School News NZ - Term 1, 2021

Page 1

SchoolNews The essential industry guide

STEAM: Dunstan High School shares its challenges and successes

Issue 52 | Term 1, 2021 | NZD $12 incl GST |

Special Report: People Power Activating alumni

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Inside our term one issue Front Desk Editor's Note: Big changes from the top what now?..... 05

Education Principal Speaks: Planning school progress around the

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EDITOR Rosie Clarke, STAFF WRITERS Heather Barker Vermeer DESIGN & PRODUCTION Richard McGill, ADVERTISING Dee Dawson, CONTRIBUTORS Amber Suckling, CJ Healey, Carla McNeil, Adam Stride, Kathleen Kinney & Stephen Dalley.

‘golden triangle’....................................................................................... 06 Special Report: People Power – Activating Alumni........ 10 Teacher, teacher, please help me succeed............................ 14 Career Guidance: Helping students


Supplier information or content Suppliers share their views in one-off, topical pieces General editorial. Case studies and features may cite or quote suppliers, please be aware that we have a strict ‘no commercial content’ guideline for all magazine editorial, so this is not part of any commercially funded advertorial but may be included as relevant opinion. Happy reading!


Administration Web presence that works................................................................ 20 A modern approach to teaching and learning................... 22 Ever learning, ever changing: flexibility rules...................... 24

Teaching Resources Book Reviews........................................................................................... 27 Classroom Resources Directory.................................................. 27 Full STEAM ahead for our schools............................................. 28 The show must go on!........................................................................ 38

Teacher's Desk Recruit right first time......................................................................... 40

EOTC Exploring Ōtautahi Christchurch................................................. 42


Food & Beverage Education hydration............................................................................. 46 Tucking into healthy food budget boost................................. 50

Sport & Recreation Hit the ground running, jumping, leapfrogging.................. 52

Property Life is a playground: having fun with upgrades................. 56


Case Study: Child's play for Matipo school.......................... 56 Your school playground safety compliance & risk assessment requirements...........................................................58 Year-round field fit-outs................................................................59

Case Study: Pinehurst School – Activating space, advancing play......................................................................................... 60 Case Study: King's School – A walk on the wild side.... 61

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higher learning providers focus their attention on training and retaining people already in their community – the international recruitment focus seems to have waned at least until we get to the other side of the vaccine rollout.

The year has commenced with some significant developments following what can only be described as the weirdness of 2020. As this issue goes to print, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has revealed the teacher shortage is over, pushing the government launch of an on-the-job training scheme for new secondary school teachers back 12 months. The Ministry has also expanded its free lunch programme and called for teachers to propose changes to the curriculum. PPTA Te Wehengarua president, Melanie Webber applauded the establishment of a new Curriculum Centre: “The curriculum refresh is valuable work, so we must make sure that robust processes are in place to support teachers, students and communities.” All-in-all, welcome back! And

Rosie Clarke,

Editor, SchoolNews

an especially warm welcome to our new industry reporter, Heather Barker Vermeer, who you will no doubt hear a lot from this year! She has penned a fantastic special report this issue, exploring what it means to form an alumni network in your school community and how students can benefit from these connections. Post-COVID, mentorship and building local connections are more important than ever as industries and

On page 6, we have this term’s Principal Speaks column written by CJ Healey from Auckland’s Long Bay College. In it, he talks us through exceptional learning practice informed by the golden triangle. Prioritising care, learning, and environment, this approach has created some innovative new initiatives at the school, including the Atawhai programme – a weekly system of pastoral contact for students to check in with assigned staff members. Elsewhere this issue, we have some fantastic features showcasing different solutions and options available to schools in all forms. Beginning with some discussion of learning pedagogies to assist students with dyslexia from Carla

McNeil (page 14), and rousing suggestions for how to improve school-based career guidance (page 16), plus advice on properly branding your school website, soundproofing flexible learning environments so they can be more effective, and some fun new resources guiding gamified sustainability learning in schools. We have a heavy STEAM focus this issue as well, showing off some of the original projects and programmes you are creating around the country. Alexandra’s Dunstan High School tells us how and why they reinvigorated their STEM programme with a new STEAM focus. North Island school, Kamo Intermediate wowed us too, with some of its epic Maker Space creations. If you want to showcase the work of your teachers and students, write in and let us know! Enjoy this issue of School News, and stay safe! Noho ora mai

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Big changes from the top… what now?


Planning school progress around the golden triangle CJ Healey took over as Principal of Long Bay College in September 2017. This issue, he discusses his sharp focus on the golden triangle of care, learning, and environment, and how this focus will shape the Auckland school’s progress going forward. 2021 is a big year for Long Bay College. The school still has the same heart as it always has. We are in a privileged position in terms of our geographical location; being situated along a beautiful beach and regional park and our school still attracts a significant number of families new to New Zealand (or at least it did pre-COVID). Our strategic plan over the last three years has had three key areas, namely: An extraordinary culture of care, exceptional


The level of support for our students has also been increased in terms of numbers of guidance counsellors and we have also introduced youth workers to our school who are a lot younger and perhaps more relatable to our students than an elderly principal!

Exceptional learning CJ Healey, Principal, Long Bay College

learning, and the environment to support both goals.

Culture of care We have introduced our Atawhai programme as our keystone pastoral delivery. Each staff member is assigned a group of 15-16 students to meet with on a weekly basis for an hour, with an aim of strengthening the relationships between the triumvirate of home, student, and school.

A major step we made here was to ensure our curriculum was inclusive to all and did not preclude our students from following their interests and passions. To support this, we removed all prerequisites as barriers to course entry. While external factors drive schools on to worry about the ‘quality’ of their NCEA results as a measure of how ‘successful’ they are, we have achieved success in improving our results across the NCEA levels in terms of pass rates and endorsements, whilst being permissive rather than dismissive.


The role of Atahwai and the relationships between our students and their parents have been crucial in supporting our students towards success. Rather than a definitive benchmark and a stern ‘no’, we now look at what is in the best interests of the students in attaining their hopes, dreams, and life ambitions. It has been quite powerful. While valuing the traditional curriculum subjects, we believe in broadening and deepening the opportunities to our students. After a review of our junior curriculum, we have replaced the time after junior exams in Term 4 with project options. Year 9s and 10s can now study subjects that inspire a passion in them and, just as importantly, their teachers. Topics such as cryptology, pop art, rocketry, the design and manufacture of prosthetics for para-athletes, coding, and more are options. Term 1, 2021 |

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out a teaching pedagogy and philosophy that is designed to be somewhat unique to our school and will become custom and practice as to how we teach here.

Environment While many will review this as ‘business as usual’, it is the strategic work that we have undertaken in ensuring our environment is fit for purpose that allows us to deliver the other two elements of the strategic plan. When I first arrived and asked the students, if they were principal of the school what would they change? Almost without exception they replied, ‘improve the toilet facilities’. As a result, the board of trustees delivered refurbished facilities in every single one of the schools’ toilet blocks. We have also refurbished a 16-classroom block, constructed a new wood technology block, are half-way through significant administration block refurbishments, are installing weather shelter canopies and have secured land to develop two new sports fields, one of which is close to completion. Upgrading and replacing the hardware to support our entire network over the last 12 months has also been a significant investment that has been essential in providing the foundation for continued development in Exceptional Learning. We


Another initiative is our Aspiring Scholars Programme, developed to support our Year 9 entrants whose goal it is to ultimately succeed in New Zealand Scholarship exams when they are ready.

invested heavily in the most important resources needed, pre-COVID time, taking the opportunity to develop protocols, systems, and resources as well as the knowledge and the understanding to make online learning work. As such, we were able to hit the ground running in lockdown, with a full timetable of learning for the duration of both timetables, using our Microsoft Teams and OneNote platforms. Such was the exponential learning at this time that it has accelerated our commitment to BYOD and digital learning at the school. The PLD support

programme we intended to roll out in 2022 began early in 2020 and is a focal point for us in 2021.

New for 2021 We introduced a house system for the first time in the school’s history, which is based on our values. We hope this will further engender school spirit, sense of pride and belonging at the school. We are also investing heavily in our PLD programme, including the restructuring of the school day with a late start PLD one day a week. The two key focuses for the year are digital learning and rolling


For our staff, we are introducing our Middle Leadership Programme, which will see eight selected middle or future leaders develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in leadership over the course of four terms. We are running this in-house with the support of the Springboard Trust. One of our strategic initiatives for 2021 is to further develop our understanding and appreciation of the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Te Ao Māori and Te Reo Māori at all levels of our community. We have made great strides in these areas over the last three years and we recognise the unique importance in always striving to improve in this domain if we hope to be a beacon of practice within New Zealand.

Term 1, 2021 |

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People Power:

Activating alumni By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata – It is the people, it is the people, it is the people The power of the people who have trodden the same path your current pupils are treading often remains untapped as a tool for inspiring the next generation. The long-established, wellconnected old boys’ and old girls’ networks of the high decile, richly resourced schools are known to provide career springboards and countless opportunities for their flocks. It is the lower decile, less well-resourced schools that often do not have established networks of past pupils and staff to tap into for support and inspiration. The alumni network disparity in Aotearoa New Zealand is as vast as the socio-economic disparity that exists in its society. When a school’s alumni network is mobilised, the value to the school is untold and stretches way beyond financial gain. This rich potential of untapped alumni inspired former Napier Boys’ High School principal Ross Brown, MNZM, to act. After Brown retired from the Hawkes Bay school in 2015 after 18 years’ service, he helped establish Tāwai Takapiri Connect Futures NZ Trust.

