he pitopito kōrero

He Pitopito Kōrero
COVID-19 update - 10 February 2022

10 February 2022
he pitopito kōrero

He Pitopito Kōrero
COVID-19 update - 10 February 2022

10 February 2022

Ngā mihi o te ahiahi,

You will have heard today of the Government’s new scheme to keep key sectors going through Omicron. While the new exemption scheme is aimed at keeping critical supply chains running, this is not expected to impact most schools at this time.

We have provided details on the new scheme in our bulletin and will keep you up to date with any further information.

In this bulletin we’ve provided a letter template that introduces the 'Big Boost' campaign that you may wish to send to your school community.

I am aware that many of you are receiving very angry and objectionable material related to various aspects of the Public Health Order. We are working with your representatives to provide a letter that you can choose to use to reply. 

We will be able to answer questions about entitlements for support staff and staff required to self-isolate on Tuesday next week.

I have read and heard with interest the different ways that schools are planning to remain open for kanohi ki te kanohi teaching. This is so important for the wellbeing and in some cases, safety, of our most vulnerable ākonga.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Close contact exemptions

As part of New Zealand’s response to Omicron, the Government is establishing a close contact exemption scheme to keep critical supply chains running when we enter Phase 2.

We don’t anticipate schools will need to access the scheme, unless you have a situation where you have insufficient staff able to come on site to supervise the children of workers who are unable to have them home.

The scheme will be used to enable people who are close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case to continue to work if what they do is critical for our supply chains and key sectors to keep operating. They must not have symptoms and will need to return daily negative rapid antigen tests.

Under Red, schools and kura remain open. You will already have plans in place to respond to staff absences, including planning for when you may need to close and begin distance learning.

The 1 February bulletin contains information on preparing for staff absences.

Business continuity planning – School Bulletin 1 February

A reminder that we are here to help you as you plan for Omicron and any questions you have can be directed to your regional contact.

Close contact exemption scheme and access to RATs – Te Mahau

Supporting schools to support staff

If an employee at your school or kura is sick with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate, your first considerations should be to look after your people, contain COVID-19 and protect public health.

However, we recognise that the cost of replacing essential teaching and non-teaching staff may put pressure on your budgets.

Temporary change to the additional relief teaching funding policy

Similar to our earlier response to support the school sector in 2020, and due to the likely spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the threshold for seeking additional relief teacher funding (ARTF) will be temporarily lowered to four days. This is a temporary change to the operation of the ARTF policy to cater for possible increased pressure on school budgets as a result of the probable spread of Omicron in the community, and the likelihood that we will see a peak in cases early this year.

You will be able to apply for ARTF for teacher absences greater than four days. This is not a permanent change to the ARTF policy and will only apply to the following COVID-19 related absences during Term 1. These absences are:

  • where a teacher is confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19
  • where a teacher is caring for a dependent that is suffering from COVID-19
  • where a teacher is confirmed as a close contact and are directed to self-isolate by health authorities and are unable to work from home.

All ARTF claims need to be made via the Education Resourcing System (ERS).

We are currently updating our website with information on how to claim. This will be available from the end of next week.

Temporary provision of additional relief funding for non-teaching staff

We have previously made additional relief funding temporarily available to schools that have needed to back-fill essential non-teaching staff due to COVID-19 related absence. We are doing this again.

You will be able to apply for additional relief funding where you have replaced non-teaching staff from as early as the first day of absence. This will only apply to the following COVID-19 related absences during Term 1.

These absences are:

  • where a non-teacher is confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19
  • where a non-teacher is caring for a dependent that is suffering from COVID-19
  • where a non-teacher is confirmed as a close contact and are directed to self-isolate by health authorities and are unable to work from home.

The process for claiming reimbursement for non-teaching staff cannot be processed through ERS and you will have to complete a claim form and email it to resourcing@education.govt.nz to claim reimbursement.

We are currently updating our website with information on how to claim. This will be available from the end of next week.

