he pitopito kōrero

He Pitopito Kōrero
Update – 10 May 2022

10 May 2022
he pitopito kōrero

He Pitopito Kōrero
Update – 10 May 2022

10 May 2022

Nau mai haere mai ki te kaupeka kura tuarua, welcome to Term 2.

Please continue to report your case numbers to your contacts in your Te Mahau office. We are still using the information to inform the Government’s understanding of patterns and level of disruption caused by COVID-19. I appreciate this creates additional work for you, however, I can assure you we’ll stop requesting this data as soon as it’s no longer needed.

Heading into winter, it’s likely you’ll also find yourself up against the impacts of other illnesses. To support you with this we have provided further information below, including a template letter you may wish to share with parents and whānau.

On another note, it has been disappointing to hear from some of our Russian whānau that their children are experiencing bullying and harassment at school because of the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine.

As we lean into Bullying-Free Week, I’m reminded how strongly we as adults need to create opportunities to manage conflict and difference with respect. For those of you with Russian migrant families in your school, please check how they are getting on.

I’d also encourage you to share messaging with your school community that bullying is abuse and it is not OK. There’s more information on Bullying-Free NZ Week below.

Aku manaakitanga,

New: Face mask exemption card

A new face mask exemption process is being implemented from Tuesday 31 May.

Using a self-declaration process, people who qualify for an exemption from the requirement to wear a face mask can apply for and be issued with a new personalised exemption card.

The new card will provide evidence of a person’s exempt status and will be issued digitally (or by mail if needed).

The COVID-19 legislation already provides a legal exemption for circumstances in which some people are not required to wear a face mask. It also exempts anyone who has a physical or mental condition that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable, as well as when someone is communicating with a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind or has a disability which makes it hard to have effective communication.

When face masks do not need to be worn – Unite Against COVID-19

There is currently no official way to provide proof of an exemption. (Though you’ll be aware there has been a communication card available for people to apply for which can assist card holders to alert people or businesses that they cannot wear a mask.)

The new exemption card has a legal status that neither the old exemption card nor the interim communication card (issued by the Ministry of Health) has.

Face mask communication card – Ministry of Health

Further information

The Ministry of Health website will be updated on Tuesday 31 May with new exemption card information.

Advice for people who are unable to wear a face mask – Ministry of Health

Distribution of rapid antigen tests

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) have been distributed to all schools who did not opt out of receiving them for symptomatic people at school.

Specialist schools and schools with special units or boarding hostels have been provided with enough tests to cover Terms 2 and 3. This includes an allocation to allow for voluntary twice weekly testing of staff until the end of Term 3. Tests should be stored to be used by the school in anticipation of any future COVID-19 outbreaks.

If you have not received your tests by this Friday 13 May email rapidantigen.testordering@education.govt.nz.

Ventilation in colder weather

Our updated ventilation guidance includes new advice for cold weather, information about additional support available and downloadable resources including ventilation posters and a pre-winter checklist.

Ventilation – Te Mahau

Delivery of Ministry-supplied CO2 monitors and air cleaners

As you know, we are in the process of supplying a limited number of portable CO2 monitors and portable air cleaners (purifiers) to schools.

If your school has already requested these devices through the online form we sent at the end of Term 1, they will be delivered in May.

If your school hasn’t sent its request yet, you can do this via the request form.

Portable air cleaner and CO2 monitor online request form – Ministry of Education

Later this month we will provide details of a further allocation of Ministry-provided air cleaners for schools to be distributed by the end of June.

Purchasing additional CO2 monitors

Schools can now purchase additional Aranet4 CO2 monitors at a discounted price from our nominated supplier, Butler Techsense.

To do this go to their website, add the item to your cart and enter the discount code ‘3DUCATION’ at checkout.

Buy Aranet4 CO2 monitors – CO2Sensor

There is information about how to use CO2 monitors on Te Mahau.

Assessing ventilation and carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring – Te Mahau

Purchasing additional air cleaners

Schools will also soon be able to purchase additional air cleaners at a discounted price from our nominated supplier(s). Details about how to do this will be made available in the coming weeks.

There is information about how to use portable air cleaners on Te Mahau.

Portable air cleaners – Te Mahau

Gold Star: New workforce wellbeing programme

We are introducing a new wellbeing programme to support the education workforce by providing a space and tools for people to improve their own wellbeing.

