Education Gazette Special April Covid-19 issue

Page 1

15 April 2020 | Vol. 99 Special Edition

Special COVID-19 Issue:

Learning at a new level Rolling out distance learning

The importance of staying connected

Making wellbeing a priority

A simple way to teach your NCEA class online.

FREE until June 1st

Learn more at

Special COVID-19 Issue:

Learning at a new level Editor’s note “We are chalking this one up to memorymaking around ‘living through the lockdown’, a pretty unprecedented time in history that we all get to share intimately as a whānau together.” These were the words of Amy Whetu, one parent we spoke to for this special COVID-19 issue. Like families all around New Zealand, the Whetu whānau is adjusting to a new way of learning and operating as a household. Teaching and learning is certainly going to look and feel very different for students and teachers alike, as we embark on term 2. Thanks to the expertise and passion of our educators, combined with the initiatives to connect learners with internet access, devices, learning materials and TV broadcasts, every young person in New Zealand should eventually have access to learning at this challenging time. While this special issue explores these initiatives, its focus is on the importance of looking after your wellbeing and staying connected – and helping students and their families and whānau to do the same.

2 Rolling out distance learning across Aotearoa

12 Rallying together to support learners and their families



Teaching remotely: what’s working for you?


Support for educators during COVID-19


Trust and relationships vital

Pacific communities rise to challenge

Remember, he waka eke noa – we’re all in this together.

On the cover P2: Year 7 Papamoa College student Daniel embraces learning from home.

15 April 2020 | Vol. 99 Special Edition

Special COVID-19 Issue:

Learning at a new level Rolling out distance learning

The importance of staying connected

Making wellbeing a priority

20 Keep it simple during COVID-19 crisis


22 Life inside a bubble

Staying safe online

Key contacts

Published by

View us online

Reporter Joy Stephens

Education Gazette is published for the Ministry of Education by NZME. Educational Media Ltd. PO Box 200, Wellington. @EducationGovtNZ

ISSN 0111 1582

The next issue of the Education Gazette will be published on 6 May 2020 in digital format only. The deadline for vacancies and notices in this issue is 4pm on Friday 24 April 2020.

Display & paid advertising Jill Parker 04 915 9798 Vacancies & notices listings Eleni Hilder 04 915 9796 Subscriptions

All advertising is subject to advertisers agreeing to NZME. Educational Media’s terms and conditions

Story ideas


This publication is produced using FSC® Certified paper from Responsible Sources.

We welcome your story ideas. Please send a brief outline – 50-100 words – to

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020




Education Gazette  15 April 2020


Rolling out distance learning across Aotearoa The roll-out of internet access, devices, materials and new home learning television channels will help children and young people all over New Zealand learn from home as part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


earning will look rather different for Millie and Rodie Whetu this term - as it will for tamariki and rangatahi around Aotearoa. The Ngāruawāhia siblings are all set for remote learning with desks and devices at the ready. Millie, 12, is pleased that she can fit her learning around family time. “I like getting to spend more time with my family, doing more bike rides and skating and walks and baking. But it’s hard not seeing my friends and managing my school work with little kids around – even though I love them!” she adds. Millie is big sister to Rodie, 9, Jonas, 3, and Alba, 5 months.

Millie and Rodie are all set up for learning from home. TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



A new channel for learning

The Ministry has also been working with Māori Television to make

Teacher Fern Webber was a bundle of both nerves and excitement as he prepared for filming on the new Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV channel that will be rolled out this week to Kiwi households to support learners during the lockdown period.

programmes on Māori Television are for reo Māori learners of all

Fern, who teaches at Catholic Cathedral College in Christchurch, says the teachers involved with filming for the new channels have been well supported with lesson plans from the Ministry of Education. “The challenge is to be innovative, to teach the learning objectives with the limited material resources we have available to us at this time.” The Ministry has been working with teachers like Fern, alongside staff from the Education Review Office and Te Kura to deliver content for children and their parents and whānau. Lessons for those aged five to 15 years of age will cover a broad curriculum that includes movement, music, physical education, wellbeing, numeracy, literacy and science through an integrated approach to curriculum.


Education Gazette  15 April 2020

distance learning accessible for all ākonga and whānau. The ages, covering ākonga in kōhungahunga (early learning), kura tuatahi (primary) and wharekura (secondary). Programming will be aligned to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and contain age-appropriate content that tamariki can do on their own, with their siblings or together as a whānau. Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says the Government is also exploring working with iwi radio as a platform to broadcast educational content to ākonga. Radio content will be linked with the other rauemi (resource) in Ki Te Ao Mārama on Kauwhata Reo. The new Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV channels will feature broadcasts that will run from 9am to 3pm on school days on TVNZ channel 2+1 and on TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502. The Māori medium channel will be available on Māori Television.

COVID-19 “The spread of ages and needs in our whānau is pretty diverse,” agrees their mother Amy Whetu. “We are doing our best to help them all learn and experience the online classes that the school has on offer, but also create opportunities to learn through everyday life and experiences, such as cooking, gardening and art.” Amy says that although it is challenging at times – particularly juggling the kids’ learning and routines with running their own business – overall, they are loving the experience. “We are chalking this one up to memory-making around ‘living through the lockdown’, a pretty unprecedented time in history that we all get to share intimately as a whānau together.”

Supporting distance learning The Ministry of Education is rolling out an extensive, four-channel package to provide at least one distance-learning option for all families. The package includes: » increasing the number of students and ākonga who have access to connectivity and devices » supporting learners with hard copy materials for different year levels where possible » a range of NCEA subject-specific hard-copy resources for delivery to Year 11–13 students and ākonga » more online resources for schools and kura, parents, ākonga and whānau available through the Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites » providing insurance cover for devices that schools and kura send to student homes » professional learning and development (PLD) to support teachers and kaiako, tumuaki and leaders to work remotely with their students, ākonga and whānau » TV channels in English and te reo Māori offering learning programmes for learners from early learning to Year 10 » Extending access to the Virtual Learning Network. The Ministry is also fast-tracking ways to connect learning support coordinators with families and whānau remotely. Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the plan is broad enough to ensure every learner has at least one channel for accessing education. “We know that tens of thousands of households lack either an internet connection or an education device at home. We’re working with telecommunications companies and internet service providers to connect as many of these households as we can as quickly as possible.” The Government will prioritise the roll-out of internet access, devices and materials to students according to need, with the initial focus on senior secondary school students working towards NCEA. They will then move down the year levels from Years 10 to 1. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau keep their children engaged in learning through play.

Preparing for every scenario Minister Hipkins says the Government is still working to a timeframe of a four-week lockdown, but is also planning for every scenario. “That means, in education, developing robust distance learning infrastructure and a more resilient system so that learners can receive education in any scenario.” The Minister reiterated that parents weren’t expected to become teachers during this time, and that teachers will continue to have the primary role in students’ learning.

