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Back to School

Message from the Principal - 12/05/20


Dear Parents and Caregivers

We are delighted that as the country moves to Alert Level 2 we will be able to welcome students back to school. Avondale College has been a very quiet place over the past couple of weeks, and all of our staff are looking forward to the energy and vibrancy that the students will bring on their return.

The Prime Minister has stated that:

“Schools and early learning services are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.”

The public health guidelines establish very high standards for health, hygiene, sanitation and cleaning at Alert Level 2. Over the next few days we will be working to make sure that we meet all of those standards, firstly for our staff and then for our students.

To support us in setting up effective processes around the public health guidelines, we will be staggering the return of students to school. This will enable us to ensure that systems around our classroom organisation, Health Clinic, Attendance Station, Canteen, College Shop and practical subjects are ‘tested’ and have time to embed, prior to all students being on site.

Staggered Return to School

Monday 18 May                 Teacher Only Day

Tuesday 19 May                 Year 13 students return to school. School day is 8.50am-3.15pm

Wednesday 20 May           Year 12 and Year 9 students return to school, along with Year 13  School day is 8.50am-3.15pm

Thursday 21 May               ALL STUDENTS attend school. School day is 8.50am-3.15pm

Parents/caregivers who wish their child to return to school prior to their scheduled start date should contact the relevant Year Level Dean. Classrooms and teachers will be available to supervise students whose usual classes have not begun.

Health and Wellbeing

The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is the primary concern as we return to school. The Ministry of Education state that:

“At Alert Level 2, almost all children and young people can attend early learning services, schools and kura onsite, including students in years 11 to 13. The only exceptions are children or young people who are sick, have any COVID-19 symptoms, are in isolation, or are awaiting the result of a test.”

Further information regarding health advice will be provided by our school nurses in tomorrow’s Heartbeat newsletter.

All student absences must be communicated to school using our usual methods.

Guidelines around group sizes and physical distancing do not apply in schools. However, in the first instance we will not be holding assemblies, we will be asking students to sit apart in classrooms, and we will consider carefully how we manage areas of the school that sometimes become crowded.

You will understand that it is not possible for teachers to closely monitor students’ physical distancing outside lesson times. Whilst teenagers are considered lower risk, please do discuss with your child how they will conduct themselves on their return to school. Please stress the importance of keeping some distance between themselves and others, regular hand washing and safe hygiene practices.

In line with public health guidelines, we will be asking students to maintain a personal contact tracing sheet. This should include places that students visit outside school, use of public transport and people that they meet. Please support your child in recording this information.

Our understanding is that school buses, public buses and trains will be operating ‘as normal’ next week. However, they are also being required to put in place stringent public health measures. You may wish to confirm arrangements with your child’s usual transport provider prior to the day of their return to school.

Teaching and Learning

It is a priority for us that classroom-based teaching and learning can resume over the next week. Students have done a great job of managing Distance Learning, but I know they are looking forward to reconnecting with their teachers and classmates. From next week, the priority for teachers will be their classroom teaching and the current Distance Learning will stop. If a student is absent, their teacher may be able to provide them with some work so that they do not fall behind, but there will not be day-to-day personal contact.

College Shop

For students, an important part of preparing for a return to school is making sure that they have stationery and school uniform. The College Shop will reopen from Monday 18 May, with the usual opening hours of 8.15am-1.30pm. For reasons of physical distancing, numbers in the shop at any one time will be limited.

Please support your child in meeting our uniform requirements ready for their return date, including correct shoes, jewellery, make up / nail varnish and shaving.


At this stage, we hope that our Sports, Performing Arts, Innovation and Scholars Academies will be operating from 25 May. Further information will be sent from the relevant staff in due course.


Thank you for your ongoing support. The past eight weeks have been a time of great challenges, but also great achievements. In returning to school we very much hope that the 2020 school closures remain a thing of the past.

Yours faithfully


Mrs L Watkinson  PRINCIPAL



Parents & Caregivers - Message from the Principal 29/04/20

Dear Parents and Caregivers

This week we have begun to return to our school, as New Zealand moves to Alert Level 3. Our grounds, security and cleaning staff have done a great job over recent weeks to keep the buildings well maintained and to prepare them for the return of staff and students this week.

The teacher only day yesterday was a great opportunity for our teachers to ‘re-group’ and have time to connect with their colleagues, to ensure that we are doing all that we can to support our students over the time that they are learning from home.

For many of our students and their families, Alert Level 3 will not be very different to lockdown, and thank you for making arrangements for most students to remain at home on Distance Learning. A very small number of students returned to school today, and we appreciate how responsible they have been in following the strict guidelines regarding health, hygiene and physical distancing.