The Gold Star programme will be delivered by EAP Services. It is an interactive programme that can be accessed at any time. It provides a supportive online learning environment with access to a suite of wellbeing-related tools and information. Content includes e-learning modules, webinars with topic specialists, and self-tests to check and monitor your own wellbeing.

Gold Star – EAP Services

Registration is required to participate. We encourage you and your staff to register now so you can get access to upcoming topics and participate.

Gold Star is free of charge, and available to state and state-integrated schools, kura, early learning centres and kōhanga reo.

If you’d like to promote and share Gold Star with your staff, you’ll find a poster here:

Gold Star: Supporting your emotional wellbeing [PDF, 3.89 MB]

Supporting ākonga at higher risk of severe illness in Orange

Through your risk assessment planning, you’ll already know the ākonga and whānau who are more at risk from a COVID-19 infection.

Over the coming months the risk profile for your school and wider community may continue to change as COVID-19 case numbers fluctuate. You will be likely already be working with these whānau to provide hybrid or distance learning options and keep connected with ākonga.

In some cases, schools may need support to provide learning in the medium- to long-term.

Te Kura COVID-19 At-Risk Gateway

To help you to achieve this, a new, temporary Government-funded dual tuition gateway to Te Aho o Te Kura Ponamu (Te Kura) has been established.

The ‘COVID-19 At-Risk Gateway’ will enable up to 1,000 ākonga to enrol in Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu for all or part of their learning programme.

See Te Mahau website for more information on enrolment eligibility and processes.

Te Kura COVID-19 At-Risk Gateway – Te Mahau

Update: Vaccine Mandate Relief Support Scheme

We’ve made changes to the deadline and criteria for the Vaccine Mandate Relief Support Scheme.

Vaccine Mandate Relief Support Scheme – Te Mahau

If you have any questions or concerns relating to this, contact us at resourcing@education.govt.nz.

Update to the criteria

The eligibility criteria now include relievers hired to cover staff impacted by the vaccine mandate while they were progressing through an employment process.

This is in addition to the current criteria, which covers the cost of replacing staff whose employment had been terminated and were in the paid notice period.

The changes to the criteria are below.

Eligibility criteria

  • The school must have entered an employment process which has resulted in termination of employment due to non-compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
  • The school must have incurred actual additional relief teacher costs (that is, a reliever was hired during the staff member’s employment process or during the terminated employee’s paid notice period).
  • This fund will only provide support for the time during which the board worked through the employment process with affected staff or during the paid notice period (that is, up to four weeks for non-teaching staff or up to eight weeks for teaching staff).
  • The affected staff must fit into one of the following seven categories: principals, teachers, teacher aides, relief teachers and casual staff, caretakers and cleaners or administration staff.
  • The cost is not related to contractors and other tradespeople, service managers, caregivers, and other staff. It is considered these positions will be replaced on a contractual basis and therefore do not require inclusion for backfill of costs to employ relief staff; or may be volunteer staff members thereby negating the school incurring any costs.
  • The cost must have incurred between the dates of 18 October 2021 and 20 December 2021.
  • If the paid notice period took place while the school was closed, no funded relief cover would be available.

Extension to the deadline for applications

We are extending the deadline for applications to give schools and kura time to apply under the updated criteria.

The new deadline for applications is Friday 10 June.

Funding forms – Ministry of Education

Please note, as applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis eligibility cannot be confirmed prior to an application being submitted and the assessment being completed.

Reflections on leading during a pandemic: Part 1

We updated you in our 29 March Bulletin on the progress former principals Steve Lindsey and Erika Ross made collecting the experiences other principals have had leading their school communities through a pandemic.

In a new collection of articles published on Te Mahau website and in Education Gazette, we hear from a handful of Auckland principals who share their reflections on the challenges and the opportunities that emerged.

Sir Edmund Hillary Middle School: Connecting with families to lift attendance

Flatbush Primary: Embedding learnings

Glen Taylor School: Hub of the community

Find the fill series on Te Mahau website.

Get involved

Navigating COVID-19: School leaders reflect – Te Mahau

Steve and Erika would love to hear from more of you about your experiences navigating COVID-19. If you’d like to be involved, email stevelindsey400@gmail.com or erika.ross75@gmail.com.