“We are chalking this one up to memory-making around ‘living through the lockdown’, a pretty unprecedented time in history that we all get to share intimately as a whānau together.” Amy Whetu

TAKE THE LEAD ON SAFER TAKE THE LEAD ON SAFER TAKE THE LEAD TAKE THEJOURNEYS LEAD ON ON SAFER SAFER SCHOOL SCHOOL JOURNEYS SCHOOL JOURNEYS SCHOOL JOURNEYS Road safety resources for teachers and Road safety resources for teachers and school leaders. Road resources Road safety safety resources for for teachers teachers and and school leaders. •school Curriculum units Years 1-13 school leaders. leaders. • Curriculum units Years 1-13 School Traffic Safety Teams •• Curriculum units Years 1-13 units Years 1-13 manual • Curriculum School Traffic Safety Teams manual Advice for families and school policies •• School Traffic Safety Teams manual Safetyand Teams manual • School Advice Traffic for families school policies •• Advice Advice for for families families and and school school policies policies

“Together we will support New Zealand’s efforts to save lives through physical distancing, while minimising the impact on children’s learning and wellbeing.”

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



Teaching remotely: what’s working for you?

As schools across New Zealand prepare to embrace distance teaching and learning at the start of Term 2, Education Gazette asks teachers for their tips on how to deliver learning programmes to children at home. Gail Abbitt, Digital Technology Specialist Curriculum Leader, Rototuna High School “I think the important thing is to not overload students with too many platforms. The temptation can be to try out lots of different things because there is such a plethora of apps, websites, etc, out there. “I am using our school LMS Schoology for most things and I’m finding that it is working really well. I teach digital technology at a junior high school; I’m sticking with the platforms we use in class (Scratch,, Metaverse, CoSpaces etc). I’m using Camtasia for screencasting tutorials (Screencastify is also good and free), or for answering questions on the discussion forums that need a demonstration.

Natalie Wright, Deputy Principal (Senior School), Takanini School “Teacher Tools has excellent videos that explain the different Numeracy Project strategies. There are also follow-up activities you can purchase called the White Books. This would support families helping their children at home as they could watch and re-watch videos. This would support households who may not have the numeracy levels to support their children.”

“I’ve done a couple of Google Hangouts with my Learning Advisory (tutor group) to check-in and have set them a daily challenge/activity in the mornings, which they seem to be enjoying – getting inspiration from the Bear Grylls Indoor Challenge site.”

Abi Knauf, New Plymouth Adventist Christian School “Our online learning for Years 0–3 is via Seesaw and a Google doc provided to parents. Our online learning for Years 4–8 is via three platforms: Google Site/Google Classroom and Seesaw. “From maths and reading there are literacy contracts with hyperlinks to assist learning. This has ‘Must Do’s’ and ‘Can Do’s’. This is already what we do in class, so the transition to remote learning has been smooth. All the required activities have been posted to Google Classroom.”

Nadine Fiebiger, Assistant Principal, Mission Heights Primary School  Here are a few videos that Nadine created for her students to help with teaching and learning fractions: Understanding Fractions Finding a Fraction of a Shape Fraction Challenge

What’s working well for you? We’d love to hear your tips, ideas and inspiration for remote teaching and learning. Email gazette@


Education Gazette  15 April 2020


New NCEA online classroom enabling teachers and students to continue schooling from home


earnCoach, a platform for online schooling, has launched virtual classrooms for secondary schools across New Zealand, ensuring that the nation’s youth keep up to date with their NCEA study. Dave Cameron, LearnCoach Founder and CEO, says that they have designed online NCEA courses that can be delivered to any student, anywhere in New Zealand. With the new platform, teachers can monitor and support their classes, while students learn from home. “We’ve packaged over 100 online NCEA courses into a personalised platform for teachers, giving teachers everything they need to run classes directly through LearnCoach. The lockdown will have a massive impact on the young people of New Zealand who are trying to study and we wanted to find a way to help minimise the damage that is going to have.” Due to the enormous pressures already being faced due to COVID-19, LearnCoach are offering a free subscription for teachers and

students to the new online classroom during the pandemic. To set up their virtual classroom, teachers pick any NCEA course, customise courses for their class, and monitor their students. Students are provided with a signup link to access all of their notes, exercises, online lessons and testing uploaded by their subject teacher. “The students say it is phenomenal,” says Russel Dunn, longtime LearnCoach user and Deputy Principal at Tamaki College. “It’s so important for teachers to manage their classes online. But it’s a totally new way of teaching, and that’s difficult for teachers that have been traditionally trained. For students, it’s great they can learn at their own pace; speeding up repeating or rewinding their digital tutor. It means they never feel slow or silly taking more time to learn. When students have questions, the teacher is able to help,” added Russel.

To learn more about the new platform or to register for free access, visit


Support for educators during COVID-19 Putting wellbeing first Education unions share with Education Gazette the importance of teachers prioritising their own mental health and wellbeing in order to be effective in helping their students, whānau and communities.


eachers will need to put on their own ‘oxygen masks’ before they can help their students, whānau and communities during the current COVID-19 crisis, says Jack Boyle, president of the PPTA (Post Primary Teachers Association). Over the past few years, the Ministry of Education has been working alongside teacher unions PPTA and NZEI Te Riu Roa to develop a Wellbeing Framework to better support teacher wellbeing. The framework had been planned for school use early in 2020, however the COVID-19 crisis overtook the rollout of the resource.

Jack Boyle.

Both education unions are focusing on providing advocacy; wellbeing, employment and professional advice to members during the crisis, say Jack and Liam Rutherford, the president of NZEI Te Riu Roa.

Connectedness vital Jack says the work done by sector leaders and the Ministry on the Wellbeing Framework now seems particularly relevant.

Liam Rutherford.

“When we built that framework, nobody thought we would be in lockdown in March 2020. The themes that we thought were really important point to a model of wellbeing which we are starting to see in communications around COVID-19. That’s the idea that connectedness is an absolutely fundamental domain of wellbeing. Making sure you nurture family, friendships, relationships is crucial to mental health – especially now that we are working in isolation,” says Jack. “It’s important that all of a school’s employees can meaningfully engage with colleagues and those relationships that are fundamental to teaching and learning. Everybody within a school community needs links to information and support around mental wellbeing. If you feel like you’re not coping, it’s really important to talk to someone,” he says.