Ross Brown


This isn’t about raising money for the school, it’s about connecting past pupils with current ones to provide mentoring, guidance, opening up conversations and pathways. Tāwai Takapiri translates as ‘the rope of connection that bonds our people’ – a poetic description of the concept of alumni. Brown, who also spent time at Huntly and Timaru schools says, “I realised that for the majority of low decile school principals, alumni organisation falls to the bottom of a very large pile of things to do. I attended a forum about this concept of developing alumni and it really did resonate with me and we got things going.” From rural New Zealand, Brown was educated at Feilding Agricultural College and Palmerston North Boys’ High School where he remains connected as an active member of the school’s strong alumni community. As a teacher and principal, he has worked across both islands of Aotearoa, with a career focused primarily on boys’ education. As Chair of Tāwai Takapiri Connect Futures, he has worked with several schools in Hawkes Bay,

Waikato and South Auckland regions to provide guidance and practical support in activating alumni networks. “We have a tremendous resource of alumni with knowledge, experience and ability to provide support and guidance for young people in schools and the form that support takes can be as varied as the people themselves. We are not a fundraising organisation. This isn’t about raising money for the school, it’s about connecting past pupils with current ones to provide mentoring, guidance, opening up conversations and pathways. Kids want to know that they are part of something bigger.” Brown was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit Medal for Services to Education in 2016 and he’s since been keen to break the alumni mould. “We want to move the interaction between schools


and alumni away from just being a donation or a slot as guest speaker at an assembly. That’s fine and can help inspire kids but where you really hit the road is when that person is rubbing shoulders with, say, a Year 10 kid and they talk about which street they grew up on and find out it was the same street, we strengthen these connections and increase the level of relatable interaction. That’s powerful stuff ! “We want to get schools to have a wider view of what they want to achieve. If they look at their alumni simply in terms of donations, they are probably on the wrong page.” TTCF’s mission is: To support schools throughout New Zealand to develop thriving, enriching and sustainable alumni engagement programmes that enable experiences for current students to connect with inspiring, relatable role models. Term 1, 2021 |

Students meet alumni at Mangere College Sameer Hormes, Ernestina Bonsu Maro, Jordan Mau’u, Janet Su’a, Mele Asolelei, Ethan Sigglekow, Adyhana Urika Filifilia.

Mangere College alumni Cyrus Lui (left), and Tau Irangi with former deputy principal Mohan Patel.

Executive director Vicki Fowler says, “Tāwai Takapiri Connect Futures NZ arose out of us identifying an "opportunity gap" - not so much between high and low decile alumni communities - moreso, literally, the gap was of opportunities for rangitahi to connect with role models who ignited ambition and self-belief. “Global research informs us that former students are amongst the most relatable role models for young people. As an organisation it is important to us that we walk our talk - our mahi is about people

and connections and we feel privileged to support great people leading great schools to establish sustainable, positive legacies for their communities and their whanau.” Mangere College was one of the first schools to engage with the Trust. Brown says, “The principal Tom Webb has been an early adopter. He understands and is very active in this space. He’s doing a great job at the school to reconnect with past pupils and we’ve helped guide this process and put systems in place.”

The college celebrates its 50th Jubilee in April. This has provided a timely opportunity to re-engage with the surrounding community, reestablish connections with past pupils and look towards the future with wider eyes.

ahead of the 50th jubilee.

Principal Webb says, “It was perfect timing for us; to have the support of Connect Futures in the run up to our jubilee. We haven’t connected very well with our alumni in the past and the whole philosophy behind Connect Futures made sense, especially

We are using that as an opportunity to create better long-term relationships with our past students by getting them involved in the school. We want to give them a stronger sense of connection with their old school and use their role modelling to motivate our current students.”

“The support has been brilliant: they helped us set up systems to allow us to reconnect with past students and advised us on what questions to ask and what information to record.

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Webb has been impressed by the level of engagement. “We have got around 500 past pupils registered on our database now and have been going out to our community on social media. The word has really got around! We’re finding they’re welcoming the opportunity to give back, through whatever means is relevant to them and their experience.” As well as creating systems, Webb emphasises the importance for schools to be able to lead their alumni programme. “It’s important to have the resource - the people - to drive it. We have created a communications manager role at Mangere College and one of the responsibilities is to manage the registrations via the database and ensure communications are going out regularly around this. “It’s a really good time for us to get better connected with what we call our ‘M.C. Family’. We have already begun getting our alumni involved in sports teams, for example. It’s exciting times for us here in Mangere, with the 50th celebrations and a lot of


in private school and tertiary education sectors throughout the world but, in the majority of New Zealand state schools, this significant resource remains more-or-less untapped.

Kids want to know that they are part of something bigger.

growth taking place in the local area, such as a new housing development being built right across from the school. Having the support of Connect Futures has been a really positive experience for us at this time of celebration and growth.” The college’s jubilee celebrations are gathering pace as the 9-10th April anniversary events near. Though Mangere College has employed a communications manager whose role includes management of the school’s alumni network and systems, other schools have assigned the role to admin staff or active volunteers.

For a programme to be a success, Fowler says several critical inputs are required: “Committed leadership, keen partners, people resource focused on the community development initiative, online registration facility and, operationally, regular communications and community engagement opportunities. “To any education institution, alumni (former student) communities represent a significant, low-cost source of potential contributions of ‘time, talent and treasure’.” Alumni engagement programmes are prevalent


“As a result, when compared to their private school counterparts, students who attend the majority of New Zealand’s state schools are missing out on the enriching benefits enabled by regular exposure to inspiring, relatable role models,” says Fowler. Global research* shows that only one in eight graduates from schools in low socioeconomic regions goes on to further education and, in New Zealand, only one in 100 entrants to some of our university courses come from the most deprived homes**. Fowler says, “Our decision to make an impact by levelling the playing field of youth opportunity in Aotearoa New Zealand, was a total no-brainer.” The Tāwai Takapiri Connect Futures NZ Trust was officially established in July 2018 after an establishment working Term 1, 2021 |

group identified an opportunity to support state schools in Aotearoa New Zealand to develop alumni engagement programmes as a means of creating equal opportunity for students to be exposed to inspiring role models and career opportunities. The Connect Futures NZ alumni engagement programme commenced in August 2018, as the Trust engaged with several prospective partner schools. Nine partner schools and one Teen Parent Unit have since joined the programme as stage 1 partner schools, which the Trust will continue to partner with as they establish alumni engagement programmes in their schools. Phase one of the programme commenced in Term 1 2019 with the partner schools proceeding through an onboarding process. In Term 2, most of the schools moved into stage two of the programme: establishing their community engagement systems and resources. Tāwai Takapiri Connect Futures NZ Trust works alongside the leaders and alumni programme champions of partner schools as they progress, at their own pace, through the establishment, implementation and activation phases as their alumni engagement programme comes to life. In their mentorship roles, Connect Futures Programme Managers contribute expert advice, guidance, support, and encouragement while ensuring that programme milestones are celebrated and impact, in terms of inspiring opportunities created for current students, is monitored. Connect Futures NZ’s approach ensures that partner schools develop an alumni and community engagement programme that has the capacity to serve and enrich students past, present, and future. Throughout its early years, Fowler says TTCF Trust is grateful to have partnered with ‘the humble, kind, and unsung heroes’ of The Fletcher Trust, Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust, Alterno Foundation, and organisational supporters supporters Inhive Global (formerly Future First Global), Term 1, 2021 |

Wallabies player Hunter Paisami with Herilla Salu and Melegalenu’u Ah Sam.

Second Nature Charitable Trust; Ako Mātātupu Teach First NZ and Chapman Tripp.

his former students … we are interested in building connections with former students like the members of this group and working with them to help develop career pathways for current students.”

In late 2020, a hui was held in Hawkes Bay for schools involved in the programme to come together to share ideas and experiences. The Trust now has a base in a shared hub in Manukau and, looking ahead, wishes to expand its geographical reach and lasting impact.

79 percent said that they felt more confident about their future success.

81 percent said that engaging with former students helped them to realise the link between their schoolwork and future job options.

91 percent of teachers believed that working with alumni boosted students' confidence.

Auckland Blues visit Mangere College

Fowler adds, “We forge ahead, committed to our vision of an Aotearoa New Zealand where EVERY young person is exposed to opportunities that inspire their ambition and self-belief.” More information can be found at or Mangere College’s 50th Jubilee.

Alumni engagement in action… Former head boy connects with past principal and current students. Former Tamatea High School Head Boy Arran Culver, now a paediatric psychologist based in Wellington, arranged a reunion for 1980 and 1981 alumni to visit their former school, connect with former Principal John Ryan and current students. Current Principal Robin Fabish says, “At the end of the school tour, John gave an emotional ‘Principal’s address’, which bought a tear to the eye of

Former student and Auckland Blues player Ofa Tu’ungafasi visited Mangere College as part of the Blues’ Best Foot Forward programme, which distributes rugby boots to young players. Principal Tom Webb says, “It’s definitely inspiring for our students to see an exstudent and how well he has done in his career … a real role model for them.” And for Ofa, the joy of giving back to the school he loves… “Mangere College has supported me, not just through my education but through my life and not only myself, but all my siblings. Mangere College has a special place in our hearts and in our family.”

Alumni survey findings In a Future First UK survey of young people who have interacted with former students of their school: •

84 percent said that connecting with former students helped them realise that they can be successful.


Ourschool: Victoriabased state school alumni programme Similar to Tāwai Takapiri Connect Futures NZ, Ourschool is an Australian organisation established to support the establishment of alumni engagement programmes and communities in state schools in Victoria. After recognising the opportunity that state schools were missing compared to their private school counterparts, Caroline Milburn founded Ourschool in 2017 and started working with schools throughout Victoria supporting them “to become beacons of aspiration and achievement in their neighbourhoods”. * Future First UK research ** “The gap between the rich and the poor at University in New Zealand”, Kirsty Johnson, New Zealand Herald, Sept 15, 2018


Images courtesy of Learning Matters

Teacher, teacher,

please help me succeed By Carla McNeil, Managing Director, Learning Matters

been either knowledge that has led to a deep understanding of why the students are presenting as they are, or a strong sense of moral purpose and a desire to be a better teacher, which has led them to continued learning in this area. Knowledge breeds confidence.

