Updated: 3.04.2020

Kia ora families,

A week and a half into the lockdown! Hope you are all happy and well <3

Next week teachers are meeting for a 'virtual teacher only planning day'. This is where we will be planning the shape of learning support for Term Two. What we know, is that for some of Term Two at least, this will include distance learning (learning from home). We are calling this distance learning 'PRIDE Online'.

Before we finalise the design of PRIDE Online, we need some more information from you please. Two weeks ago I sent out a survey asking if you had internet, digital devices and what you perceived the barriers might be to home learning. Now we need the reality from you. We want to be able to continue to support your child in their learning, but we want it to be manageable for you. We are keen for this to be fun and supportive, not stressful. We don't want to spend days planning a whole lot of learning for your child that isn't going to work for your family.

Our questions include: what is working, what is hard, and how we can best support you and your child at home.

PRIDE Online can be true partnership... designed by parents, families and children together (woohoo).

Link to survey: https://forms.gle/5HqQbjgxtdCRUKha6

If you still do not have a device or 'good' internet, please email me again principal@upperhuttschool.nz.
I think we have connected with nearly all families, but there are still a few we have been unable to contact.

I hope you are all settling into a new 'bubble routine'.

Kindest regards,
Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant - Tumuaki


Updated: 27.03.2020

I have been thinking of you all over the last few days. I hope you are all safe and well in your bubbles.

Key information in this email:
* clarification of school holiday dates
* launch of 'P.R.I.D.E Online' learning space
* how we will be connecting with you
* a learning devices for your child at home?
* wellbeing links

The school holiday dates (and key dates) are:
28 March School holidays begin
10 – 14 April Easter including the Tuesday after Easter
15 April Term 2 begins (through distance learning)
27 April ANZAC Day observed

For the next two weeks teachers will be working hard designing the 'new way' of teaching and learning. It is important to me, that teachers also have time to be with their families and create their 'new normal'. I have asked them to set their emails onto 'auto response' to say they are on holiday and will be in touch with you at the start of next term. If you have something important or urgent over the next two weeks, please contact me directly at principal@upperhuttschool.nz

P.R.I.D.E Online:
'P.R.I.D.E Online' is the name we have made up to capture the 'new way' that teaching and learning will be delivered to your children during the school closure. Teachers will be connecting with you/ your children through email or See Saw. There will be key learning, teaching, 1-1 connecting between children and their teachers, activities, challenges etc each school day. We appreciate that the learning will need to be flexible to ensure it works for your family. Teachers will be in touch with you just before the start of next term to share what 'Day One' will look like. We are all new at this! Thank you in advance for your patience, support and partnership as we design new and exciting ways to learn during a lock down.

Here is the link to our brand new P.R.I.DE Online webpages 🙂 🙂
I want to thank the teachers for all they have achieved this week - from 'paper take home kits' to a digital 'PRIDE Online' site. This 'site' has a list of the what we think, are some of the best online learning sites for your children. These are the sites teachers will be supporting them with. There are links about maths, reading, writing, wellbeing, Te Reo and Home PRIDE challenges etc (whoo hoo - start getting excited). A one stop space for you 🙂 All teachers will be emailing you the passwords needed to access all these sites.

How we will be connecting with you:
Over the next weeks we will primarily be connecting with you through email and See Saw. If you have not joined up to See Saw we urge you to do it now! Teachers will have sent you information about how to do this. If you are not sure how to do it, please email your teachers directly. It is really important that we have your correct email and you and your child are connected to See Saw.

A learning device at home:
Last week we sent home a survey (paper and email) and asked all of you to respond with whether or not you had internet connection and if you had a device your child could use at home for learning. For families who indicated they did not have a device, we loaned out a school device. If you do not have a learning device for your child, please contact me directly at principal@upperhuttschool.nz

Wellbeing for all:
Just want to finish off with some sites to support you and your family with you wellbeing. A lockdown is new for all of us, and we will all need support over the coming weeks.

Supporting conversations with children about COVID-19 - http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/.

Wellbeing Resources/ Links:
The Ministry of Health’s website includes Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdown.
https://www.iamhope.org.nz/ - I AM HOPE is the youth and community focused support group run by The Key to Life Charitable Trust, started by Mike King.
https://www.facebook.com/nathanwallisxfactoreducation/ - Nathan Wallis has some helpful videos on his Facebook page for parents and whānau
https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/covid-19/ - tips on looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 from the Mental Health foundation
https://depression.org.nz/covid-19/ - a website by the Health Promotion Agency to help New Zealanders recognise and understand depression and anxiety. `
25 Mental Health Wellness Tips during Quarantine from Eileen M Feliciano, Psy.D. – although overseas-based this is a good list and highlights some things particularly important for children. Remember the rules of New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown still apply.

Remember, be kind to yourself and others.
Protect and stay safe within your bubble.

I will be in touch closer to the start of Term Two.  If you need to contact me, please do.