Education Gazette  15 April 2020


“The response to this crisis can’t be one-size-fits-all, and each school will know their local community the best.” Liam Rutherford

Liam says that schools and early learning services will continue to be the most important support network for education professionals during the coronavirus crisis. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that the top priority right now is to stop the spread of COVID-19. But it’s so important that we’re all having those regular, deliberate interactions to break up the isolation and make people feel that they are still connected as a team. It’s important schools and centres are reaching out to their staff, offering advice about how to support wellbeing and connectedness and encouraging them to access the different types of support available,” says Liam.

“This is especially important for those that are in less secure work, like many of our teachers in early childhood, support staff and relief teachers. We’ve been in constant contact with Government as they work through how they are responding in education,” he says.

What constitutes good at-home learning?

Advocacy for wellbeing

Like the rest of Aotearoa, says Liam, teachers are dealing with multiple practical issues around working from home. Besides being able to support their families, a main concern for teachers will be the expectations for what good at-home learning is going to look like, as well as supporting parents who may feel they need to replicate the role of a teacher.

The biggest impact the teacher education unions can have on their members’ health and wellbeing through the crisis is to advocate for those working in education to get a fair deal, so they know they can continue to be paid and support their families,” says Liam.

“Managing the digital divide will be a challenge. The response to this crisis can’t be one-size-fits-all, and each school will know their local community the best. But even within their communities there will be lots of varying needs and different levels of access,” he says.

Resources and information The Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand says the quality of learning experienced by children and young people is dependent on teachers’ own mental health and wellbeing. The Council suggests having self-care strategies in place as people get used to school closures, working from home and physical distancing from others as a result of COVID-19. Here are some helpful resources: » Teaching Council NZ wellbeing resource includes case studies and values which provide an anchor to navigate difficult and challenging times. » Teaching Council NZ teacher wellbeing podcast episode featuring Professor Meihana Durie and psychologist Jacqui Maguire about the importance of teachers taking care of themselves and each other. » Ministry of Health resources and advice. » Mental Health Foundation’s tips on getting through COVID-19. » strategies for coping with stress and anxiety around Covid-19. » PPTA’s mental health and wellbeing paper from PPTA Tāmaki Makaura, Auckland. » School and Ministry of Education employees can attend counselling through EAP at either subsidised or free sessions.  » Core Education’s wellbeing toolkit – teachers from schools that are signed up can access it remotely. » The Learning from Home website has a dedicated section on wellbeing to help teachers, parents and whānau guide the hauora/wellbeing of children and young people. » The Education Hub has a teacher wellbeing resource. » Practical tips from a psychologist specialising in pandemics and disaster recovery. » Ideas to support working from home.

Online support and community  A group has been created by CORE Education, He Kohinga Rauemi Tautoko Support Resources for Schools, Kura and EY Centres.  This group can be accessed from edSpace, a dedicated professional learning community which anyone can join to connect with others, stay informed and receive and share ideas, resources, advice and support. This is an opportunity for edSpace community members to curate and create resources to support teacher wellbeing and the facilitation of distance learning. This space is evolving every day – all educators are welcome to join, contribute, use or share. For more information, please contact online facilitator Tessa Gray.

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



Mindfulness strategies for surviving lockdown Taking a minute to check in with our rational mind and not letting our limbic system do a free-for-all is important during stressful times. So what can we do to calm our limbic system (a set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory) if it’s on high alert? Marcelle Nader-Turner (MNZAC), counsellor at St Hilda’s Collegiate in Dunedin, suggests some mindfulness strategies for managing the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19: » The first thing is to notice how you’re feeling and name it: “I’m noticing I’m feeling anxious’, and then make a rational statement about how you are now: ‘But I am safe”. » If there’s a nagging doubt about that safety, take a minute to acknowledge all the things you are doing to stay safe and the actual likelihood of being at risk, ie – I wash my hands carefully, I stay away from groups and I wash surfaces regularly. » Any time we are hijacked by anxiety, we need to take a minute to get back into the ‘now’ - the moment. » An important thing to remember is that our thoughts are not who we are – they may not be linked to real threats – and we have to be careful which ones we choose to engage with. Try saying: “I am safe – I do not have to believe my thoughts – My thoughts do not control me – Worrying will not change the outcome – This is anxiety. It will pass.” » Remember that everyone responds to events in different ways. We all have our own experiences which shape the way we respond to new ones. If you are finding this difficult and scary – that’s ok. » Take the time to put your hand on your heart and say: “This is a moment of suffering; suffering is a part of life. I am not alone with this. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” » Finally, find fun ways to stay connected, do things that make you feel good: laugh, exercise, listen to music. » Be kind to others, but remember to also be kind to yourself!


Education Gazette  15 April 2020

Support for educators PPTA and NZEI are working with the CTU (Council of Trade Unions) around fair work expectations while under lockdown. For example: is it possible to set up a workspace that’s separate from the rest of the household – can you close it off and forget about it for a while? “Working designated hours and stopping when those hours are finished is really important,” says Jack. “We are working from home, caring for our family/whānau and children and getting used to the changes and impacts caused by COVID-19. While teachers absolutely want to support the continued engagement and opportunities delivered through this difficult period after the holidays, they also need to focus on their own work-life balance.”

“... connectedness is an absolutely fundamental domain of wellbeing. Making sure you nurture family, friendships, relationships is crucial to mental health – especially now that we are working in isolation.” Jack Boyle NZEI is busy working to create opportunities for its members to come together via video conference and webinars to work through a range of professional conversations that everybody in the sector is grappling with, like what home learning looks like. These will be shared directly with members. “We’ve got amazing skill and knowledge amongst our membership, so it’s important that the good ideas can get shared around,” says Liam.


Realistic expectations It’s important that expectations are realistic in this ‘new normal’ environment and teachers shouldn’t be expected to provide a full teaching and learning programme for every student they taught face to face prior to the nationwide lockdown, says Jack. He describes an onslaught of offers from online education providers as unhelpful. “Actually the mental health and wellbeing of the children, whānau, workforce in education should be paramount and the idea that you’ve got a new platform, a new product that will enable you to continue doing what you have done previously through distance or online provision is unfortunate,” says Jack.

Consistent messaging Representatives from the PPTA, New Zealand Principals’ Federation, NZEI Te Riu Roa and Ministry of Education have been holding regular Zoom meetings and are connecting with school boards to ensure that messaging about COVID-19 is consistent and doesn’t create undue stress and anxiety. “Beyond the immediate planning for a few weeks or beyond that, some of those conversations are around an acceptable level of expectation and the provision of PLD (professional learning development). We are discussing with NZQA assessment and the impact on NCEA this year, and how to mitigate some of the stress for those students whose programmes have been affected and the teachers who will have to try to come up with something new.” says Jack,

Silver lining The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented and Jack says that unfortunately the education sector is well accustomed to dealing with crises in their schools and communities, as for example in the Canterbury earthquakes and the 2019 Mosque shootings in Christchurch.