If your family situation changes in the next few weeks, and you need to enrol your Year 9 or Year 10 child to come into school for their learning, then please make sure that you contact the relevant Dean, in advance, so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Students may not arrive at school if they are not enrolled to be on site.

The vast majority of students continue learning at home. I understand that the workbooks and learning resources that were ordered for students without devices, from the Ministry of Education, have now been delivered to Year 9 and Year 10 students. We have still not been allocated any resources for senior students, and we are still waiting for the delivery of devices. Now that we are back at school we may be able to send some generic learning materials to students. Please contact the relevant Dean if your child is in that situation.

I am aware that many students are concerned about assessments, tests and exams as Distance Learning continues. Dr Brown, Deputy Principal, will send students some further information about this later in the week. Year 13 students may be worried about university applications or applying for apprenticeships / jobs - there is a great deal of information about these areas in this week’s Heartbeat newsletter.

At the moment it is particularly important that we have up-to-date contact details for all of our students, whether they are at home or at school. If any of your personal details have changed please send updated information to

Thank you for your ongoing support of Avondale College.


Mrs L Watkinson  PRINCIPAL 



Important Survey Information for Parents of Year 9 & 10 students

Dear Parents & Caregivers of Year 9 & 10 students

Please check today's email to complete survey re your child's attendance during COVID-19 Alert Level 3

Yesterday the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April, and following that schools may start to re-open.

From Wednesday 29 April Avondale College will be open, but only for students in Year 9 and Year 10 who need to attend. If you can, you should keep your child at home. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home. If your child is sick please also ensure you keep them at home.

In order to ensure the safety of those children and our staff who do come to school, we will be operating with strict enforcement of health and safety measures. Students will be closely supervised and there will be physical distancing in class and at break times. Very limited interaction between students will take place.

During Alert Level 3, teaching through Distance Learning will continue, to support your child at home. Students who need to come to school will be in small classes and will work on the Distance Learning activities that their teachers are setting. Usual school lessons will not take place.

Students attending school will need to wear full school uniform, and should bring their own device to school if possible. The school canteen will not be open in the first instance, so students should bring their own food for the day. Water fountains are currently turned off so students should bring water bottles.

To assist us in planning for next week, please click on the link below, and complete the form provided. Further information will be sent to the families of students who need to come to school in due course.

“If you have any questions please contact Ms Joynes (Y9 Deputy Principal) or Ms Drew (Y10 Deputy Principal)”

Mrs L Watkinson


The link to the e-form is in the email sent to all Year 9 & 10 families today.

Students - Message from the Principal 20/04/20

20 April 2020


Dear Students

What a great start to Term 2!

It has been fantastic to see some of the work that you have been doing from home. Many teachers have commented on the high quality of the work that is being done and how flexible students are being to adapt to the new ways of working. Well done and keep it up!

Your teachers are putting a huge amount of work into making sure that the work they are posting on Teams is relevant and helpful. I know that they are really appreciating the positive comments that they are getting back from students, and they certainly appreciate your engagement in on-line lessons and the work that you are submitting.

Thank you also for supporting each other. I know that you are keeping in touch via social media and Teams, and it’s great to hear about students helping each other out, both with learning and to check in that people are OK. If you need help with anything don’t hesitate to contact your teachers, Deans or Guidance using the Contact Us page on our website

I know that some of you are waiting to get a laptop or workbooks delivered by the Ministry of Education and hopefully they will arrive this week. In the meantime do the work that your teachers set last term, make sure everything is up to date, and watch the Home Learning TV channels (TVNZ channel 2+1 and Māori TV). The TV programmes are on every day, and also on TVNZ On Demand Mr Cooper is teaching the Science classes and our Enviro Group should listen in for a name check tomorrow (Tues)!

At the moment we still don’t know when New Zealand will come out of lockdown or when we will be able to get back to school. In the meantime look after yourselves and look after your families and friends.

Have a great week

Mrs Watkinson


Parents & Caregivers - Message from the Principal 20/04/20

20 April 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers

We start this week with great uncertainty around the COVID-19 Alert Levels for New Zealand, and how this may impact schools and students. Once government decisions are made we will be able to start planning ‘what next’ for our students. Please be assured that central to our thinking will be student safety and welfare, along with maintaining high quality teaching and learning, whether that is at school or at home.

Thank you for supporting your children on their journey as independent learners through Distance Learning. It is really encouraging to see the vast majority of our students engaging with the learning that their teachers are setting, joining on line lessons, and submitting work by the required deadlines.

I realise that supporting Distance Learning is not always easy for families – I am experiencing personally the pressures of working from home whilst also supporting my children with their school work. I can see for myself some of the difficulties that families are facing with different children, in different schools, who have different requirements. Thank you for your efforts.