We will be monitoring the situation closely. If the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant does not result in a peak in cases during Term 1, we will consider extending these temporary financial supports.

Update: CO2 monitor dispatch

If you haven’t yet confirmed your details to receive a portable CO2 monitor please confirm your details and we will confirm once yours has been dispatched.

Nearly 1,700 portable CO2 monitors have been dispatched to state and state-integrated schools so far.

CO2 monitor guidance

We’ve provided school-specific guidance on what different CO2 levels mean in classrooms.

Classroom ventilation assessment toolkit – Ministry of Education

Please use our school guidelines that has different guidance to what you’ll receive with your portable CO2 monitor as it is only generic indoor.  

We’ll continue to provide you with the latest guidance on our website.

Ventilation in schools – Te Mahau

If you have any concerns about ventilation, please contact your property advisor first rather than waiting to receive your CO2 monitor.

Join our live Q&A on ventilation

We are running two Q&A sessions about ventilation in schools on Thursday 17 February and Wednesday 23 February.

Find out more on our website and register:

Infrastructure sector forums – Ministry of Education

Infrastructure sector forum: Ventilation Q&A – Eventbrite registration

The Q&As will include a presentation on ventilation, CO2 monitors and air cleaners in schools, followed by time for questions – please share this to anyone in your school who may have a role in maintaining, assessing or improving ventilation (for example, a caretaker or maintenance person).

Guidance for hybrid teaching and learning

We know that teaching face-to-face and online is challenging and may not always be practicable. 

For those wanting to offer both, we have published practical advice to support you.

Guidance for school leaders and staff – Learning from Home

We have also uploaded a video of Dr Lesley Murrihy interviewing education expert Derek Wenmoth about hybrid learning and resilience.

Trialling new downloadable learning packs

We have published the first set of our draft 2022 downloadable learning packs onto our Learning From Home website. 

Get Year 1-3, 4-6, 7-8 and 9-10 English-medium packs:

2022 learning from home packs trial – Learning from Home

We would really like your feedback on the downloadable packs so we can continue to improve our distance learning support. We would particularly like to know:

  • What do you like most?
  • How can they be improved?
  • How are they best structured (for example, how many days per pack)?

Please send your feedback to curriculum.publishing@education.govt.nz by Thursday 17 February to help us revise the trial packs and start on the next set.

New ERO reports: Impact of COVID-19 on Māori learner success

The latest Education Review Office – Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga (ERO) research aims to increase understanding of the different approaches to the provision of online education in COVID-19 conditions and the impacts of the pandemic on Māori learners and whānau.

ERO worked in partnership with English-medium providers and Māori-medium peak bodies and associated kura to produce three reports:

  • He Iho Ruruku: Ngā Kura ā Iwi perspectives  
  • He Iho Ruruku: Te Aho Matua Kura Kaupapa Māori perspectives  
  • He Iho Ruruku: English-medium perspectives

Access the reports here:

ERO report find rally to support Māori learners and whānau – Education Review Office

The Big Boost: Letter template for parents, caregivers and whānau

As you’ll be aware the Government has launched the 'Big Boost’ campaign to encourage more people who are able to get boosted.

We have provided a letter template that you can send to your school community if you wish.

The Big Boost: Letter template for parents, caregivers and whānau [DOCX, 15 KB]

You can find more information about the Big Boost on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Get your vaccine booster – Unite Against COVID-19

Resourcing information 2022

Secure Data Portal notice uploads

As of January 2022, all staffing and funding notices will now be available on the Secure Data Portal on Wednesdays rather than Saturdays.

This change began with the first notice posted on Wednesday 26 January.

If you have any questions about the content of your staffing or funding notices, please contact resourcing: resourcing@education.govt.nz or give our Resourcing Support Contact Centre a call on 04 463 8383.

End of the banking staffing year 2021

The end of the 2021 banking staffing year has closed. Any requests for funding code changes can no longer be accepted as this is an automated process.

Schools are still able to request Ministry adjustments until pay period 26 (15 March 2022).