Artwork: Yoda Davidson, Otonga Primary School, Rotorua. Special merit, Bullying-Free NZ Awards 2019

Free bullying prevention guidance and resources for your school TOGETHER WE CAN STOP BULLYING AT OUR SCHOOL

But he hopes there is a silver lining. “I think there is a real opportunity for us to all get together with a singular social purpose because I believe the social purpose of learning really is about connectedness, the understanding of relationships and the wellbeing of individuals and society.”

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



Rallying together to support learners and their families A number of special schools across New Zealand worked hard to compile and deliver tailored learning packs to their learners prior to the lockdown period. Education Gazette talks to one special school in Auckland that took an impressive team approach to get packs to its 170 learners to help support families at a time of change and uncertainty.


efore the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 23 March, many schools had already started to prepare for the likelihood of remote teaching and learning. The announcement that signalled the country would be going into lockdown a mere two days later meant that many schools had to hit the fast-forward button on their plans. Schools across New Zealand rallied on Tuesday 24 March – that strange and fleeting day at Alert Level 3 – to put in place their new systems and ways of working. One of these schools was Oaklynn School, a specialist school in Auckland catering for 170 ORS-funded learners ranging in age from five to 21 years old, all with complex learning needs. Principal Louise Doyle, along with the school’s leadership

team, quickly realised that approaches other schools were taking – things like setting up Google Classroom – wouldn’t work for their learners. “While we have a few kids who might be able to do things online, actually what we really need is some practical, hands-on stuff. “Our priority was, what do our families need on Wednesday? What do they need in order to make the home environment and the learning environment as stress-free as possible?” says Louise. Staff had already started to compile resources, but the Alert Level 4 deadline saw these preparations escalate dramatically. As a specialist school, Oaklynn School is spread across 10 different sites, with satellite classrooms in mainstream schools. They have 45 FTTE staff, 10 therapy staff (speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists) and 70 support staff.

“What do they need in order to make the home environment and the learning environment as stress-free as possible?” Louise Doyle


Education Gazette  15 April 2020


Families of Oaklynn School have been grateful for the learning packs delivered prior to the lockdown period.

Tailored packs for each learner A Zoom call helped to unify Oaklynn School’s approach and staff began assembling learning packs for each learner. Each pack included a range of resources that would help each learner through two phases. “The first phase was holiday. What do the families need tomorrow in order to get on with their lives? And then we’ll start thinking about phase two from 15 April – what’s learning going to look like and how are we going to keep in touch with those families in an ongoing way?” says Louise. The resources were focused on supporting families with providing information and structuring time, as well as hands-on learning activities. “We worked on creating some social stories around COVID-19 and school closures to help explain in really simple terms what’s happening, so that families had something to read to students to help them understand the sudden changes.” The packs also included laminated PDF templates of simple symbols and pictures with Velcro strips and dots to help families structure their day. “The other area where we realised families would need support was around structuring time. Usually when we go on a holiday break

we can give them a simple calendar that says we’re not going to school today, or we’re going to the Oaklynn Holiday programme next week. But we realised that families were going to be thrown into quite an unsettling time.” The learning resources were tailored to the individual needs of each learner. “We just said to teachers, ‘Just work with what you know about your kids’.”

Rallying together The speech and language therapists put together a video for families on how to use all the visual supports, structure systems and other resources in the pack, and the school leadership team was keen to get the packs completed and delivered to families before Wednesday. “We wanted to be finished by 3pm on Tuesday. We knew anxiety levels were rising anyway and we wanted all staff to be able to get home and organise their own lives.” The packs were all in by 1pm. Staff looked up the addresses of each family and wrote them in Vivid on each plastic bag. Then staff delivered the packs to the doorsteps of families who lived near them. Families have been really appreciative, says Louise. Some have said they weren’t sure

how they were going to cope. They’ve been blown away by the dedication of staff. Louise agrees her staff has been “amazing”. “What I’ve noticed is that it’s fine to have a great idea and have that kind of energy and passion about it – but actually 100+ people got behind it and said ‘Yep, we can do this’. It was just incredible.”

Hauora and whanaungatanga Louise says alongside the focus on supporting learners and their families, they have placed strong emphasis on connectivity, ensuring that teachers are well connected with their support staff, and that syndicate leaders are well connected with their teams and with each other. “It’s so we can all look after each other.” Louise anticipates wellbeing will be the school’s major focus, moving forward – hauora sits at the heart of everything the school does, she says. They’ve started compiling a folder with wellbeing resources, which will include yoga and tai chi videos for the whole learning community – students, their whānau and staff. “We’re going to be contacting families and saying, ‘What do you need for your young person to be happy, to be settled, to be reassured? And let’s tailor our approach to you and your family’s needs.” TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



North Canterbury schools know it's better to work together than alone. Pictured here at Ohoka School prior to the COVID-19 pandemic are SENCO Jude Edwards, principal Kate McClelland, Kelly McGowan and Sharon Marsh, with students Matilda and Hunter.

Trust and relationships vital A group of North Canterbury educators learned from the Canterbury earthquakes that strong, trusted networks are the most important thing for getting through emergencies and crises.


orth Canterbury has traditionally had a close-knit group of principals who work together, and prior to the Kāhui Ako, neighbouring learning community clusters had evolved to support each other after the Christchurch earthquakes, says Sharon Marsh, Principal of Leithfield School and Lead Principal for the Puketeraki Kāhui Ako.

Early planning When the first COVID-19 cases were reported in New Zealand, a group of North Canterbury principals began to hold daily meetings after school via Google Hangout to share information and questions. “When the first Covid cases were being reported, principals began asking about common communications throughout our Kāhui Ako. They were finding they were not able to keep up-to-date with the fast flow of information in their in-boxes. One of our principals, Simon Green from Amberley School, offered to summarise and highlight main points from daily communications that could


Education Gazette  15 April 2020

be shared by all schools to their communities across our Kāhui Ako,” she says. The first Google Hangout meeting was attended by four principals and by the third meeting, as the Covid situation escalated, nearly all of the leaders from the Puketeraki Kāhui Ako’s 18 schools and early learning services were present. “We are blessed with an amazing Ministry of Education senior advisor, Paula Wistrand, who called in to all our meetings and provided a direct link for us to the Ministry. Our RTLB manager, Kelly McGowan, and Mana Ake kaiarahi (mentor Antoinette Lewis) also attended the meetings, which ensured that our networks and pathways for support were strong and everybody was aware of issues facing schools,” says Sharon. Issues included expectations around distance learning, managing devices going home, pastoral care networks, school security and maintenance during the lockdown and getting information to ECEs, as they didn’t seem to be

getting much information, she says. “As the final weeks of school progressed, leaders began sharing examples of communications and student work programmes across the Kāhui Ako,” explains Sharon.