We’ll let you know when new content is available as Steve and Erika interview and video more school leaders throughout the country.

Learning from shared experiences of COVID-19 – School Bulletin 29 March

Winter illnesses

Along with COVID-19, it is likely you will also be grappling with the impacts of illnesses such as colds and flus through the winter season.

Caution over the flu season is very important in 2022.

As noted on the Ministry of Health website:

  • we've had very little influenza circulating in our communities since the pandemic began. This means our community immunity is lower than usual
  • this winter there is the very real possibility of having flu and COVID-19 within a short space of time – this can lead to very serious illness
  • if you do catch flu, it’s important that you stay away from work or school while you’re unwell. Look after yourself and your family – rest and fluids are especially important
  • the symptoms of influenza can be the same or similar to the symptoms of COVID-19
  • if you’re sick, stay home. Call your health provider or Healthline and follow their advice. They may advise you to have a COVID-19 test, and self-isolate while you wait for the results
  • it’s also important to seek medical advice early if you are concerned, and especially if there are any danger signs, even if you have been seen before. Other serious conditions can also look like the flu, including meningococcal disease.

Influenza – Ministry of Health


You may also experience multiple peaks of illness in your community, including COVID-19.

Because we are more vulnerable as a population to colds and flus, maintaining a highly cautious approach for anyone who is symptomatic is strongly encouraged to keep spread of illness as low as possible.


The tools you have to minimise spread of COVID-19 will also support a reduction in transmission of other seasonal illnesses. These include:

  • wearing masks
  • ensuring you have good ventilation
  • staying home if unwell
  • cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly
  • encouraging vaccination in your staff and students (for example, COVID-19, flu, measles, whooping cough).

In 2022, flu vaccinations are free for pregnant people, people aged 65 years and over (Māori and Pacific people aged 55 years and over), people who have a long-term medical condition like diabetes, asthma, or a heart condition and children under the age of four who have been in hospital with respiratory illness such as asthma.

Infectious diseases information and exclusion list

The HealthEd website has a poster which contains at-a-glance information on a number of diseases children may get.

Infectious diseases information and exclusion list [PDF, 234 KB]

The poster shows how each disease is spread, early symptoms, time between exposure and sickness and how long students should be excluded from your school or kura.

Winter illnesses: Letter template for your school community

False or misleading information online

False or misleading information about COVID-19 online continues to be an issue in many communities and can have harmful effects.

While people have the right to express their opinion, it’s important to stop the spread of misinformation. We all help to do this by reporting fake accounts or pages and domains.

Learn more about misinformation on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Misinformation, scams and online harm – Unite Against COVID-19

False or misleading information on social media

If you see content on social media that you believe to be false or misleading, you should report it to the hosting social media platform. 

How to report misinformation on social media – Unite Against COVID-19

False or misleading information on websites and other media

If you see or hear content on a website, television, radio or in print that you believe to be false or misleading, send details to CertNZ.

Report COVID-19 misinformation – CertNZ

Budget 2022: Funding to keep tamariki learning

As you’ll know, on Sunday 1 May Minister Hipkins and Minister Tinetti made a pre-budget announcement releasing details of funding to improve student attendance at school and kura.

We know that there are many reasons students disengage from learning and that this has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding through Budget 2022 will support changes to the education system and make targeted investments to make schools a place where students can access the support they need, where there are ways back into learning for those who have disengaged, and where all children and young people want to be.

If you’d like full details of the funding, we have documented key messages and answers to any questions you may have.

Supporting student engagement: Key messages and FAQs [DOCX, 56 KB]

Budget 2022 invests to keep Kiwi kids in class and learning – Beehive

Principals’ eligibility criteria development

Work is underway to develop draft principals’ eligibility criteria. Once the draft is available there will be wide consultation on the draft.

The Minister is required by the Education and Training Act to publish criteria intended to describe the attributes that applicants for principal roles should have.

To get this work started, Accord partners have brought together three people with school leadership experience and expertise to draft the criteria for English-medium schools.

NZEI Te Riu Roa, PPTA Te Wehengarua, and the Mātauranga Iwi Leaders Group (on the Ministry’s behalf) each nominated a member of this group – they are Whetu Cormick, Lynlee Smith and Keri Milne-Ihimaera.

We also have a working group of principals and board members to support us in draft criteria development.