All of us can remember our school days and name a teacher who was a positive influence on our schooling and developmental success.

Factors that lead to successful schooling experiences for our students with SLDs include:

When I reflect on my own schooling experiences, many names come to mind. I am sure I speak for many in education when I stress the importance of building strong foundations in wellbeing and consciously forging positive relationships between teachers and students. Sadly, for our students with specific learning differences (SLDs), these connections are not always as secure as they should be. The conscious development of


meaningful relationships that support positive schooling and life experiences begins with the teacher and then is shared with the students as they get older. The most critical element in this is the teacher’s ability to empathise with each student. In my experience, it is difficult to do this well when

specific teacher knowledge regarding SLDs – how to identify them, when to refer students for assessment and what a specific SLD means for a student’s educational pathway and ability to access the curriculum

teachers having access to evidence-based resources to teach their students with SLDs

we are not aware of what sits behind a student’s struggles. Over the past five years, I have observed teachers across New Zealand with an incredible ability to build relationships with students and their whānau. The element that most of these teachers have had in common has


Term 1, 2021 |

teachers’ understanding of, and access to, both interventions (i.e., explicit teaching that develops the skills that are lacking) and accommodation strategies (e.g., reader–writers, technology, workarounds) a teacher mindset of ‘every student has the right and potential to learn and succeed’ systems and processes developed and implemented by school leaders to ensure teachers, students and whānau are well supported and connected teachers’ ability to empathise and build strong and meaningful relationships with their students.

Working through the challenge of teaching or parenting a student with an SLD is a hard task. However, we have observed a significant shift over the last two years in the way dyslexia is beginning to be addressed in the New Zealand schooling system. Many more schools across the country are adopting current research- and evidence-based

Term 1, 2021 |

Image courtesy of Learning Matters

practices, such as structured literacy, and increasing their knowledge about dyslexia and the science of reading. Teachers have been realising that to their intense frustration and disappointment, they do not have all the knowledge necessary to teach every child in front of them. Just as we encourage teachers to be empathetic with their students, we encourage them to be empathetic and kind to themselves. To accept that it is not their fault that they do not have all the necessary knowledge to teach all students effectively. From adversity comes opportunity. Now, the opportunity to make a difference is here. The online

learning systems that have taken over the world because of COVID-19 have, in fact, been a blessing for us all as educators of students with SLDs.

What does their family want for them?

Am I aware of why these challenges present for them – is there an SLD present?

I encourage you to be strategic – do not clutch at straws. We have done that for years, jumping straight into action with various programmes that have not been evidence based. Take your time; be kind to yourselves; build your knowledge first. Do a stocktake of the assessments, resources, and systems that you currently have. Consider seeking advice from an expert who can help you to create a strategic action plan that will lead to the development of a consistent, school-wide pedagogy for teaching students with SLDs.

What can I do as their teacher/mentor/role model to help them be the best person they can be?

What support do I need, and who will I turn to for this?

If you are committed to developing the social and emotional wellbeing of all your students and forging relationships with them that instil confidence, resilience, motivation, and success, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions: •

How well do I know this learner?

How well do I understand their challenges?


Positive and successful schooling experiences, as well as strong and meaningful relationships, all take time, energy, and curation. On behalf of all the New Zealand children with SLDs and their whānau, I thank all the teachers who, day in, day out, commit to being a better learner, person, mentor, and teacher themselves in a bid to inspire and enable our children with SLDs and to help make the world a better place for them. The opportunities for continued learning in this area are plentiful, with robust, evidence-based resources available to teachers, students and whānau across the country. Will it be you that your students remember in conversations in the years to come?



Career Guidance:

Helping students choose their path By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Deciding which path to take is a lifelong necessity and our schools are, of course, a key juncture. Career education is therefore vital in assisting young people transition from school to further education, training, or employment. And with each career path as unique as each student, the choices can be overwhelming.

So, how do schools best prepare students in 2021? Career advisors within schools can find a wealth of resources to support them in their work, with as a natural starting point. Career Kete: Decide and Prepare is a Careers NZ resource that helps Year 11-13 students develop career management competencies and make decisions. Content is organised into five areas: understanding tertiary options, understanding the job market, planning a learning pathway, preparing a CV and job search skills. Explore and Compare is an alternative resource for Years 9-10 and Dream and Discover is aimed at Years 7 and 8. Rangatahi Futures is a youth


career education programme that supports teachers in guiding Māori learners. Resources available via include the Māia series of videos targeted at Māori aged 13-19. The Pacific Futures resource is produced in English and eight Pacific languages. Gateway programmes help Year 11 to 13 learners explore job options while studying towards NCEA. In the 12-month programme, students are enrolled at school, study for NCEA Levels 1 to 3, try out a job in a real work environment, learn and are assessed for specific work knowledge and skills, and can study for trades-related credits. The Vocational Pathways programme provides more ways in which students can achieve NCEA Level 2, creating more pathways into further learning and work, while the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) programmes are for Year 11 to 13 students who want to explore tertiary study while still at school. Trades academies are 25 to 30 hour per week programmes that teach pre-trade courses to Year 11s, 12s and 13s, while participants are enrolled at school. Services academies are military-focused programmes in

schools for Year 11 to 13 learners who are no longer interested in school studies. Participants complete challenging outdoor activities, attend courses run by the NZ Defence Force youth development unit, build physical fitness, learn leadership and life skills, as well as studying for NCEA Level 1, 2 and other trades-related credits.

students to leave school with a meaningful education and a clear pathway for their future. This is only achieved if the student is allowed to set their sights on what they are interested in, not what a school believes they can achieve. Emphasis must be authentically about the student’s future and encouraging their success.”

Industry viewpoints…

How can schools support students on vocational pathways towards careers in the trades?

We turned to industry expert Lisanne Baukema of Palmerston North-based Industry Training Solutions for her take on the roles schools play in kickstarting careers…

Lisanne Baukema

Baukema says, “Quality career education is key to lifelong success for many… so it’s vitally important for the students, the community, and employers that there is good advice and information available. “Every New Zealander wants


“For 2021 and beyond, it’s appropriate that the careers departments have a trades specialist and make trades the hero. There are many more students suited to, and who will be successful in, trades than non-trades careers. The mindset of the past that success is only measurable by enrolment in higher education is no longer appropriate.” Ensuring students value trade professions is key, says Baukema. “Students must be encouraged and left feeling valued and excited about the future pathway of trades they aspire to. “Schools need to accept that tertiary education is not for everyone – this means that schools need to support the Term 1, 2021 |

student’s journeys whatever they may be. To achieve what is required, the investment in the Careers, Vocational, Gateway/STAR team must be at an appropriate level.” Career guidance expert Jeremy Soles is CEO of the Electrical Training Company (ETCO). He says schools need to be proactive in their approach to trades-based training.

relationships with these various providers so they can visit the training centres for a trades practical experience day. “Schools should also provide students with practical examples of the use of calculations and theories in the physics and math curricula. We have had occasions when students, and even their teachers, have not appreciated how the principles and the math and physics theories and calculations are applied every day in some trades environments.”

How has Soles seen apprenticeships change over the years?

Jeremy Soles

“Schools need to be contacting the vocational training providers in the trades and inviting them in to provide talks and information sessions. They also need to develop the

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“The structure of apprenticeships has not changed in terms of the timeframe it takes to complete an electrical apprenticeship. Today’s apprentices are starting to deal with technologies that did not exist 20 years ago, however. They need to be equipped to be able to adapt to ways of working and new technologies as they come into their environments.

Apprentices need to be more adaptable and resilient. “The delivery environment has changed. The use of online systems has made delivery and interaction with the apprentice a lot more inclusive. There is also great depth of pastoral care to apprentices provided now, to look after wellbeing alongside the actual apprenticeship.”

How well does Soles think schools promote apprenticeships? “Nowhere near as well as they should, given the trades are all under-represented across the population and that, with a trade, they will always have work. “In our view, the word ‘vocational’ should be abandoned. There are two types of tertiary education: one can be gained at tertiary teaching institutions like universities and polytechnics and the other can be gained through a blended practical and academic qualification (trade). “University is not the only choice for smart students and


a smart motivated student can often achieve more and earlier through the trades pathway.” Hita shared some additional career guidance resources available to schools: MyMahi is a digital platform that has been developed specifically for students so that they can better discover, develop, and manage their future pathways and it helps over 60,000 students set goals and help them get closer to dreams and aspirations. Careers Central is a digital platform for students and teachers to use and plan pathways. It was designed to follow career development theory and suit New Zealand secondary schools. Careers and Transition Education Association NZ. (CATE) is a professional organisation that exists to empower career educators. It is great for networking and support with meetings providing regular updates and inspiration to careers staff.


Interactive and motivational

delivery is the key to achieving results Industry Training Solutions (ITS) excels in offering face to face courses that are interactive and engaging with transferable and work ready skills enhancing opportunities for rangatahi to do well and be more likely to succeed in Gateway, trades, and other employment placements. These face to face courses deliver motivation, inspiration and a can do attitude that employers need. This was highlighted recently by NZQA who said; “School student achievement is through newfound confidence in their ability to lead and engage in society in a day-to-day context and undertake further learning or involvement in school activities.”

Tutors have good connections with support services in the school to understand students’ backgrounds and needs, therefore minimising barriers to learning.

ITS has an excellent delivery method to meet the educational and developmental needs of diverse cohorts and their backgrounds and education. Secondary school students gain credits that can contribute towards NCEA and acquire skills that will be useful as they enter adulthood, including leadership, teamwork, communication, and customer service skills. The programmes improve learners’ confidence and wellbeing and help them see their potential. ITS has an excellent delivery method to meet the educational and developmental needs

of diverse cohorts and their backgrounds and education. The PTE uses an experiential learning model and manaakitanga which allows it to engage with, and achieve good results from, a diverse population of learners. The achievement rate for Maori and Pasifika students in 2020 was 96%, with an overall achievement rate of 97%. This shows that ITS’s learning model works.