If you have any concerns or questions around the work that your child is doing, please do not hesitate to contact their teachers, the Directors of our departments, or your child’s Dean. You can also find information and advice from the Directors of each of our largest departments in last week’s Heartbeat newsletter.

A number of parents have inquired about the Ministry of Education provided devices and paper copy resources. Please be assured that all of the information that we gathered from families was passed on to the Ministry very promptly. The delivery of both devices and workbooks is being handled entirely by the Ministry, and we are optimistic that some students may start to receive those resources this week.

I wish you and your families all the best for the week ahead. Thank you for your ongoing support of Avondale College.

Yours sincerely

Lyndy Watkinson


Students - Message from the Principal 15/04/20

Term 2 Distance Learning

Dear Students

Welcome back to Term 2 – a term when there are many unknowns! I hope that you have had a restful Easter break and that your families are safe and well.

Starting the term today feels very strange, particularly as we are not able to physically welcome you back into Avondale College. Over the next few days you need to settle into a new routine of Distance Learning. You will have to prioritise, and work out how to make time for learning alongside your family and other commitments. I ask that do the best that you can, in the knowledge that your learning will be different to usual, and that there will inevitably be frustrations and challenges.

I wish to thank our teachers for the incredible hard work that has been done to set up on line learning. Over the next few weeks please remember that your teacher might be trying to keep in touch with over 200 students, and they are also looking after their own family.

Email links for all of your teachers, Deans and guidance counsellors have been put on the ‘Contact Us’ page of our website. Please use email sensibly and be patient – teachers will get back to you as soon as they can. Sometimes you may be able to work digitally with a friend if you are not sure what to do, or if you find a section of work hard.

Learning at home:

  • Get out of bed! Make sure you decide a time to start studying, tell your family, and stick to it!
  • Try set up a quiet and comfortable learning space at a desk or table.
  • Try to set up a routine for your ‘school days’. Make sure this is realistic, and try to do 45-55 minute blocks of learning before you have a break.
  • Look out for emails from your Home Room Teacher, and your teachers.
  • Keep track of work on Microsoft Teams. You will be in a different Team for each of your subjects.
  • Make sure you give equal time to each of your subjects – don’t just do the ones you find easy, or that you enjoy the most.
  • All of your work and communication on line must follow our Student Data Use Agreement
  • Make sure you eat healthily and do some exercise every day.

Enjoy learning in this different way, and keep in touch with your teachers and classmates.

Best regards,


Parents & Caregivers: From the Principal 15/04/20

Term 2 Distance Learning

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Welcome back to Term 2! I hope that you have had a restful Easter break and that your families are safe and well.

Starting the term today feels very strange, particularly as we are not able to physically welcome students back into Avondale College. Over the next few days teachers and students will settle into a new routine of Distance Learning, and we appreciate the support of parents and caregivers over this time.

I wish to thank our teachers for the incredible hard work that was done over the last week of Term 1, which many of them have continued over the school holidays. This work has put us in a strong position to support students with their learning at home over the weeks to come.

Recent government announcements have made it clear that whilst COVID-19 Alert Level 4 may end soon, that does not mean that schools will reopen as normal. We are well prepared to maintain Distance Learning for as long as required, and will continue to adapt our learning and assessment programmes as required.

We are aware that students will need to prioritise their learning at home. Students will need to consider how they make time for learning alongside their family and other commitments. Students should do the best that they can, in the knowledge that their learning will be different to usual, and that there will inevitably be frustrations and challenges.

If students or parents have questions about learning, or need support from teachers, Deans or Guidance Counsellors, please use the links on the ‘Contact Us’ page of our website to contact the relevant person.

During the holidays we provided the Ministry of Education with details of students who do not have access to the internet or devices. The Ministry have informed us that laptops will start being delivered to homes later this week, in the first place prioritising Year 13 students. The Information for Parents on Digital Learning document that was sent at the end of Term 1 contains very important information about how to log into our school IT network, and how to access on-line learning. (Find link to this document below).

Many students who do not have internet access at home collected hard copy materials last term. The Ministry of Education will be delivering further workbooks to homes that do not have internet access. However, these will be generic, so students should use these alongside their course outlines, so that they work on the relevant sections.

Further learning materials have been made available by the Ministry of Education:

Learning resources:

Home Learning TV: 

You may wish to refer back to two documents that were sent out to families at the end of last term:

Learning at Home – Advice for Parents & Caregivers

Information for Parents on Digital Learning

I will continue to communicate information to families and students as we receive it, through email and our website.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Avondale College.



From the Principal - 27/03/20