The balancing period runs from pay period 23 to pay period 26 (January-March) and is designed to help you manage any under/overuse accrued up to pay period 22.

During the balancing period, you can make final changes to your previous year’s banking staffing balance but backdated changes for more than two pay periods cannot be processed.

What happens when your banking staffing doesn’t balance?


If your school remains in an overuse position at the end of the balancing period, the overused staffing is recovered from your operational funding. The value associated is calculated at the banking staffing recovery rate.

Boards will be advised in writing of any required repayment and when the deduction from a future operational funding instalment/s will be actioned.


If your school remains in an underuse position at the end of the balancing period, the underused staffing is paid to you in the July instalment of your operational funding.

The maximum that can be reimbursed is 10% of your annual staffing entitlement and the value associated is calculated at the cash reimbursement for unused staffing rate.




Recovery rate

$80,500 ($92,575 GST incl.)

$83,500 ($96,025.00 GST incl.)

Reimbursement rate

$65,000.00 ($74,750 GST incl.)

$66,500 ($76,475.00 GST incl.)

Please note, banking staffing balances that are shown on the banking staffing report are based on the overuse rate.

If you have any questions around how to plan and manage your banking staffing balance, please contact your financial advisor.

You can find further information about banking staffing on our website.

Banking staffing – Ministry of Education

Beginning teacher time allowance update

A reminder that beginning teacher time allowance applications for 2022 cannot be processed until we have up-to-date payroll information for the 2022 year.

The teacher’s relevant pay history needs to show on payroll (commencing 10 February).

  • Beginning teachers must be qualified, have a current provisional registration from the Teaching Council and be coded to the Teacher’s Salaries funding code.
  • First-year teachers must be working a minimum of 0.50 FTTE coded to Teacher’s Salaries. Second-year teachers must be working 1.00 FTTE (full-time).

You can find more information about the eligibility criteria on our website.

Teacher-specific staffing allowances – Ministry of Education

Due to the large volume of applications we receive for the new school year, please allow some time for processing. We will contact you as soon as we have reviewed and processed the applications.

Please note, teacher registration enquiries should be directed to the Teaching Council and payroll enquiries can be directed to EdPay.

Contact us – Teaching Council

Contact us – EdPay

Key dates 2022

Resourcing’s key staffing and funding dates have been added to our website.

Key dates for staffing and funding 2022 [PDF, 165 KB]

Please make note of these key dates as you plan for the year ahead.

Any further reminders on dates and other important information will be advertised on our website and in these bulletins throughout the year.

If you have any other queries, email resourcing@education.govt.nz or give our Resourcing Support Contact Centre a call on 04 463 8383.

Survey: Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako

Under the NZEI Te Tiu Roa/ PPTA Te Wehengarua/ Ministry Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga Accord we would like to get your views about how the Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako model might be made more responsive to local needs.

Here is a short survey which will be open for feedback until Friday 4 March.

Kahui Ako survey – Ministry of Education

Please take the time to complete it and to share it with anyone in your organisation (and beyond) who may have an interest.

For more information about Kāhui Ako or the survey, please contact Kahui.Ako@education.govt.nz.


Since Kāhui Ako were introduced in 2014, there have been some changes as the model has evolved and grown. In recent times, there has been a call for further changes to enable more effective collaboration within local contexts.

What we’ll do with the results

Following the survey, we will run some small, focused interviews with members of the sector to clarify and refine what it tells us. These are scheduled to run in March. 

A report will then be produced for the Accord Governance Group in the first half of 2022. 

Confirming eligibility of school transport assistance students

At the beginning of every school year, there may be situations where the eligibility status of students for school transport assistance is unclear. 

Schools are responsible for checking eligibility of students and should work with their transport service provider to manage any issues.

School transport assistance eligibility criteria

We are funded to offer school transport assistance to eligible students only.

Video: School transport assistance eligibility – Ministry of Education

To qualify for assistance, students must meet the following criteria:

  • they are attending their closest (state or state-integrated) school
  • they live more than a certain distance from school:
    • 3.2km for Years 1-8
    • 4.8km for Years 9-13
  • there is no suitable public transport available.