In addition to face-to-face courses their Ako Pai range is really popular and helpful for Gateway and other students. Many Ako Pai packages can be completed without the employers input, which means students can actually focus on the workplace experience rather than collecting evidence for units. The Live Online options are great as they have a balanced mix of virtual learning and interaction with a tutor. Correspondence options allow students to learn at their pace in their way, digital or paper based. Choose ITS for student success.

YOUR FUTURE S OF ALLSORT S COURSE SORTS FOR ALL LE OF PEOP Our tutors are fabulous industry experts and bring the subject alive in a creative fun way with real stories and experience.

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eBooks and assessments are now available for all the ITS Ako Pai Packages. These are uniquely crafted, gateway and workplace friendly, fabulous self paced industry units. Our tailored Ako Pai correspondence packages offer your students the opportunity to gain; - valuable skills and knowledge prior to going to a workplace to complete work experience, this enhances the workplace experience for all parties - industry unit standards while completing practical requirements in their work placement Prices are $165 +GST per package

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Our Correspondence Units offer your students the flexibility to study at their own pace, with a wide range of courses available. Great courses to be completed at home, school or workplace in the students own time. • CORRESPONDENCE – DIGITAL • CORRESPONDENCE – POST Prices starting from $75 +GST ITS – NZQA 2020 EER - NZQA are Highly Confident in educational performance. - NZQA are Highly Confident in capability in self assessment.

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Web presence that works By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

When the world has moved online, the way a school connects through its communication technology is more important than ever. Each school has a unique story to tell and experiences to offer and branding your school in line with this enables you to present its core values effectively to prospective school families as well as the local community. It is fair to say many New Zealand schools do themselves no favours in their website offerings. An ineffective, outdated website can speak volumes and it could prove


An instant decisionmaker for families considering the move to your school Dave Wood

to be an instant decisionmaker for families considering the move to your school, especially if competitors offer an impressive alternative. While a website should capture and market a school’s values and vision, many look out of date and have little information beyond the basics.

So, what are some dos and don’ts for school website design and how do schools set their bar high in this area? To help us answers these questions, we turned to industry pioneer Dave Wood of Auckland-based web design and development specialists, Koda, for his view!


“The decision to refresh your online environment provides an opportunity to deliver a website that aligns with your school community, the values the school offers, with a user experience which delivers these features in a userfriendly interface,” says Dave. Not only is a new website a chance for a fresh design, but it Term 1, 2021 |

also provides an opportunity to build in additional functionality and features to support and enhance user interaction. Dave suggests this can include: •

Event calendars, integrated with other school systems (like Google calendar)

Pages dedicated to foreign fee payers

Multi language support for multiple translations

Job vacancy pages

to content? “This is a key requirement of any new website development, whether the site is built on the WordPress blogging platform or a tailored Drupal environment, the ability to edit content is key. Associated with the platform is the question of an Opensource solution versus a proprietary platform that belongs to a developer.” He says he would always recommend an Opensource platform to provide flexibility.

Classroom pages


He says, “The list is endless and that is perhaps where we see the biggest challenge for schools looking to redevelop their websites; how to make sense of the jargon and buzz words and ensure the site they invest in is fit for purpose and meets all of their objectives.” According to Dave and his team, some of the key criteria a school should consider with their new site include:

Platform Is the new site to be built on a platform that allows the school team to easily make changes

Do you want your new website to utilise a template, that could be used by other schools or would you prefer a custom design that sets you apart? “This doesn’t have to be an expensive decision, a unique design that fits the school and your community can be a cost-effective option for any school,” he says.

Responsive “A fully responsive website is a given for all new websites. The site needs to be effective on all platforms, from desktop to mobile. This requires more

than just making a desktop version of the site display on a mobile device, it requires taking into consideration the content that will be displayed on the mobile device and where it is not usable, providing alternatives that allow a user to effectively navigate the site and access the information they are seeking on a mobile device. “An example of this could be a promotional ‘call to action’ tile that is easy to read on a desktop. When displayed on a mobile device it is too small to read. Providing a system that will allow an alternative to be displayed when a screen resolution is a certain size will ensure your site is user-friendly and engaging on all device types.”

Performance “Users expect a website to load quickly. This is a common thread because performance is important. Taking into consideration the content to be used on the site, a good development company will provide options to ensure your content loads fast and that the user experience is enhanced.”

Search Engine Optimisation An aspect of any new development, and one that is often overlooked, is to ensure the new site is optimised for internet search engines. Structure your content to maximise effectiveness in search engines. Of particular importance, is ensuring that the existing index value associated with the current website is not lost.”

Cost effective solutions “The biggest challenge I see for schools wanting to refresh their online presence is associated with budget. For many schools, budgets are extremely tight. While a well-designed fully functional site can deliver savings, the investment is sometimes seen as an obstacle. A quality provider should offer a range of options to tailor both the site itself and the way it is financed, to ensure a school is able to have an online presence that delivers on their needs.”

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A modern approach to teaching and learning By Amber Suckling, Autex

Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs), also known as Modern Learning Environments or Flexible Learning Environments, are quickly becoming the standard for New Zealand Schools.

to work in both large and small groups, as a class, or individually. When designing an ILE, it is important to consider how the structural, social, and pedagogical attributes will function together. The eight structural design elements needed for ILEs are acoustics, insulation,

air quality, heating, lighting, accessibility, sustainability, and health and safety. Vital to the success of ILEs, acoustics support clear communication and speech intelligibility— ensuring both students and teachers benefit from group and individual work. The

Put simply, an ILE is a collaborative, flexible, futurefocused environment designed to evolve and adapt to changes in educational practices, supporting a modern approach to teaching and learning. While increasingly common, ILEs are complex, requiring meticulous planning and consideration.

The pilot had a lot of positive feedback from students, parents, teachers, and principals; one school even claimed that their year seven student retention rate had increased significantly from 48 percent to 98 percent. When asked about the acoustic performance of the spaces, teachers commented that outside noise from adjacent activities was not a distraction, and there was no need for their students, or themselves, to raise their voices to be heard effectively.

The majority of schools in New Zealand were built during the 1950s to the 1970s, many of which are still in use to this day. Historically, students would be taught the same subjects by the same teacher using a traditional teaching method - focusing on the mass rather than the individual. Now, as research conducted on effective learning environments strongly indicates that students learn best when they are actively involved in decision making, initiate their own learning, collaborate, and make connections across learning areas, learning requirements, and teaching methods have evolved significantly. To provide better learning environments for Kiwi students, the Ministry of Education started implementing ILEs throughout the country. In 2008, five schools were selected to participate in the Learning Studio Pilot Project. The studios were carefully designed to facilitate modern learning with specific emphasis placed on social and structural elements. Though slightly different in design, each studio consisted of a central learning area with modular walls connecting surrounding smaller rooms to the shared space. The openness and flexibility these spaces provided allowed students


Ministry of Education Designing Quality Learning Spaces guide states that: “Learning is about communication, and most people communicate using speech. If a classroom isn’t well designed for sound, speech can be hard to understand. Too much noise or reverberation may cause students to miss keywords, phrases and concepts… good acoustic design supports all students and creates a better place in which to learn and teach in.”

Images courtesy of Autex Industries

With the success of the Learning Studio Pilot Project, many established schools started the transition from traditional to modern ILE as part of their 10-Year Property Plan, while new schools incorporated ILEs into their campus design and construction. Auckland Normal Intermediate converted its specialist area into a ILE and has commented that since the transition, attendance rates are high, behavioural issues are almost non-existent, students are motivated and engaged, and achievement levels have improved. The Education Review Office further commented, saying: “Achievement information shows that most students are achieving above national norms in many areas of the curriculum. This high achievement has been sustained over several years and students show good progress in their time at the school, especially in writing.”


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Flaxmere Primary School – Image courtesy of Furnware

Ever learning, ever changing:

flexibility rules By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Gone are the days of static wooden desks; each one allocated to a pupil at the start of the school year. The needs of the modern school dictate that places of learning are everywhere. Inside and out, classroom to field, group and individual workspaces can be created. So, how do schools go about creating flexible learning spaces that encourage independence, collaboration, and creativity?

One Kiwi in the know, is Marianne Elliott. The learning space design consultant works with Hawkes Bay-based company Furnware and was happy to share her opinion on creating flexible learning spaces with us this issue. She advised: Schools should always start with the ‘how, why, what and who?’. Pedagogy should always come before design and asking these questions helps facilitate an effective approach to planning. How does the teacher teach? What activities will the learning space need to support? What

size are the student groups and what year are they? How much of the curriculum is digital learning? Will there be STEM/ STEAM happening in the space? Only then do we start to design and develop the learning spaces to facilitate all the different activities and support every learner and the way they like to learn. You need to think about creating different zones; quiet spaces for reading and independent learning, space for floor learning and mat time for junior students, high spaces with good sight lines for front of class instruction, and plenty of room to accommodate collaborative

Iona College – Image courtesy of Furnware


activities, where flexible furniture can be joined together for large group discussion. Provide plenty of choice to support every learner and how they like to learn, with flexible furniture options to enable the learning space to be reconfigured for multiple activities, independent learning, paired learning, and larger collaborative groups. This can include a variety of desks and tables; high-seated and low, with solutions that can be separated or joined, depending on the need. Whiteboard surfaces are useful to provide visible learning to encourage participation.

Ormiston Primary School – Image courtesy of Furnware


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SIlverdale Primary School – Image courtesy of Furnware

Mixing soft furnishings and hard materials can bring the comfort of home into the classroom and soften noise.

activities in the school setting. This can be especially powerful when students are engaging in dynamic learning like STEAM subjects.

By incorporating some, or all of these, the learning space becomes a creative and engaging environment where students have agency and control over where is best for them to learn their specific tasks. Furnware colleague and design manager, Helen Jones also spoke with us about her view on wellbeing and pedagogy as key themes for schools to consider.