Close-knit community The Puketeraki Kāhui Ako featured in issue 1, 2020 of Education Gazette in an article focusing on the Learning Support Delivery Model (LSDM) and how the Kāhui has developed a collaborative approach to ensuring that children and young people with additional needs get the right support at the right time. “We have a saying in our Kāhui Ako that it’s better when we work together, rather than alone. The Kāhui Ako has been the vehicle to get everybody together. Now teachers are in each other’s spaces, conversations happen and resources are being shared in a way that never happened before the Kāhui Ako,” Sharon told the Gazette.

“The Kāhui Ako structures mean there is a strong network through Across School Leads to Within School Leads and out to classroom teachers. During the last week of term we were working with our PLD provider to begin developing tools such as Zoom and Google Hangouts and collaboration tools such as Padlet. At that time (Alert Level 3) the focus was still on continuing our work across the

Kāhui but at a distance to help with keeping those connections alive in a virtual environment,” she explains.

Key priorities The Christchurch earthquakes taught this group of educators that strong, trusted networks are vital. They decided their key priority in the face of a pandemic is the wellbeing of teachers, students and communities. Schools began sharing some of their communications around what they were going to be sending home for the last week of ‘term time’ in the second half of March. “It became pretty clear that most of us were focusing on wellbeing and many were using the Five Ways of Wellbeing to shape up the work being sent home. We all put the priority on helping our families see that they did not need to be stressing about home learning right at this time – there was already a lot of stress on families,” says Sharon. Since the lockdown began, the principals have met again online, are emailing each other and are looking at how they can set up a Puketeraki Learner Hub from their website. “We are thinking there could be two spaces on the website – one for real time collaboration by teachers across a common context for learning and then a place where students can come together to work on the collaborative projects linked to that common context.”

Supporting vulnerable families Most of the schools in the Kāhui Ako spent some time before lockdown building or reviewing their Vulnerable Families registers and identifying key staff members to connect with whānau on a regular basis. “We know that in our communities, school is often the first point of contact for students and parents needing support. When it became clear that schools would be closing, we immediately began thinking about how we could maintain communications and access to support when and where it was needed. “In our case, as Leithfield School is a small school, the classroom teachers have three to four families each that they have undertaken to phone and check in on every week, or more often if they feel they need to. If there is a need identified for support, they will get this information back to me and I will reach out to our networks to get support in place quickly. By Day 6 of the lockdown I had already done this twice for my own community,” says Sharon.

Support parents with fun, educational activities and experiments

LSDM provides linkages The connected nature of the LSDM suits the Puketeraki Kāhui Ako well and is working efficiently during this unprecedented time. “Even though our Learning Support Coordinators have only been in place a short time, their focus has been on establishing contacts within their communities and building a strong Kāhui Ako database of who is available to offer support where it’s required. Their work is extremely valuable now more than ever as their knowledge of families, systems and services means that our communities are best placed to get the right service at the right time,” says Sharon.

“When it became clear that schools would be closing, we immediately began thinking about how we could maintain communications and access to support when and where it was needed.” Sharon Marsh

• Designed for parents by teachers • Simple instructions and explanations • New activities and experiments added regularly


“It’s like a reset button for everyone” Parent


Education Gazette  15 April 2020


Pacific communities rise to challenge What impact is COVID-19 having on Pacific communities? Education Gazette talks to a range of Pacific learners, teachers and whānau in Te Papaioea–Palmerston North, Manawatū, about how the pandemic is affecting them.


n Monday 23 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand would be moving from Level 2, into the highest COVID-19 Alert, Level 4, within 48 hours.

“I think in my school you’ll be very lucky if 10 per cent of Pacific students have devices other than phones. It’s one thing to have a phone but that’s not a device for learning. So that’s why we did the packs.”

In the Manawatū-Whanganui region, that message was received by a population of just over 250,000, including a population of around 10,000 identifying as Pacific.

Distributing the packs to students on the Monday (23 March) was a challenge, given that approximately 50 per cent of students were absent. The teachers called every family to collect the packs.

In Palmerston North, the Pacific population connects into 10 key groups of Cook Islands, Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, Fijian, Tuvaluan, Tokelauan, Papua New Guinean, Rotuman and Kiribati peoples. As the state of emergency messages rippled further into the hearts of those communities, teachers, children and families looked at what it all meant for them.

Preparing for lockdown One Pacific primary school teacher recalls the days leading up to the announcement. “Two days before lockdown, everyone was still talking about how far away the virus was and would Manawatū still be safe. Our principal asked us to pack stuff for our students… my team stayed after school on Friday (20 March) and finished around 7.30 at night putting little notes in and little things like coloured pencils, a rubber. “I had to look at different learners and what was enjoyable for each student. I knew we didn’t have resources, like devices to give out to students.

“If only there had been more time, things could have been done differently,” the teacher says. For instance, she would like to have distributed old PE equipment to families for use during the lockdown period. Food could also have been given out or added to children’s learning packs to be taken home. “If you think about our families right now, what does it look like when it comes to putting food on the table? “At school, if you didn’t bring lunch, you can go straight to the breakfast club, and we do notes,

so you can get sandwiches, free fruit and milk every single day.” She recalls two children who would eat half their lunch, leaving the other half to eat on the way home. So the school provided extra sandwiches and apples. “One came over smiling, holding up the bag and said, ‘My mum’s going to love me; this is for her – this is for her dinner’. “I know for our Pacific Island families, food is central. And when we don’t have enough, kids will worry for their parents.”

Anticipating online learning Pacific students and families in Palmerston North share mixed reactions to distance learning. “Remote learning is working out really well for our oldest daughter,” says one parent. “She’s Year 13, and her mentality is to get through as much work as she can, reading and researching and watching documentaries. She’s going to get all her credits early and leave school to work and save for uni. She’s always had a plan.”

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



A Year 8 Pacific student thinks she’ll enjoy the flexibility of distance learning. “We’ve got Google Classroom and the teachers post stuff up if we need something. I miss being able to socialise with people but it’s pretty cool being able to work when you want.” For other students, however, the preference is still learning kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) and using tuākana-tēina, peer learning. “It’s gonna be challenging. I’ll need a lot of selfmotivation,” shares one Year 11 Pacific student.

Going into Alert Level 4:

How did you feel?

