeks approx.)
Friday: Dates TBC but around mid-February to mid-March (approx. 5 Weeks)

This year College Rifles has broken up the competition into blocks of year groups to create more even competitions.

Game times are yet to be confirmed, however based on previous years they will probably be as follows:

Year 1 & 2 - 5-5.30pm

Year 3 & 4 - 5.30-6pm

Year 5 & 6 - 6-6.30pm

Please note children can play up a grade, but cannot play down a grade.

Therefore if you have a group of kids who are for example year 4 & 5 who want to play together, they will need to enter the year 5 & 6 grade.

The year refers to your child's year group in 2017.  The children stay in this year grade for touch into the second half of the competition in early 2018.

The cost is $55.00 per player.

Payment is to be made by direct credit to Remuera Sport 12-3030-0619887-00.

Don't miss out! Please be aware that spaces fill quickly and can only be confirmed on a "first paid, first confirmed" basis.

If you would like to register your child please email Tara and Jo on rpsrugby@gmail.com

Please include the following information:-

Child/ren's Name/s:

School Year Group in 2017: e.g. Year 5

We always need keen parents to coach!  If you can coach or co-coach please do let us know as without parental assistance the children will not be able to play.


Maths Craft Festival

Maths Craft Festival

We warmly invite you to discover the maths behind craft and the craft behind maths at Auckland's second Maths Craft Festival, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September in the Events Centre at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Our event is free, and suitable for adults and children alike.

The Maths Craft Festival will feature a variety of craft creation stations as well as public talks by mathematician crafters, and the weekend-long celebration of maths promises to engage people of all ages. Make a Möbius strip, crochet a hyperbolic plane, build a fractal sculpture, fold an origami octahedron, and listen to talks about the connections between maths and crafts. Open to everyone: experts and amateurs, maths-fans and maths-phobes, the crafty and the curious.

Maths Craft is a not-for-profit initiative run by four academics at the University of Canterbury and the University of Auckland, and this year we were lucky enough to win funding from the Unlocking Curious Minds fund administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Our event last year at the Auckland Museum attracted over 2,000 people. You can read about it here: http://www.mathscraftnz.org/events/mcf-2016. There is more information about Maths Craft and the Festival on our website www.mathscraftnz.org, or please feel free to contact Nicolette Rattenbury on nicolette.rattenbury@auckland.ac.nz.

Museum Maths