We are working with Te Runanga Nui and Ngā Kura a Iwi to agree an approach that will work for Kaupapa Māori-medium kura. 

The criteria will take time to develop and there will be plenty of time to engage on them.

Term 1 attendance data collection

We are currently collecting attendance data for Term 1 from all state and state-integrated schools with an electronic attendance register (eAR).

This is an important aspect of our work on absenteeism and truancy by using evidence from schools to monitor trends, understand drivers and target resources. To achieve the best results, we need data from as many schools as possible, including schools who have good attendance records.

This data is due by this Friday 13 May.

Thank you to all schools who have already sent their Term 1 attendance data. By now you should have received an Attendance (Every Day Matters) report tailored to your school. This can be helpful in identifying students and groups who might benefit from targeted interventions to improve attendance.

If you have not yet had a chance to submit your attendance data, please create the attendance file from your student management system (SMS) for all of Term 1 and send it to us via your SMS. Instructions have been emailed to your administrator.

Information about finances

2021 financial reporting

State and state-integrated schools

  • Your 2021 financial statements were due to be submitted to your auditor by Thursday 31 March. If you haven’t submitted, we encourage you to do this as soon as you can.
  • Once your auditor has completed their audit of your financial statements and provided their report to you, you must submit your annual report to us using the School Data Portal. Annual reports are due by Tuesday 31 May.
  • After submitting your annual report, please ensure that you also publish it on your school’s website.
  • If your school does not have a website, email planning.reporting@education.govt.nz to request that we publish it on Education Counts.

If you have any questions of concerns regarding your 2021 financial reporting or if you are experiencing delays due to COVID-19, we encourage you to contact your finance advisor, and we can discuss how we are best able to support you with these.

School annual reports – Education Counts

Contact details for managing school finances – Ministry of Education

Private schools

All private schools are required to submit their audited financial statements to the Ministry annually, as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year.

Please email a PDF copy to school.finances@education.govt.nz.

Provision for cyclical maintenance

As part of your financial reporting, you are required to include a provision for cyclical maintenance as a liability in your statement of financial position.

Including this provision ensures that your financial reporting captures the annual cost of maintenance activities that occur on a cyclical basis (for example, painting, which generally happens every seven years).

Our guidance has been updated to help you prepare your provision for cyclical maintenance:

  • see section 4.20 ‘Provision of cyclical maintenance’ in the Financial Information for Schools Handbook
  • see the cyclical maintenance provision resources on our website (these resources include the cyclical maintenance provision calculator and worked examples).

Financial Information for Schools Handbook [PDF, 2 MB]

Cyclical maintenance provision resources – Ministry of Education


If your school/kura is currently undergoing significant redevelopment or has other uncertainties due to the condition of the school buildings, please contact your property adviser or school finance advisor for additional support when calculating your cyclical maintenance provision.

If you have any questions on preparing your 2021 financial reporting, please contact your school finance advisor.

Confirmed staffing process for permanent teaching appointments

If you have a 2022 provisional staffing entitlement greater than that generated by your 1 March roll, you will receive a letter tomorrow Wednesday 11 May through the Secure Data Portal.

  • If your school has a difference of 1.0 or more FTTE you will need to advise us when making a permanent appointment in excess of your confirmed entitlement staffing at any point during the remainder of the 2022 year.
  • If your school has a difference greater than 0.1 FTTE but under 1.0 FTTE, you are not required to advise us when making permanent appointments in excess of your confirmed staffing entitlement.

For more information see permanent staff appointments on our website.

Permanent staff appointments – Ministry of Education

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories webinars

We’re providing free webinars on Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories to support leaders, teachers and others with the new histories curriculum content.

Professional learning opportunities – Aotearoa NZ's Histories

There are many dates throughout Terms 2 and 3 available. You can choose a time that works best for you.

This is part of the first package of support for Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories. Te Poutāhū | The Curriculum Centre (part of Te Mahau) will continue to provide ongoing support through 2022 and beyond for histories and social sciences.

Accord teacher-only days

We look forward to engaging with you and your kaiako during the first Accord teacher-only day for secondary schools and wharekura for 2022.

Four teacher-only days are allocated this year to support the implementation of changes to strengthen NCEA.