Education Gazette asks Pacific students and parents how they felt when they heard news that New Zealand would be moving into the highest COVID-19 alert, Level 4, within 48 hours. Student voice “Not good. I can’t do stuff with my friends, play soccer, run.” Year 4 student “We were all kind of scared. I was at school, it was nearly the end of the day.” Year 8 student “… cautious, because I was quite sick at the time, I thought I might even have the coronavirus. I just knew I had to be very careful. My mum got my medicine and I’ve gotten better. I’m glad there’s a lockdown. I’m safe. I think I’ll put my guard down when I know there’s a cure.” Year 11 student “We were at school in the library when the lockdown message came on. It was just crazy it was even happening, I wasn’t sure what to expect.” Year 11 student “I didn’t take it that seriously, at the time. I didn’t think it would be this bad. I was thinking like chill, hang out with some mates and that, but going through this first week, it felt really long and kind of boring.” Year 9 student

Whānau voice “The Friday before, we’d already told our kids you can stay home, it didn’t take much convincing and it gave us a couple of days to trial online learning, to see what they’d do. We pretty much started planning a week before and started convos around where would my daughter go? We have joint custody. So how would that work?” Parent “I was working from home, and it probably was the shock first, then it was getting my son home from boarding school in Auckland, to Palmy. It was pretty stressful, not knowing what the situation was with flights. Also getting him to the airport… I looked at booking an Uber, but it kept saying possible delays. In the end the school dropped him off. I was also worried he might catch something at the airport or on the plane. When he walked out the [Palmerston North Airport] door, I almost cried I was so relieved, but I didn’t tell him. Now after a week with him in lockdown, I’m like, ‘hmmm’…” Parent “… the kids had been coughing in the weekend, so we were already self-isolating. As a mum, it’s important for the kids to be safe at all times. Also, one of my boys gets sick in the winter so he was my main concern.” Parent


Education Gazette  15 April 2020

Another Year 11 student agrees. “I don’t think it [online] will be that good, to be honest, ’cos you kinda need the teachers there. You can ask straightaway instead of sending a message and wasting 20 minutes. It’s faster. And with your mates, ’cos you can learn off their mistakes as well, or can ask them how they got it.” One parent intends to integrate distance learning into home life. “I’m less about the classroom education and more about having initiative. I’m getting them to pretend they’re in a flatting environment. In regard to teaching, I’m not doing that, I just tell them where they can find it.” Another is concerned about how it will all work. “I mostly worry about the kids’ education. They’re part of a Community Learning Hub, a STEM programme, which is an important part of their routine. “With online learning, it’s early days and we don’t really want to push it for the little ones. For our big boy, they have continuity for online learning. Sometimes we’ve had trouble with the internet connection.” And sadly, for others, with the financial strain of COVID-19 starting to take its toll, particularly for seasonal workers, their children’s distance learning is unlikely to be a priority. One community member puts it bluntly. “We have been dealing with Pacific families who have had to leave their essential work because they have no one to look after the kids… and so they are down to one pay cheque, but that’s close to minimum wage. They have to pay rent and bills and put food on the table… so the last thing they’ll be thinking about is having the technology or internet to carry on their kids’ learning.”

No substitute for face-to-face Tauloto fakatasi Julene Duerksen-Kapao, head of teaching and learning at Te Hiringa Alternative Education at the Highbury Whānau Centre, has concerns about teaching disengaged Pacific students in an online environment. “When students are disengaged, they are hard to connect with at the best of times. “The success of our learning is all about face to face. Laughter, jokes, banter, the ability to lean in on a conversation, for young people to contribute their own voice and that it’s validated – that’s absolutely valuable.


“One of the success factors is we set a clear plan with timetabled objectives, where we also respond to what happened the night before. If a young person arrives, and something’s broken down at home, it’s acknowledged. We provide a place for them to offload, karakia, we refresh the learning space.” Julene says it will be a struggle to translate what they’re doing into an online environment, but they will do their best to make do in the short term.

Communication key in early learning At Malamalama Moni Aoga Amata, a Samoan Language preschool in Palmerston North, when the lockdown announcement came, it was a surprise, but centre manager Tiana Fauolo says her teachers were ready. “We were really lucky we’d just had ERO in February, so everything was in place, bottles of water, extra supplies, we have lots of onto-it people and parents at our preschool,” says Tiana. “Communicating on EDUCA, Facebook and Messenger, we shared all the COVID posts, right from the get-go; we did the same for measles. We took up the Ministry’s offers of packages. Everyone’s been communicating. It’s been really good.” Loto fa’atasi (whanaungatanga) and staying connected with ākonga and whānau via social media, was already well-established at the centre, says Tiana.

Impact on Fakafetuiaga (relationships) Many Pacific families appear to be relishing the quality time spent within their whānau bubbles.

“The best thing that’s happened for us is family time,” shares one parent. “I worked late, and the kids were eating, showering and going to bed by the time I got home. Now a lot of the time I’m home and my wife is as well. My daughter’s had really good conversations around homework, and Māori and Pacific models of health.

Tausina ou mātua – Caring for the elderly

“With both of us working from home, there’s been a little bit of interest in what I actually do.

“We dropped some milk off around our neighbourhood; I left some outside our grandchildren’s house, and the little one saw me and started to run towards me. They had to hold him back; he’s two – it was so sad. He was calling out ‘Nana, Nana!’. The look on his face, he didn’t understand.”

“It’s been good for us… learning to parent together. Kids get to see a relationship during a crisis, but not in crisis.”

However, the close relationships between young and old are likely to tested by selfisolation and physical distancing. One grandmother sums it up with her experience.

Matua (elders) are a key concern for all Pacific whānau right now.

“The best thing that’s happened for us is family time”

The church – a gathering place for most Pacific communities – is also able to offer practical support for many elderly.


One Palmerston North church was busy right up until the last minute, actioning ioto māfana, fakati akiga, fakafetuiaga he tau magafaoa, and garueagesea (manaakitanga) for their matua, says one of the church’s leaders.

“It’s like a reset button for everyone,” shares another parent. “It’s back to basics; the kids have been learning to cook a meal from scratch with whatever we have, and fold the washing. It reminds me of being back in the islands.”

“On the last day before lockdown, I realised we wouldn’t see each other, our oldies, our over70s for a whole month and I thought, ‘oh my gosh!’ We put together simple care packages and delivered them on the last night, realising we might not see them again. We said, “see you in a month”. It was quite emotional when we said goodbye.

Another parent of four children is pleased with how things are going. “I’m amazed at how resilient they are, even when they debrief and have prayers. One thing we do every day is exercise together as a family and it’s really important.”

“We set up Messenger for the church, and one person from each family is on there as a representative. The Sunday sermon is on Messenger. Everyone’s putting up photos of their bubbles.”

Supporting Pacific learners with distance learning There is now information avaliable in a range of Pacific languages on the Learning From Home website to support Pacific families with learning from home. Keep informed with the COVID-19 website for Pacific Peoples.