Taradale Intermediate – Image courtesy of Furnware

She suggested: The principle of form following function applies to flexible learning spaces as well. Design must be driven, first and foremost, by the pedagogy of the particular school and teacher, and then the space designed in order to facilitate delivery of this. Furniture plays a huge part in this delivery and should be considered early in the design process, rather than at the tail end. The key factor is pedagogy: what learning do we want to deliver in this space, who to, and how? While catering to the needs of the here and now,


flexible learning spaces have the advantage of being able to transform to cater to evolving teaching styles and methods. The theme of wellness (be it mental or physical) is widely recognised as critical to student engagement and learning outcomes. Environmental aspects such as air flow and quality, light quality (both natural and artificial) and acoustics are all key to welldesigned learning spaces. Similarly, colour can have a powerful influence and should be carefully considered.

Too much bright colour can be jarring and distracting, whereas keeping a good ratio of more neutral colours and then using limited accent or pops of colour in appropriate places is far more effective. Product design director at the company, Jesse Keith added his practical industry perspective on some of the latest developments and trends in classroom furniture: Standing height furniture is not just a trend for the workplace but it also has a role to play for certain learning


Soft seating and quiet zones are fantastic to break up large spaces. They also act as a retreat or haven for students looking for personal space while reading or completing focussed learning tasks. Soft seating, in its nature, reflects furniture we have in our homes and hence helps us feel more relaxed and, hopefully, more comfortable. Chairs or stools that have integrated dynamics and promote user in-chair movement can allow students to remain comfortable and on-task during their learning. Biophilic design is a relatively new and rapidly expanding area of study and practice in the design of spaces and products. Exploring this in the context of colours, textures, material selection and product form allows designers to enhance a learning space by providing a connection to nature. Nature is known to provide deep, calming, and restorative properties. Where better to explore and embrace these qualities than in the classroom? Term 1, 2021 |

New to the bookshelf this term... Space Detectives For ages 7+ By Mark Powers Bloomsbury Dog lost in space? Grown an extra head and don't know why? Pocket money stolen by a green blob? You need the Space Detectives! Connor and Ethan are spending their summer holidays aboard the world's first orbiting city, Starville (basically Beverley Hills in space!). The amazing space station is bursting with celebrities and the mega-rich. But Connor and Ethan are too busy selling ice cream to see the sights. Marketed as Star Wars meets Sherlock Holmes, this is a new series filled with creativity, humour, and enough smarts to keep younger readers engaged.

The Valley of Lost Secrets For middle-grade readers By Lesley Parr Bloomsbury

Fun, STEAM activities + experiments for class or home

When Jimmy is evacuated to a small village in Wales, it couldn’t be more different from London. Green, quiet and full of strangers, he instantly feels out of place. But then he finds a skull hidden in a tree, and suddenly the valley is more frightening than the war. Set in September 1939, this is a historical middle-grade novel that will delight fans of Emma Carroll and Michael Morpurgo. Author Lesley Parr is a secondary school teacher and her fiction speaks to topics like WW2 that are frequently covered in the curriculum.

Time to Remember

Access the inaccessible!

For Young Adult readers By Elizabeth Heritage Self-published When the Canterbury Earthquakes destroyed their city, Natalie and her friends were only ten years old. Too old to forget, but too young to be heard, they have never told their stories. Until now

A contemporary novel that follows the fortunes of some Canterbury University students who were children when the quakes hit and are now coming of age, the pukapuka deals with mental health issues and aims to be directly relevant to a high school New Zealand readership.

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Igniting wonder in STEM The Wonder Project Rocket Challenge is designed to get Kiwi kids excited about STEM, and it’s set to be bigger than ever this year! Since blasting off in 2019, the Rocket Challenge has seen over 30,000 Kiwi kids design, build and launch their own water rocket. The hands-on learning is aligned with Level 3 of the New Zealand school curriculum and is designed to spark wonder in students. Last year the challenge reached 20,000 students in 662 classes across Aotearoa! The Rocket Challenge will run in Term 2 2021, with enough free kits to support 1000 classes. Plus, this year, the Wonder Project are introducing the Plant Challenge in Term 4, where Level 4 students are tasked with engineering a sustainable world using hydroponic technology. They also continue to offer students STEM industry visits and motivating career talks. The free school programme is supported by STEM professionals who work alongside teachers to inspire kids to consider a different career path. Thanks to support from Callaghan Innovation, schools are given everything they need to successfully launch their rockets including the rocket kit and online teaching modules.

get more young Kiwis excited about taking up careers in STEM fields, says Engineering New Zealand Chief Executive Richard Templer “With skill shortages in science, technology, engineering and maths, and only 1% of New Zealand’s population being engineers, the Wonder Project aims to attract more young people to pursue a STEM career. We achieve that by taking young Kiwis on a creative, dynamic and fun learning journey”.

The Wonder Project aims to




Term 1, 2021 |

I wonder how we can ignite creativity in young Kiwis?

The Wonder Project is a free programme for schools, designed to get young Kiwis excited about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). With each of the Wonder Project Challenges, schools are supported by industry professionals who help inspire kids to see the wonder in STEM.

2021 programme Rocket Challenge Year 5–6 | Term 2 – Registrations open Plant Challenge Year 7–8 | Term 4 STEM Careers Year 7–13 | Year-round Help us spark wonder by becoming a Wonder School today at

POWERED BY Term 1, 2021 |



Full STEAM ahead for our schools

By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

We asked and you answered! STEAM, it seems, is everywhere. From Auckland to Alexandra, Castor Bay to Christchurch, school students of all ages are getting involved in Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) learning programmes, with some impressive outcomes. In our November e-newsletter, we put a call out for schools to share their projects and learnings and were delighted to receive a raft of responses. In this issue, we highlight the work going on at several schools across the country, starting with Dunstan High School in Alexandra. This rural Central Otago school shares the challenges and successes that have come from introducing a STEAM programme to its classrooms and community. Michelle Bromby has spearheaded STEAM at the 500-pupil school and manages the programme. She said that, like many schools, Dunstan High originally embarked on a STEM programme. “I know some teachers at the school had felt threatened that the strong emphasis on STEM coming from the government meant that they felt their subject was being devalued. It really just took a few conversations and a name change to STEAM to smooth things out. “I think teachers are now starting to realise that STEM/STEAM doesn’t make their subject obsolete at all, in fact it offers lots of opportunities to explore arts subjects in different ways, potentially increasing their relevance for today’s students.” At the start of 2020, the local kāhui ako (Community of

Learning) was awarded a $242,000 grant for STEAM Education Development from the Otago Community Trust. A significant amount of this money went to Dunstan High School, Michelle says, which helped equip its music, drama, and arts departments. “It reassured everyone that STEAM really does involve he Arts, even if the A is often left out of the acronym!” She explains how the school’s Year 9 and Year 10 programmes have progressed over the past two years. “We started out focusing more on robotics and coding but have changed to a more practical course as we've gone along. Because our students are from a rural area and do not come with a lot of coding experience, we found this initial approach was a bit off-putting for them.” So, the school adapted its STEAM programme to fit with the needs of its rural community. Pupils began designing and building catapults using a laser cutter, and the school has developed a rocketry module in which students have worked in teams to design, build, and launch a rocket. Student choice projects included a group of four girls building and writing code to create a weather station. They then took this over to the local primary school to show new entrants how to monitor the weather. One teacher involved in Dunstan High’s STEAM programme, Rupert Bromby told us that pupils have also engaged in other projects such as 3D printing and building an electric-powered jet boat. He said: “It’s been very satisfying as a teacher to see many disengaged students get really involved in class activities of their own choice and putting their ideas into reality.” P32

Images courtesy of Dunstan High School



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Inspiring innovators everywhere Covid-19 saw many resilient schools turning to online resources to deliver educational outcomes for their students while in lockdown. To support teachers during these tough times, MOTAT established online workshops, making their immensely passionate educators available to schools across Aotearoa for the first time ever. Now MOTAT continue to offer online workshops focused on developing students’ design thinking capabilities and covering topics such as Inventions and Innovation, Communications, and Design-Thinking. These workshops are suitable for years 3+, and use local and New Zealand issues and case studies to get students engaged in learning. Visit learning/online-workshops for a full list of available workshops.

MOTAT + Samsung Solve for Tomorrow The MOTAT Life Hack! workshop has been developed in partnership with Samsung’s global Solve for Tomorrow initiative. A popular competition overseas, Solve for Tomorrow is being launched in New Zealand in 2021.

Take part in Life Hack! – a mass online workshop for schools Get a unique MOTAT experience without leaving your school gates. Say NO to bus costs, H&S paperwork and organising parent helpers! Register your class or school for this live-streamed workshop taking place on Wednesday 3 March 2021. During the Life Hack! mass online workshop, MOTAT’s experienced educators will inspire your students to solve

an issue currently facing their community, encouraging them to think of strategies and use a design thinking process to solve the problem and develop the solution. The workshop will use specific New Zealand case studies to showcase our country’s cultural legacy of innovation and inspire students to become the young innovators of tomorrow. Date & time: Wednesday 3 March 2021, morning and afternoon sessions available Workshop cost: $100 registration fee.

The competition is designed to boost interest and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), and challenges teachers and students to show how STEM can be applied to help improve their communities. The MOTAT Life Hack! mass online workshop is an excellent starting point to learn transferable skills and techniques that will give your students the edge for their Solve for Tomorrow competition entry. Follow @MOTATNZ on Facebook for competition announcement and details. For more information and to register visit:



A great way to introduce your class to problem solving through a design thinking process. BOOK NOW! GET MORE INFORMATION & REGISTRATION DETAILS AT:

Our Educators bring a STEAM Cell trailer to your school packed with teaching resources and MOTAT collection items, to deliver a unique learning experience for your students.