Ineligible students

Transport service providers may also transport ineligible students.

Please note, we cannot, under our supplier contracts, require transport service providers to carry ineligible students.

If the transport service provider agrees to carry ineligible students, the following conditions must be met:

  • prior written agreement obtained from any school affected by the operation of a daily route
  • all students are seated
  • the vehicle doesn’t deviate from the contracted route to pick up ineligible students
  • all ineligible students are advised of the conditions of transportation which must be signed by their caregivers
  • transport service providers may also charge ineligible students a fare.

There may be situations where ineligible students need to be removed from Ministry-funded services (for example, due to overcrowding or for not meeting the above conditions).

If you have any questions around eligibility that have not been answered, please refer to the school transport roles and responsibilities guide or contact your regional transport advisor.

School transport roles and responsibilities guide [PDF, 318 KB]

School transport contacts – Ministry of Education

Circular 2022/01: Initiation of bargaining notice

Circular 2022/01 has been published on our website and is about the initiation of bargaining for the renewal of the Adult and Community Education (ACE) Staff in Schools' Collective Agreement.

Circular 2022/01: Notice to initiate bargaining – Ministry of Education

Employers must let any employees who may be covered by this collective agreement know about the upcoming bargaining.

Further information on the bargaining is available from the NZSTA.

Teacher subjects data collection

We will shortly be undertaking our second data collection on subjects taught by secondary school teachers.

This collection follows our first ‘teacher subjects’ collection in February 2021 and will take us a long way forward in understanding the needs of our teaching workforce – we don’t yet have a full picture of the subjects that teachers are teaching or that schools are offering.

The data will be collected, managed and used in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 and no individuals will be identified in this research.

This collection is quick and easy to do and should take less than five minutes.

Last year, most schools contacted participated and SPANZ, PPTA, NZAS and the Secondary Principal’s Council all strongly supported the collection.

On Monday 14 February we will be contacting all secondary and composite schools who use the KAMAR student management system to ask them to participate by clicking on a button in their SMS.

If you have any questions, please have a look at our teacher subjects data collection guidelines, instructions and privacy statement or email us at data.team@education.govt.nz.

Teacher subjects collection process – Education Counts

Have your say: Consultations open

Physical restraint framework

Supported by the Physical Restraint Advisory Group, we are consulting on updating the rules and guidelines on the use of physical restraint in schools following changes in the Education and Training Act 2020.

Updating the physical restraint framework – Ministry of Education

Read the draft rules and guidelines and provide feedback here:

Consultation on the use of physical restraint – Kōrero Mātauranga

Submissions are open until Thursday 31 March.

Purpose of the consultation

The purpose of the consultation is to make sure that the new rules and guidelines are workable and sustainable, uphold the rights of children, whānau and school staff, provide clarity and support as to when and how physical restraint can be used, and prevent the use of physical restraint except as a last resort to prevent imminent harm.

Summaries of the proposed changes are available in English, te reo Māori, and nine Pacific languages, with five accessibility formats to be added shortly.

Please share this link with your staff and wider school community so that we can hear from as many people as possible.

We are also working with Litmus to conduct focus groups and qualitative interviews with children, young people and their whānau. This will help us ensure that the new rules and guidelines, and associated training, supports practices that will meet their needs. This engagement will begin in March.

Enrolling international fee-paying students under Year 9

A reminder that consultation on the proposed changes to enrolling international fee-paying students under Year 9 is still open.

Find out more and have your say here:

Enrolling international fee-paying students under Year 9 – Kōrero Mātauranga

We encourage all schools to provide feedback on the proposed policy changes. Online sessions with schools will be organised through sector peak bodies. Registration information including dates and times will be sent by peak bodies via email.

Consultation closes on Wednesday 11 March. If you have questions, email IE.underyear9@education.govt.nz.

Earlier versions of He Pitopito Kōrero:

View all previous issues of He Pitopito Kōrero here