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



Keep it simple during COVID-19 crisis Teachers need to be realistic when delivering distance learning, says a Southland teacher.

Vaughn Filmer.


aughn Filmer is the ICT coordinator at Fiordland College in Te Anau, and just prior to the lockdown was busy ensuring that staff and students were set up for remote learning with access to the school’s server and online management system. He says the college, which operates a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, is well set up for remote learning as it has been using Google Classroom for nearly five years.

One-stop shop – for some The social studies, geography, health and PE and outdoor education teacher is digital lead at Fiordland College and says Google Classroom will be the school’s most valued tool for delivering distance learning. For some teachers, Google Classroom is like a one-stop shop where each class has their own tab and each student is email registered. Teachers can post anything from comments to assignments, which are automatically distributed to each student and give that student a template – a living document that teacher and student automatically share.


Education Gazette  15 April 2020

“Two years ago, I trialled paperless classrooms where students would jump on Google Classroom,” explains Vaughn. “Their work for the day would be there. This would include things like the assignment they were working on, a video, a quiz, a shared document,” he says.

“The biggest thing is that when we set a kid up with a digital task in the classroom, the majority of the lesson will be the teacher solving digital issues, not teaching and learning issues. Imagine when a teacher now has to go home and send a digital task to a student.

However, Vaughn cautions that, as schools embark on delivering distance learning, teachers should stick to doing what they are comfortable and familiar with.

“Who is going to be helping that student when they can’t log on, their password isn’t working, or the website isn’t working? So we have said to our staff: ‘You’re not reinventing the wheel, you’re not learning a new system. You’re just simply doing what is effective’,” he says.

Do what’s effective While some teachers and students will be confident using Google Classroom for everything, there will be others who are not familiar with it, and teachers who have never used it before shouldn’t be expected to pick it up overnight. Some teachers at the school may have been teaching more traditionally in the classroom and using Google Classroom to set homework. Vaughn says that for these colleagues, remote learning may take the form of sending questions or a worksheet via email.

Different circumstances Each school will have its own unique challenges to deliver remote learning. For Fiordland College, one of those challenges is the number of students who live in rural settings and have limited internet. About one-third of the college’s 230 students, as well as some teachers, live on farms, don’t have unlimited fast internet and may only be able to get online once or twice a day.


Te Anau is a tourism town and the fallout from COVID-19 hit hard and fast, with income for the businesses that service tourism grinding to a halt. “We’ve got major disruptions in our town because we are a tourist town, so there are a ton of parents who are going to be out of a job,” says Vaughn. “And now we’re shutting the school and those parents are going to have to deal with zero income and their children being home. It’s unprecedented times and it’s going to be incredibly stressful.”

Family comes first As a parent of young children, Vaughn thinks it’s unrealistic to expect many teachers to teach via video conferencing, especially if it hasn’t been done before. “Imagine if you are a teacher, your partner’s a nurse and you’ve got three kids? You probably need to focus on being a mum or a dad. The adaptation is massive, and I think the key thing is teachers’ wellbeing,” he says.

He recommends keeping things simple, such as a tick list for students to do over a week. For health and PE, that tick list might look like this: do something kind for someone; write a card or make a phone call to a relative; build some Lego, take a photo, post a photo of your creation; do some baking; or sew a button on – practical things that parents and their children can do together.

Finding opportunities Many students will be better off than their teachers as they live in a digital world, says Vaughn. “One of the ironic things about this is that as teachers we are complaining about these kids being online and on social media, but they are actually going to be better off than us because they are used to this – they live in a digital world. “The idea is we’re not social distancing, we’re physical distancing and we’re interacting socially – the kids are doing that all the time.”

Vaughn suggests using this skill as a teaching opportunity. Online interaction can see students interacting with young people around the world and learning about how their countries are dealing with the Covid19 crisis. “Here’s a question for my social studies class: when you’re online gaming, tell me where everybody is from. For the kids who are wellconnected online, it will just be business as usual.”

Focus on wellbeing In this issue, check out the Gazette’s article ‘Support for educators during COVID-19’ on teacher wellbeing, which contains a number of resources to support the wellbeing of teachers, children and young people.

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020




Education Gazette  15 April 2020


Life inside a bubble The importance of maintaining social connections during physical isolation

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



Teachers can play a pivotal role in supporting children and young people to maintain healthy social connections, even during physical isolation.


ocial connections are key to wellbeing and it is ironic that we must be physically separated as we navigate our way through these challenging times. But with thoughtful use of digital platforms, teachers can support children and young people to stay socially connected with classmates and their wider school community. The key message from the Ministry of Health is: He waka eke noa – We’re all in this together.   The Ministry’s website states that, “It’s more important than ever to talk and listen, share stories and advice, and stay in touch with the people who matter to you.” For teachers, this means exploring ways to support students, especially those who would normally rely on face-to-face interactions to support their social and emotional needs. Children and young people need guidance


Education Gazette  15 April 2020

on how they can have healthy and safe social interactions online, including how to minimise any associated risks. As they do in class, teachers can continue to support students to strengthen their social connections by revisiting strategies for building positive relationships, and considering ways they apply these in an online environment. Ministry of Education’s Inclusive website has some useful resources to help teachers consider ways they can support and strengthen students’ relationships with peers. “It’s really important during this time to check in with our tamariki and rangatahi,” says Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft. “They look to their trusted adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. We adults will be feeling a bit stressed, too, and that’s okay,” he says.

A recent article in The Spinoff provides some useful observations and tips to support children and young people during physical isolation.

Activities promote connections Online learning can be set up to encourage children and young people to engage with their teacher, other students, their family, whānau or wider community. Ask yourself: » How and when will I be available to my students for questions and conversations? » Am I continuing to provide sessions for my mentor/form class, and would it be useful if those sessions encouraged social connections, discussed how to have safe online interactions, or focused on how to maintain wellbeing while on lockdown?


» How can I encourage student-to-student social connections and discussions for learning – one-to-one, group and whole class? For example, group work could be set via Google Classroom and students could create and submit their work on a shared file. » How can I encourage student-to-family or wider community discussions for learning during a lockdown? For example, students could interview their parents or other whānau members.

Interface magazine provides information and advice about learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, including tools to support online learning.

Staying in touch Outside of the online learning environment, ideas from the Mental Health Foundation for maintaining social interactions at this time include writing emails that share a favourite memory, playing video games with mates, playing online Scrabble or other board games, joining or starting a virtual book club, sharing a favourite karakia or waiata with friends on social media, and helping classmates with homework via online connections. There’s now even a ‘Kids’ quiz’ version of Stuff’s daily trivia quizzes, which could be completed in groups. There are lots of digital tools for staying in touch. Video conferencing software can be really useful at a time like this. People are using video conferencing for all sorts of reasons during lockdown including to host

classes, group chats, music lessons and fitness sessions.