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Images courtesy of Dunstan High School

P30 So how has Dunstan High’s experience of delivering a STEAM programme helped shape the initial view of this among some, and built engagement with learning and the community? Michelle says, “It has been a bit of a battle. The principal, Reece Goldsmith, and the school board have been enormously supportive. However, we have had to convince a largely conservative school community that this is a worthwhile endeavour.” Some highlights have included

watching students start to think for themselves, says Michelle. “And seeing others, who might struggle academically, really shine with the practical nature of the subject and find their passion.” Rupert says he finds some students initially struggle with the practicalities. “They usually work in teams of four. They find this challenging at first. The teacher minimally intervenes in the project work, and so the students have to allocate and be accountable for the tasks amongst themselves.”

Inspiring creative problem-solvers

So, what is next for STEAM at Dunstan High School? Michelle says, “Next year we have a new format for our year 9 course, with even more handson practical learning involved. In the future, it would be great to see STEAM integrated with our enterprise programme, and possibly within other more arts focused subjects. “We are also starting a project-based learning programme in our senior school next year and are hoping to have more STEAM projects as part of this course in the future.”

Maker Space at Kamo Intermediate At the opposite end of the country, STEAM is gathering pace. Near the top of the North Island, Kamo Intermediate School has introduced what it calls its Maker Space programme. Principal Kim Sloane explains what instigated this STEAM initiative at her 690-pupil school. “Previous experience, reading, professional development all led to a keen interest to offer Maker Space to the students at Kamo Intermediate School. Having a diverse range of skills and

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EV3. The STEAM curriculum at Bricks 4 Kidz teaches important critical-thinking skills that will inspire future problem-solvers. using LEGO® Education WeDo

using LEGO® motorised Technic™

LEGO® Serious Play for Classrooms Innovative STEAM Programming Workshops Bricks 4 Kidz® STEAM Educational Programmes brings STEAM concepts into the classroom by increasing young students’ knowledge base and enhancing their current curriculum in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths using Bricks 4 Kidz proprietary LEGO® models, lesson plans and an introduction to coding fundamentals with LEGO® WeDo 2.0 and MINDSTORMS®

Using the LEGO® Serious Play for education methodology, Bricks 4 Kidz certified facilitator will lead students through a series of LEGO® model building challenges which promotes expression and problem solving, to support educators in addressing topics such as gratitude, integrity, growth mindset or bullying. Students will leave the workshops with an increased sense of confidence in their ability to communicate ideas and an awareness of the power of shared understanding.

To bring the Bricks for Kidz In-School STEAM or LEGO® Serious Play® workshops to your classrooms, please contact or visit



They think it's FUN, you know it's EDUCATIONAL

Kinesthetic play-based learning Empowering confident communicators Driven by intrinsic motivation Learning real-world skills and concepts Creating problem solvers and creative thinkers 0800 LEGO 4 K


Term 1, 2021 |

Images courtesy of Kamo Intermediate

passions made it easy to expose these enthusiastic students to the benefits and learning opportunities of ‘real life’ learning. Students of this age also have a keen interest in saving the planet, so upcycling was an immediate attraction. Adding to the schoolwide aesthetics made the students involved, very proud.”

How did pupils react to its introduction? Sloane says, “Students quickly became passionate about their projects, especially those who were upcycling items to

fit a new purpose for someone else. Other students saw what their peers were doing and very quickly wanted to become involved. Students continue to be encouraged to bring to school products that can be upcycled or redesigned in some way to become more useful.” Pupils have been transforming discarded wooden pallets into outdoor furniture and giving new life to other donated items by upcycling and repurposing them. The positives that have come from introducing projects that have tangible, real life

Curious about Caxton Educational CaxEd publishes the popular NZ Curriculum Mathematics – Stages numeracy series and the award-winning NZ Curriculum Mathematics – Connecting All Strands series, which weaves all the NZ Curriculum strands into one Student Text per year (Years 3-8) establishing a solid backbone for your maths programme. CaxEd offers Online Teacher Support via their website to complement the Connecting All Strands texts. Printable masters, interactive games, teaching strategies, and extra tasks for every Term 1, 2021 |

applications and value have been many and varied. “Students have learned new skills, co-operation, resilience and integration of learning from so many areas. Working alongside the community, developing self-confidence, self-belief, and a willingness to help others are some of the highlights. “We’re finding that students are willing, and wanting, to give up their own time to complete projects, so much so that often they are at school by 7am ready to work on their projects.”

Where have these STEAM project ideas come from? “Initially ideas came from various websites but increasingly they come from where individual students see a need, and/or a purpose, and act on it. The biggest advantage of this type of learning is that it enables all students to have success. They realise it is not necessarily an advantage to be the best at everything. They also realise that they have skills they were not aware of and this, in turn, creates many ‘Eureka!’ moments.”




chapter add more excellent activities for extension or extra practice to the highquality tasks in the books. Schools that have purchased this series can access these online resources at no cost. The Ministry of Education’s latest study shows that textbooks outperform computer or tablet-based learning. Email or visit

Give your students the best advantage to excel at maths. They use our textbooks, while you have all our free online teacher support.




Principal Sloane has big plans for this year and beyond, to further develop the school’s work in the STEAM field. She says, “I would like to apply for funding to purchase a CNC machine. This will enable students to design using upto-date software and see their designs become a reality. I would then like them to look at creating an online shop where their projects could be sold. “The future skills focus of the Maker Space programme is aimed at helping foster independence, meeting with success and preparing students for careers that perhaps are yet to be created. A character context-based STEAM class might be in the pipeline to offer students the chance to explore and learn through a common interest.”

Creating at Kirkwood Intermediate At Riccarton in Christchurch, intermediate school pupils have STEAM coming out of their ears! They enjoy the

Image courtesy of Kirkwood Intermediate

benefits of a technology centre, which includes eight specialist technology rooms and provides a base for STEAM learning to nine schools in the area. Over 1000 Year 7 and Year 8 students from low to high decile client schools access the facilities, usually for sessions of two hours at a time. Programme leader Julie Anderson, Head of Technology at Kirkwood Intermediate, says, “We have nine specialist teachers, who follow a thematic approach, using the ‘Five Stages of Design Thinking’, as the framework of our programme.” She shares some of the school’s learnings as its STEAM programme has progressed. “Previously, several teachers trialled a collaborative, un-siloed project, where 32 rangatahi worked in teams to produce an outside team game. They had to choose who went into which room (soft materials or resistant materials), construct a game, test it out and then run a whole year level competition. While the end result was successful, some teams had issues getting along throughout the process.”

LASER CUTTERS – CENTRAL TO STEAM Laser cutters/ engravers are a popular choice with schools throughout NZ as they prepare & implement the new digital curriculum. GENESIS “machines for creation” by Makerspace NZ are a popular choice for many reasons... With applications in both hard and soft material technology, the machines incorporate digital technology including design and prototyping. It’s easy to see why so many schools are installing Genesis “machines for creation” laser cutters/engravers to meet their curriculum requirements. With simple to use software and control systems,plus Makerspace NZ’s turnkey approach, your teaching


staff are quickly able to gain competency with the technology. Schools frequently comment about how a laser cutter has freed teachers up to assist with design and digitisation of the project (rather than administrating or operating the machine) thanks to the inherent speed and ease of use that the laser cutter facilitates. Individual projects are often cut/engraved in seconds to minutes rather than hours. Contact us at 0800 810 365 or visit TEACHING RESOURCES

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Trial and error led to a new approach to learning in the technology field. “Last year, therefore, the second trial focused on a different pedagogy: Maker Space, Impact Projects, Passion Projects, a project/problem-based learning and action inquiry. These are various names for enabling learners to be creators and solvers of problems in a different, more integrated way, compared to the resistant and soft materials, electronics, robotics, and food processing areas. “Using the kaupapa of the ‘Five Stages of Design Thinking’ framework is still integral to a more relaxed ‘Maker Space’ but offers those less inclined to enjoy producing written portfolios of evidence, to meet levels 3 and 4 of the technology curriculum and give them more freedom to make decisions and take risks.” A Maker Space trial project centred around The Eco Shop in Christchurch, which collects and resells waste materials. It had advertised a local robot building

Image courtesy of Kirkwood Intermediate

competition to raise awareness about electronic waste. Anderson says a pair of boys constructed ‘a magnificent ‘Meccason meccanoid’ in the form of a personal robot they named Lucy, standing 122cm tall. “It has a camera on the front to track movements, a smoke alarm (just in case there was a fire) and a sensor, powered by a power bank. They included an electronic circuit to light up when she sings. They had to carefully read 160 steps during construction, then test and finally programme

their own voices. The robot can mimic movements and follow commands, so is very interactive.” Lucy won first prize in the competition.

What, in Anderson’s view, are the main benefits of this work? “It builds skill sets for future STEAM careers, as rangatahi work in teams to make plans, practice self-management, leadership, resilience, and develop communication skills by relating to others. These soft skills are

transferable to any learning area and career. The students don’t necessarily come along with these attributes already – they need to be taught.” And looking ahead? “With the implementation of the digital curriculum and the need to consider future staffing means, we need to be proactive in thinking and planning ahead, so we are not just replacing people into the same programme but are trying to be innovative and creative when thinking about what future programmes could look like.”

Do more

with VR! VR Voom’s education team has worked with New Zealand students and teachers to enable young learners with knowledge and tools to create their own Virtual Reality content and projects and to thrive in this new digital frontier.