Teacher-only days – NCEA Education

Teacher-only day May 2022 information and resources – Ako

Circular 2022/03: Initiation of bargaining notice for teachers

Circular 2022/03 has been published on our website and is about the initiation of bargaining for the renewal of the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement, the Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement and the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement.

Circular 2022/03: Notice to initiate bargaining – Ministry of Education

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

Further information on the bargaining is available from the NZSTA.

PISA 2022 study resumes

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has returned in 2022 and is focussed on measuring the impact of COVID-19 on the wellbeing and achievement of our learners.

Want to be involved? We’d like to get at least 60 more schools on board.

Email info.pisa@education.govt.nz for more information.

Why PISA is important

Evidence from PISA plays a critical role in informing educational policy and developing resources and insights for teacher practice.

The data we collect from PISA is also used to monitor the wellbeing and achievement of our learners over time and will measure the impact of COVID-19 and all other interventions and changes to the education system. 

As part of the global community, the study is a way we share our best practices with other countries and learn from others.

Be part of the study

If your school has been invited to participate and you are hesitant to join, we encourage you to reconsider.

While we understand staff and students are tired of disruptions and want to get to learning, we’re open to discussing how we can make the experience a valuable one for you and your students. We will be in touch again this month.

As a reminder, participating schools receive compensation in the form of an individualised report with the achievement and survey results of your students in comparison to all New Zealand schools, and a direct payment to your school for staff time and food for participating students.

Have your say: Healthy drinks only

We are consulting on proposals that will require all primary schools to only provide healthy drinking options (water, milk and non-dairy milk alternatives) to students.

This has come about because good progress has already been made by primary schools in your voluntary adoption of healthy drinks (or water-only policies) for students.

Learn more and make a submission on our consultation hub.

Provision of healthy drinks in schools – Ministry of Education

The consultation closes at midnight on Thursday June 2.

If it is agreed to by Cabinet, the new duty to only provide healthy drinks in all primary schools would take effect from Term 1 2023.

The Government is also considering a similar policy in secondary schools. Before taking this step however, the consultation is asking what the barriers to introduction might be.

Reminder: Bullying-Free NZ Week

What has your school got planned for Bullying-Free NZ Week? It’s happening next week 16 to 20 May.

Bullying-Free NZ Week (BFNZ) is a chance to empower your students and teachers to take the lead, spread the word and make a change, to help prevent bullying together.

In conjunction with Pink Shirt Day on Friday 20, the theme this year is ‘He kōtuinga mahi iti, he hua pai-ā rau – Small ripples, create big waves’.

Download action packs for students and teachers from the BFNZ website to find out and share quick ways to get involved.

Bullying-Free NZ Week 2022 – Bullying-Free NZ

Facebook groups for educators

We have launched two closed Facebook groups – one for primary school educators and one for secondary school educators.

The purpose of these community groups is for educators to:

  • stay informed about current events and key work programmes
  • learn more about policy updates
  • access education news
  • share your stories and insights
  • ask questions
  • give us thoughtful feedback.

Join a group

Area school awards and sabbaticals closing soon

The TeachNZ area school awards and sabbaticals are still open – find out if you’re eligible and apply now through the TeachNZ website.

Area school awards, sabbaticals and grants – TeachNZ

Applications close next Wednesday 18 May.

If you have any questions or queries, you can get in touch with us by calling 0800 165 225 or emailing teacher.studyawards@education.govt.nz.

Microsoft Teams and accessibility tools for kaiako

Throughout Term 2, Microsoft learning delivery specialist Conor McHoull is running free weekly online training for schools.

Register: Training for teachers – Microsoft

Each session will cover different topics and will provide hot tips and tricks. Topics will alternate between Microsoft Teams for the classroom and ways to build an inclusive classroom with Microsoft accessibility tools. 

Session overview

The sessions will run on Tuesdays from 3:30pm to 4:30pm.  

  • Tuesday 17 May: Collaborate with colleagues through Teams and OneNote
  • Tuesday 24 May: Inclusive classroom | Immersive reader and reading progress 
  • Tuesday 31 May: Assign and assess assignments using forms in Teams
  • Tuesday 7 June: Inclusive classroom | Using the digital pen
  • Tuesday 14 June: Staying connected with Microsoft Teams and Office 365
  • Tuesday 21 June: Inclusive classroom | Special education and online learning
  • Tuesday 28 June: Drop-in session for refreshers and questions
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