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant - Tumuaki

Updated: 24.03.2020

Kia ora Upper Hutt School Families,

If you are like me, you will have received thousands of emails today!! Communication is great, but today has been a little overwhelming. I'm sorry for one more email. 

The most important thing at the moment,  is to focus on you and your family. Take time to talk with your children, brainstorm ideas about what you could do at home over the next few weeks, care for each other and access the many websites that have been set up to support families with the impacts of self isolation. Reading, writing and maths are not the most important thing at the moment. Learning to be adaptable, resilient, kind and caring are the skills that will set us all up for this new journey 🙂 

The format I have used in this email is: summary points at the top, then detail below if you want it 🙂

Summary of information in this email (read whole email for details):

* School holidays have been brought forward and start this Monday for two weeks 

* After the two week holiday period, schools will be providing 'distance learning'. 

* Details about what ‘Distance Learning’ will look like, will be designed over the next few weeks

* Learning Packs are available for Year 1-3 children at school tomorrow

* Learning Packs available for Years 4-6 children who don’t have internet or devices are available tomorrow 

Key information from the Ministry of Education is that schools are now closed (except for children of essential workers). Schools will close for all children at 3pm tomorrow.

School holidays are being brought forward. 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.

Supporting learning from home:

We have put together Learning Packs for Year 1-3 children. We also have some resources for children in the senior school who may not be able to access digital learning spaces.  These ‘packs’ and resources will be available at pick up from the school between 9-3:30 tomorrow. 

If you would like a ‘pack’, please visit the school during this time. Junior packs on the Junior deck. Senior resources for those with no digital connections or devices, from the senior deck. Please wait in a line, with a distance of 2 meters. Teachers will place resources on a desk for you to pick up. Please be patient and kind to each other. We are open for hours, so you don’t need to rush.  

That is key information for today. We have a sense of excitement and possibility in terms of how we can best serve you, our school community in the coming weeks. We have lots of ideas. The days will not look like current school days of course, but our focus will be on learning (social, emotional and academic) and digital connection.

We have new opportunities and possibilities. Together we can do this Upper Hutt School!

Kia kaha school whānau,


Updated: 23.03.2020

Kia ora Upper Hutt School Families,

Below is the key information from the Government announcement today:

NZ has shifted to Alert Level 3 immediately and will move to Level 4 within 48 hours (by midnight Wednesday).

This means everyone needs to prepare for self-isolation over the next 48 hours. Schools and all educational facilities close tomorrow, except for the children of essential workers such as health staff. They will be fully closed from midnight Wednesday, along with businesses except essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, and lifeline utilities. Travel is severely restricted and only for essential services.

Alert Level 4 is expected to continue for 4 weeks at this stage. Schools will be closed for a 4 week minimum period.  Visit our website for in-depth information:


What this means for Upper Hutt School:
School is closed tomorrow and will only be open for children of 'essential workers'.

Over the next week, teachers will be designing and planning what 'learning at home' will look like. We are thinking of a range of learning activities that are engaging, flexible and enjoyable for all (including parents 😉 We appreciate each family will have different challenges and any learning needs to cater for everyone. Our goal with home learning is to help provide some 'normality and routines' for families to help them through the weeks ahead. More details to follow.

In the next few days we want your focus to be on your family, your wellbeing, and planning for self isolation. Here is the link to the COVID-19 Self Isolation Help page. https://covid19.govt.nz/how-were-uniting/self-isolation/

Please check the school website for regular updates. Here is the link: https://www.upperhuttschool.nz/covid-19/

Updates will be via the website or email. If you have questions, please email admin@upperhuttschool.nz and staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

Take care of yourself, your families. Be KIND and patient.

Kia kaha & arohanui,
Jo Grant
Principal/ Tumuaki

Updated: 22.03.2020

Just a few important reminders and updates regarding the CoronaVirus and what our school is doing:

- We are still open and all children are expected to attend school if they are well. If they are not well or you are keeping them home for your own reasons PLEASE ring us to let us know.

- At this stage we will not be able to provide 'home-learning' for children who elect to stay at home. This is because teachers are focused on the learning of the children attending school. If the school closes in the future, we will be providing home learning for everyone in various forms.

- PLEASE ALL Parents and Visitors to our school MUST report to the office first if you are planning to stay at school beyond the normal drop off. For normal school drops off- you do not need to check in to the office. We want to limit the contact external adults and children have in our school and so we will require you to be checked for signs of illness, and if cleared will be expected to sanitise your hands and sign in. Please this is about our students and staff being safe and nothing else.

- PLEASE promote healthy and safe practices at home ... washing hands, sneezing and coughing into your elbow and limiting touch or interaction when not needed. Also stay away from people in self isolation and those that have returned from overseas.

- PLEASE avoid large gatherings of people numbering more than 100. Even things like shopping centres please be careful.