Our team has backgrounds in university and industry, and we focus on fundamentals such as computational thinking and ‘hands-on coding’, with outcomes aligned to stimulating students to continue their development within the VR industry, whether in the artistic 3D modelling and animation side or in game design and programming for VR. Our course outcomes are designed to be aligned Term 1, 2021 |

We provide our VR experience and expertise, having worked to teach students directly, to schoolteachers offering PLD events throughout the year with Digital Technologies Standard for senior students. Our teaching and facilitating methods are targeted at school students in a range of age groups as well as different levels of knowledge. We provide our VR experience and expertise, having worked to teach students directly, to schoolteachers offering PLD events throughout the year, sharing industry knowledge and academic research results. TEACHING RESOURCES


Gamifying Education for Sustainability Is gamification a way to get your students engaged in sustainability learning? According to peer reviewed, published, academic research, “gamification improves the teaching of science education and boosts student motivation, engagement, and learning outcomes.” 1 Crunch Time Edison Earth, or Eddie for short, guides players through the game, which can be played either solo or in multiplayer (classroom) mode. By registering, players can choose their own avatar and then earn points that go towards badges, ultimately unlocking new levels of the game. Students get 90 seconds to answer as many questions as possible, and for younger learners there is the option to have the ‘voiceover’ reading out the questions. The player gets to choose the level of difficulty and with a database of over 1,000 questions, there’s loads of fun and learning.


School-gen has been providing free educational resources to schools across New Zealand for more than 14 years.

The aim of the programme is to get young New Zealanders interested in science, technology, engineering and maths while learning cool stuff about energy and sustainability.

The programme is a Genesis community investment initiative.

Using Crunch Time in the classroom Crunch Time’s multiplayer mode allows your class to play against each other and even challenge another class. Setting up the class is as easy as registering yourself, clicking on multiplayer, and creating a new room. Students join the room, choose an avatar and then the game starts. As they answer the questions on their own device, the student’s avatar floats at the top of screen in a hot air balloon until they get an answer wrong. The last one in the air is the ‘winner’. Another way of using Crunch Time is to challenge your students to compete in the daily 4pm Crunch Time game

which is open to anyone. This can be a great alternative to traditional homework and ensures classroom learning around sustainability continues at home.

Whio Forever Boot Camp Game The Whio Forever Boot Camp game is a fun and simple way of getting kids learning about this highly endangered native New Zealand duck. A Nintendo style game, Whio Boot Camp provides information on the whio, their habitat and predators. As the player moves through the different levels of the game, they are challenged to find food, trap predators, find a mate and raise fledgling whio. The game can be used alongside


the Whio Education resources created by Genesis and the Department of Conservation. These resources include Unit Plans for Years 1-4 and 5-8, as well as ones’ that build knowledge around coding, creating algorithms, and animation / stop motion using whio as the real-life context for learning. These resources can be found at: www.

Be in to win! Games are great but there’s nothing like a bit of motivation to play! Consequently, during the school year, School-gen will be running a variety of different competitions using both Crunch Time and the Whio Boot Camp game. To ensure you hear about School-gen’s latest competition, head to the School-gen website and subscribe to our newsletter (www. The School-gen Facebook is also a great way of hearing about our latest activities and competitions www.facebook. com/schoolgennz/. 1 Kalogiannakis, M., Papadakis, S., & Zourmpakis, A-I. 2021. Gamification in Science Education. A Systematic Review of the Literature. Educational Science, 11 (22): 1-36.

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Borrow the Human Energy Generator for hands-on learning

Curriculum aligned resources and classroom activities

Online STEM games for kids

Check out the School-gen website

Like our Facebook page (@schoolgennz) for the lastest games, competitions & resources.

The show must go on! opportunities for students of varied talents and interests to get involved. Tech-minded pupils may enjoy working on sound and lighting, hard tech students might get on board with set construction and design students may wish to work on set and costume design.

By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

There’s no business like showbusiness… The art of putting on a show is as old as time. For schools, it can represent a highlight of the calendar year. Production time for students is often a love or a hate affair, but even for the most reluctant performers or stagehands, school shows represent a huge learning opportunity. Whether a school is hosting their own performance or inviting another company to perform, plenty of preparation is required. Having engaged, enthusiastic staff provides the fuel for the process and the performance itself, and benefits to these staff members can be huge. For some, drama and musical theatre will be their passion and driving a school production can provide an opportunity to share this passion

Image courtesy of Stronglite Staging

with the next generation. As well as being a creative outlet, production time offers staff many leadership opportunities, requires excellent organisation, communication, and an ability to motivate and inspire. Confidence is king, or queen, for performers and the courage

it takes to grace the stage for some can be a huge barrier to overcome. The self-belief, sense of pride and joy that can come from this can impact students for life. Teamwork is promoted, memories and friendships made. Backstage, too, there are many

The school show represents a chance for the whole school – and wider – community to come together. Parents may get involved in costume creation, prop sourcing and ticket promotion, while the wider local community is invited along to support the school and enjoy some local theatre. Guests may include local dignitaries and school alumni, representing an opportunity for renewed engagement and support. Music scores and scripts must be obtained by licence to avoid copyright infringement. Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) issues licences to copy and perform musical works.

“In the supporting role” SET! THE STAGE IS Hires or Sales - One call can do it all! Portable grandstands, stage sections, choir, orchestra and audience risers, kapa haka stages, drapes, steps, lecterns, ramps and ballet barres. Top quality, NZ made products, designed to be safe, easy to handle & store and guaranteed to perform every time. Proudly installed in many schools, universities and performance venues throughout New Zealand NZ suppliers and distributors of ccccccc products.


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Term 1, 2021 |

and operation exciting and fun, plus take into account colour and movement in addition to intensity of the lights.”

This licence covers public performances of music and copying of printed music scores, with the exemption of what are known as ‘Grand Right Musicals’ – shows such as Les Misérables, Annie, and Jesus Christ Superstar – for production in secondary schools where the show is run for profit and advertised in the media. However, APRA should be able to advise schools on how to contact the appropriate copyright owner to obtain permission to put on some of these ‘big ticket’ shows. For some schools, performance art and theatre departments are well resourced treasure troves of treasures and technology. For others, equipment, costumes, and sets have to be sourced externally.

Industry voices We spoke to stage lighting and audio expert Brodie Noon, managing director of MDR Sound and Lighting, about the latest technology available to help make school productions shine… “The most popular lighting options these days are the LED-powered par lights. Instead of a white bulb with a coloured gel in front of it, which is super-hot and uses

How might students, schools and communities benefit from staging quality stage productions?

Image courtesy of Stronglite Staging

massive amounts of power, you now have a multi-coloured light that can do any colour and any type of white effortlessly, does not need a dimmer unit (just a control desk). It uses basically no power, emits minimal heat and therefore means you need much fewer lighting fixtures as one can do so much more than before, especially now there are 'zoomable' and other forms of these fixtures. “The latest style of lighting control desks - when paired with LED technology (light fixtures)

really excite us as they are so intuitive for the students to use. The old-fashioned lighting controllers (which there are still many of in schools) are based on using dimmers, with one light per channel, and are very cumbersome and confusing to use and programme. “The newer style desks use modern technology that students are used to using already, such as the touchscreens they use on phones and iPads. They make lighting programming

“Students benefit immensely from being involved in productions,” explained Noon. “Many young people would not even know that they are 'born performers', great singers or have an interest in the technical aspect of these sorts of things unless they had an opportunity while at school. Plus, school productions have helped create many of the stars we see in professional shows and on television/in the movies.” Having a stage is an essential part of a quality production. Expert in all things stage-related, is Lloyd who, with wife Moira founded Stronglite Staging 25 years ago, following a career in television set design. The Hamilton couple have supplied staging as far afield as Samoa and operate with a high integrity ‘built to last’ approach to providing staging for each school’s specific needs.

The star of the stage When it comes to specialists in stage/theatre lighting and staging, you can’t go past MDR Sound & Lighting to assist your school in a solution for either upgrading to LED technology or implementing new build designs. Our local support and service network is available to schools nationwide!

1 Tiki Place, Palmerston North • 06 355 5073 • •

Term 1, 2021 |



Recruit right first time By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Whether it is a new teacher, receptionist, reliever, or a new school principal; it is important to ensure the applicant meets your school’s needs and suits the position well. No school wants high staff turnover and getting it right first time can prove priceless. But what does it take to give your school the strongest chance of finding the best fit? Running your recruitment processes in-house requires a significant investment of time and energy. Unless you have a recruitment professional on your school board, it can be hard to ensure your recruitment procedure is robust, well-run, and relevant to current law. And the amount of admin involved can be huge. A

©Drobot Dean -

Selecting the right applicant for a school position can be an allconsuming process…

recruitment agency can take the headaches out of the process. Recruitment expert from an international education agency with two NZ offices, Prospero Teaching’s Neil Elliott sat down with us this issue to discuss some of the benefits to outsourcing school recruitment and share his perspective on how the global pandemic has impacted his industry. “Agencies are constantly liaising

with industry experts whose core business is that of recruitment and they have an ability to identify talent that schools are not aware of,” says Neil. “The cost savings, in the form of time it takes to perform these duties themselves, can be huge.” He emphasises that the recruitment process is not a one-way street. “Recruitment consultants are great at ‘selling’ and consulting. This means they can position candidates

(particularly in candidate shortage market) towards the client schools they are representing quite effectively. For those schools, this becomes an additional recruitment tool.” Employing a new school principal can be a daunting prospect and this where a recruitment agency can be most valuable.

In what ways can an agency work with a school board to help select the strongest applicant? “In short, a recruitment agency can assist school boards in a multitude of ways. This can be in a full advisory capacity or simply limited in scope. For example, they can advise and assist boards on: •

Relevant legislative requirements: Children Act 2014, Employment Relations Act 2000

Images courtesy of Stronglite Staging

Lloyd says: “Schools can go from a one-metre square box stage up to whatever size stage they want. If they want a two-storey structure, so that Juliet can shout down from her balcony to Romeo, they should be able to do that!” Versatility, durability and innovation are key, he says. “Staging must provide solutions that are light and easy to handle, and also be suited to the rigours of Kapa Haka performance. It should also be innovative in the way that it allows schools


to make their ideas happen. Schools don’t want to spend money on something that they’re not going to get much use out of, so they should look at something that can safely be used in multiple ways including, a performance stage, tiered risers for the audience or choir, an access ramp or a wheeled drum riser.” Grandstands are an area of growth, according to Lloyd, schools and sports venues are looking for options that provide a lifetime of safe, portable, and

versatile seating structures that can be used both outdoor for the sports games, around the pool or indoor for the production or assembly. Staging can be hired for a one-off occasion or purchased for multiple, long-term use. No strangers to theatre, the Suttons recently enjoyed their daughter’s lead role performance in her high school production of Cats, and Lloyd sings in a barbershop choir. “It is absolutely a ‘must’ for schools to put on a production,” he enthuses: “The kids benefit


so much in so many ways. They all see how a production is put together, building the sets, working on the costumes, studying and rehearsing for their performance and most importantly, working together to make the magic happen.” Giving students the chance to experience quality theatrical productions, on stage or off, is a gift that keeps on giving. Whatever their role in the process or the production, chances are they will remember it forever. Term 1, 2021 |

Helping to establish (in conjunction with the board) suitable selection criteria

Helping to advertise roles

Assisting with shortlisting process

Assisting with all applicant background and safety checks; references, registrations, police vets and general compliance.”