Staying safe While Netsafe does not want to discourage New Zealanders from using video conferencing software, it also urges people to take the time to be aware of the risks and how to stay safe. If people are setting up meetings but haven’t had a chance to really understand the safety implications and the capabilities of each of the video platforms this is an important first step. Netsafe has specific advice on popular video-conferencing tools including Zoom and Houseparty, and additional information can be found on their website. Netsafe has some great tips for how to stay safe when using digital tools, including: » » » » »

Privacy on Instagram Privacy on Snapchat Understanding Tik Tok Joining a Houseparty Online gaming.

A new safety filter has also been developed to keep the internet safer for students learning from home by Crown company Network for Learning, with support from Netsafe and the Ministry. The N4L safety filter blocks access to a range of websites known to be unsafe and inappropriate for learning. Instructions on how to set up the N4L safety filter can be found on the Switch on Safety website.

“It’s more important than ever to talk and listen, share stories and advice, and stay in touch with the people who matter to you.” Ministry of Health

Getting help The reality is, this crisis brings increased uncertainty - and that can feel scary. We all need to help each other, and there is also professional help available if we feel we need it. These are official help services for young people who are looking for additional emotional support. » Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 » Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 » Call or text 1737 to chat with a trained counsellor » The Lowdown – free counselling for teens » Sparx – a free online tool to help young people manage anxiety and depression

Ministry of Education resources Guidance for families and whānau about helping children and young people while they are learning from home. Information and advice about COVID-19 for students, families and whānau, and the education sector. Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama are two new online spaces that have resources to support learning from home, and information about wellbeing.

Other info Ministry of Health tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing during Alert Level 4.

This year’s Bullying-Free NZ Week (18 to 22 May) is POSTPONED A shout out to our schools and their extraordinary efforts as they respond to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Stay safe and be kind Free bullying prevention guidance and resources for your school

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020



Staying safe online With distance learning now in place in Aotearoa, most learners are dependent on virtual connections, which makes cyber safety of paramount importance. Education Gazette asks online safety organisation Netsafe about how students can be supported to stay safe online.


s the nation retreated into lockdown, teachers, families and whānau were focused on reminding children and young people how to stay physically safe. Now that we’re getting used to staying home, social distancing and washing our hands, it’s time to focus on how to keep our children and young people safe online as well. Schools and kura have an important role to play in supporting learners to have safe and positive online interactions. They are well positioned to be proactively working with learners and their families and whānau about digital safety. Online safety organisation Netsafe has emphasised the need to be mindful of protecting ourselves online during this time when the use of digital tools to communicate and interact with one another is significantly higher than usual. “Reports from around the world indicate there has been an increase in abuse and harassment online due to COVID-19,” says Martin Cocker, Netsafe chief executive. “It’s a good time to remind people of their rights and responsibilities under the Harmful Digital Communications Act,” – that it’s illegal for anyone to send or publish threatening, offensive or sensitive material and spread damaging rumours.


Education Gazette  15 April 2020


The principles of safe and appropriate digital communication According to the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, a digital communication should not: » disclose sensitive personal facts about an individual » be threatening, intimidating or menacing » be grossly offensive to a reasonable person in the position of the affected individual » be indecent or obscene » be used to harass an individual » make a false allegation » contain a matter that is published in breach of confidence » incite or encourage anyone to send a message to an individual for the purpose of causing harm to the individual » incite or encourage an individual to commit suicide » denigrate an individual by reason of his or her colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. There can be serious consequences for breaches of the Act, including a prison term or significant fine, and it is important that everyone is aware of this. Teachers can keep these principles in mind as they support children and young people to build their understanding of safe and positive digital citizenship through their daily interactions online.

“Reports from around the world indicate there has been an increase in abuse and harassment online due to COVID-19.” Martin Cocker Cyber bullying Online bullying (also known as cyber bullying) is when a person uses digital technology to send, post or publish content with the intention to harm another person or a group. This behaviour is often aggressive, is repeated, and involves some kind of power imbalance between the people involved. According to Netsafe, online bullying can take many forms like: » » » » » »

name calling repeated unwanted messages spreading rumours or lies fake accounts used to harass people excluding people from social activities embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

Information and support for staying safe online The Netsafe website offers lots of useful tools and resources to help stay safe online. These can be used by teachers, families and whānau, and include: » Information on Harmful Digital Communications » Online safety tips for during the lockdown.

Information about bullying and where to get help The Bullying Free NZ website has lots of useful guidance, resources and tools for schools to use to prevent and respond to bullying behaviours, including cyber bullying. The website also has a section for parents, families and whānau, which includes guides, tips, and how to get help.

Working with whānau Netsafe research tells us that most parents appreciate support from schools regarding online safety information. “Permanent and open dialogue with parents will provide schools with a better idea of the type of information and resources parents need, which can help them to build closer relationships with their children. Further, the important role of peers in supporting each other with online issues suggests that teachers and parents need to work together with young people to build a mutually supporting network that is based on trusted relationships. “We encourage adults to have open conversations with young people about the responsibility that goes along with ownership of a connected device, such as: » what to do if they’re being bullied » basic safety such as friending and communicating with people you don’t know » not sharing information that should be kept confidential or may be used to bully or embarrass you later on, sexting photos or abusive texts, for example.”

#stayconnectedstaysafe 1. Do a stocktake: Assess how many devices in your house connect to the internet to understand where the risks are and start to mitigate them. 2. Assess new technology: Investigate new apps or platforms by checking out T&Cs, reviews and minimum age requirements before using them. 3. Secure your virtual house: Use strong passwords, update your software and use two-factor authentication where possible. 4. Share your experience: Talk to your friends and family about the technologies you use and let them know your tips and tricks to eliminate risk. 5. Combat misinformation: Guide people to official information sources like for the latest advice. 6. See something, say something: If you see suspicious or criminal activity online, report it. If you don’t know where to report, visit for help. 7. Practise safe clicking: COVID-19 is being used as a lure so be careful clicking on links, attachments or ads from unknown sources as they might be hiding malware. 8. Protect your info: Criminals are harvesting personal information. Stop and think carefully about the details you disclose or whether they need to be entered online. 9. Have fun: Explore the technologies available to help you connect, learn, stay informed and participate in Aotearoa’s new virtual society. 10. Help others: Share your online safety tips and experiences using the #stayconnectedstaysafe hashtag to help others.

TUKUTUKU KŌRERO  15 April 2020


Free digital story book

Oat says thanks to:

www.o atth e g o n z | www.o t i te n a n e ko t i .co. n z # o at t h e g o at

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.