- PLEASE be mindful and look after our older people in our community especially those that are 70 plus years old. They are very vulnerable to infection and must be kept safe.

- Please keep up to date with advice from the government - we have this link on our website. https://covid19.govt.nz/latest-updates/prime-minister-to-make-a-statement-to-the-nation-at-12-pm-today/

Not only am I a principal, I am a Mum, a daughter and a sister too. We are all worried and anxious about the CoronaVirus and I promise you that as a school we are doing everything possible to keep your children and our staff as safe.

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.
Ngā mihi
Jo Grant - Principal

Updated: 20.03.2020

Kia ora koutou
With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.

  • As soon as a case is confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you
  • If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
  • If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning.

We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here.  I strongly urge you to keep sending your children to school if they are well. If they are not at school, we are required to mark them as an 'unjustified absence'. COVID19 could last for months. We will not be able to provide 'home learning' for children if you elect to keep them at home. If they are at school, we will be working every day on their learning with them 🙂
Good hygiene is a priority at our school, and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness.
We are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.   
Ngā mihi
Jo Grant - Principal

Updated: 19.03.2020

I have updated the above buttons to include the newly developed New Zealand Government website called Unit Against COVID 19. This has accurate, up to date information. 

Updated: 18.03.2020
I am receiving daily information and advice from both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health in terms of supporting our school through Covid-19. As a result of the latest information and decisions at the Board of Trustees meeting last night, the following changes have been made which focus on the health and safety of all:
  1. School assemblies will be cancelled for the rest of the term. We still plan to celebrate individual successes with our PRIDE awards at class and team level (and at home with you through See Saw).
  2. Kia Eke Te Maunga (Fun Run) and School Hangi have been postponed. This is in keeping with the latest advice and guidelines around gatherings of more than 500 people. Please contact the Office to organise your refund.
  3. The Senior School trip to Wellington Museum on 2nd/ 3rd April has been postponed. We are exploring what aspects of this trip can be experienced through different avenues (eg drone footage of the Hutt river etc).
  4. Touch rugby at Heretaunga College has been cancelled.
  5. The Hutt Fest (formerly Polyfest) in Term 2 has been cancelled.
  6. New cleaning measures have been put in place in keeping with Ministry advice. Increased frequency of cleaning with appropriate cleaning chemicals on all hard surfaces etc.
  7. Soap will be put in every classroom so children can wash hands regularly throughout the day (and not have to go to the bathrooms).
  8. We are modelling and discussing regular hand washing, good cough and sneeze etiquette with all students and staff.
  9. We are modelling and discussing not touching faces (mouth, nose, eyes) visuals around school also.
  10. Teachers are discussing proper use of drinking fountains (visuals around school also). Please send all children with a named drink bottle.
For Upper Hutt School,  it is business as usual - a calm focus on learning and well-being. Our Pandemic Plan is up to date and we are reviewing it regularly with the updated information we are receiving. Our school P.R.I.D.E.  C.A.R will help drive us through times of challenge and change.
The feedback from you about online learning (via the survey sent out yesterday) was invaluable in terms of us starting to plan for possible school closures. Thank you! Our staff are committed to supporting our school to keep 'learning' with a sense of routine and 'normality' through any closures. It was fantastic to hear staff brainstorming possible ideas about how we might make this work for every family through inclusive, flexible and responsive planning. Watch this space 🙂
To finish I wanted to share a quote I saw last night...
You can't calm the storm...so stop trying.   What you can do is calm yourself.  The storm will pass.
Children are watching us all carefully, to learn about how to cope with new and uncharted territory. Modelling calm and care of ourselves and others, will help teach them real life resilience and adaptability (as well as our school P.R.I.D.E values).
I will provide you with regular updates as they happen, so you are informed of what is happening for your tamariki.

Ngā mihi maioha,
Jo Grant
Principal / Tumuaki

Updated: 17.3.2020

Information about Covid19 is changing rapidly. The purpose of this page is to keep you updated in terms of how Covid19 might impact on the school and your children. Following the advice from the Ministry of Health it is important:

  • Limit your child’s exposure to social media. Children often receive very mixed messages about events such as Covid19, and they often don’t have the maturity to understand the issues.
  • Children need your guidance to minimise their fears, while being supported to make choices to keep themselves healthy and safe.
  • Hand washing is essential. Wash for at least 20 seconds in hot water with soap, and dry hands properly.
  • Also avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

It is important to remember that we are heading into the cold and flu season. As always, if your child is feeling unwell, please keep them at home. Teach your child how to cough into their elbow and throw away their used tissues.

The Ministry of Education have asked us to be prepared for possible future school closures.

We require some information from you TODAY, in order for us to plan for this possibility. The use of online learning is an effective way for us to continue to offer learning in the event of a school closure.

Can you please click on the link above which has three questions about online learning.

We have also sent home a paper copy if you would prefer to give us your information that way.