In what ways has 2020 impacted teaching recruitment in New Zealand? “The obvious impact is that overseas trained teachers have been prevented from coming into the country. However, many more NZ-trained teachers who were working aboard have now returned, which is a bonus for New Zealand schools. “Schools have had to undertake more interviews online this year, where domestic travel was restricted. And, with the increase in online teaching (largely due to COVID lockdown), an increasing focus is on attracting candidates who are tech savvy.”

Term 1, 2021 |

New Zealand’s success in curbing COVID has also had geographical and contractual knock-on effects on recruiting members of the teaching profession. “Spiralling house prices (particularly in the major North Island cities) have seen an increase in applicants willing to ‘move South’ or ‘move out’. And, increasingly, more relief teachers have opted to secure full-time roles, as the uncertainty of school closures (or the continued threat thereof) has restricted their earning potential. This has also increased the candidate pool available to schools. “ Looking ahead, recruiters can take many learnings into 2021 and beyond, to best position themselves to fill staffing gaps for schools. “The events of 2020 have shown that New Zealand is heavily reliant on overseas trained teachers to help fill the ongoing teacher shortage. Many schools are still struggling to fill 2021 roles, due to not having access to this cohort.

©Antonioguillem -

“Also, the past year has shown us that New Zealand schools (particularly many larger secondary schools) are heavily reliant on the funding that overseas students provide. Many staff roles have been affected in these schools, as access to this market has dried up. These budget cuts have had a knock-on effect for recruitment planning in 2021. “In markets heavily affected by COVID, such as the UK, 2021 is providing new recruitment


opportunities for the education industry. For example, schools that have gone to a complete online model have been able to take advantage of teachers based in other locations (remote teaching and learning) to deliver classes. Recruitment agencies have been heavily involved in supporting schools with these appointments. “One thing is clear: schools will have to become increasingly accustomed to undertaking more teacher interviews online.”




Christchurch By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Being dubbed ‘the modern explorer’s playground’ by its council-funded economic development agency, Ōtautahi Christchurch is a multi-faceted gem of options for schools. Described as ‘a refreshing urban centre full of new secrets to discover’, the city has been revitalised and regenerated following the far-reaching

Image courtesy of The Air Force Museum of New Zealand

For schools, there is plenty to explore for all ages and stages from arts to history, geography to aviation, sports to hospitality earthquake impacts of the past decade. If you last visited pre-2010, chances are you will not recognise much, and this must mean you’re due to revisit. For schools, there is plenty to explore for all ages and stages from arts to history, geography

to aviation, sports to hospitality. Christchurch’s unique gems include The Arts Centre - a mix of historical and modern, scientific, and artistic. Within its complex, The Great Hall is a 130-year-old Gothic revival-style building with a unique memorial window tribute to WWI soldiers.

Alongside it sits Rutherford's Den, a hands-on (free) science experience dedicated to Nobel Prize Winner Lord Ernest Rutherford who studied and carried out some of his earliest experiments at Canterbury College.

Group Accommodation in Christchurch City

With rooms to suit every group type, Christchurch TOP10 Holiday park is the ideal place for any learning experience outside of the classroom. Our accommodation suits all budgets. Some may prefer a self-contained option with bathroom and kitchen facilities inside each unit. For a more authentic camping experience, we offer standard cabin units where students can use communal cooking and

bathroom facilities but still have the comfort of a warm cabin. We include everything you need such as beds made up with linen, pillows, plates, pots/pans etc – just bring yourselves and your own personal belongings. The park has plenty of on site activities with an indoor heated pool, jumping pillow, playground, snookball and an indoor electronic Neos game. We also have a HOT & COLD therapy system to give your sports team the edge in recovery.

Contact our dedicated groups coordinator, Sarah Moore at



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There is a collection of galleries, shops, cafes, and cinemas that also make up this Christchurch landmark, steeped in rich history and which is now a vibrant hub of activity for the modern student to explore. Christchurch Art Gallery is huge and can take hours to explore. Featuring countless Kiwi artists and international collections from classics to modern art, the gallery offers free guided tours and workshops. There are many educational centres to explore: Canterbury Museum first opened to the public in 1867 and gives visitors a taste of the region’s human and natural history. The Air Force Museum of New Zealand shares the country’s military aviation story at the place where it all began, with immersive exhibitions, a free, guided tours and Mosquito Mission flight simulator. The International Antarctic Centre explores the wildlife, ecosystems and the impact humans have had on the continent, with an Antarctic storm room, all-terrain vehicle tour and 4D theatre experience.

Image courtesy of Christchurch Top10 Holiday Park

Quake City shares with visitors Christchurch’s earthquake history, explores the science behind the natural phenomenon and honours emergency service crews and volunteers involved in saving lives during the quakes of the 2010s. Tūranga in Cathedral Square is the largest public library in the South Island. It includes a 200-seat community arena,

exhibitions and activity areas and links to the neighbouring performing arts precinct and convention centre. Parks and reserves are plentiful in ‘the garden city’. Ferrymead Heritage Park features an early 1900s township with restored cottages, tram rides and a weekly steam train attraction. Centrally located Hagley

Education in an ejector seat! Move stealthily through the jungles of the Pacific as you step back in time to World War Two. Make quick decisions as you take on a ration challenge. Get the adrenaline pumping as you ‘parachute’ out of a real (stationary) plane!

Riccarton Bush is ancient native forest reserve complete with manicured gardens and historic buildings alongside the Avon River – a river which offers an opportunity for a spot of punting.

Discover:J Theory of FlightJ AnzacJ Simple MachinesJ Rations ChallengeJ Airport AdventuresJ

Our free, curriculum-based programmes take education outside of the classroom to new heights! Covering a range of curriculum themes, there is always something new to learn at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

and more...J


“Thank you so much for showing my class and I the museum, even though it was my third year coming to the museum I never get tired of it. You always make your talks fun and interactive and for some reason I always find myself getting strapped in the ejector chair!” - Liv.


To discuss your specific learning outcomes, contact our Education Officer Chris Davey. Email: Phone: (03) 343-9517.

45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch

Watch our pre-visit video Term 1, 2021 |

Park isn’t just a cricket venue; if you make it to this sprawling park in springtime, you’ll be treated with some stunning blossom displays.



©Martin Valigursky -

Nearby, Ilam Homestead Gardens are a colourful, secluded gem in spring and summer. Christchurch Botanic Gardens are another reason the city gets its garden city moniker, offering something spectacular in every season. The natural beauty of the region can be explored on and off land, with scenic nature cruises, inland and coastal treks. Godley Head, for example, offers a stunning track with views of Pegasus Bay and the Kaikoura ranges, surf-spot Taylors Mistake and a collection of World War II gun emplacements. In the surrounding the Canterbury high country, alpine trails, native bush, and forest areas are awash with opportunities for mountain

biking, quad biking or horseback adventures in spring and summer. By winter, these areas become alpine adventure lands, ripe and ready for skiing and snowboarding students to carve up the slopes. Kaikoura is three hours’ drive away and is one of New Zealand’s leading eco-tourism destinations with more to offer than the whale watching for which it’s famed. Kayaking trips, albatross adventures, dolphin encounters and seal spotting are a few of the costal town’s options for student visitors. A picturesque 90 minutes' drive from Christchurch, Akaroa is a uniquely charming port town, oozing French influence. The surrounding Banks Peninsula is begging to be explored on foot,

International Antarctic Centre Academy Programmes

At the International Antarctic Centre, we’re helping to educate and inspire the next generation of explorers with a range of education programmes that have been carefully designed to suit the interests and learning needs of the modern student. Within a curriculum-based framework, we guide students through a range of interactive Antarctic experiences. Brave an Antarctic storm, go off-road in a Hägglund, befriend a husky, mingle with the penguins, experience Antarctica from all four dimensions. Students will leave with a head full of knowledge and inspiration to take action.


Antarctic Academy Programmes: •

Climate Change

Polar, Alpine, Space and Marine exploration

Extreme Environments

Mission to Space, Kids in Space and Antarctic Aerospace

Tertiary and Tourism programmes

Online curriculum in Antarctic Studies

with its vast network of walking trails and stunning views. Off-shore, this rich marine area offers the chance to swim with rare Hector dolphins.

local Iwi Ngai Tahu and includes interactive exhibits as well as tours of the limestone outcrops where many rock drawings have survived over 200 years.

From the Canterbury Plains to the Pacific Ocean and taking in the Southern Alps, the Great Alpine Highway is one of New Zealand’s must-do journeys. It takes in a Lord of the Rings ‘Middle Earth’ filming location and Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand’s highest altitude settlement, with options of horse trekking, canyon safari tours by jetboat and exploring the limestone boulders at Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area.

If it has been a while since your school ventured to this South Island city, it’s well worth considering Ōtautahi Christchurch for whatever learning outcomes you’re looking to achieve.

In South Canterbury, Peel Forest Scenic Reserve is a 90-minute drive from Christchurch and has a range of short and long walking tracks. Aotearoa’s most significant collection of ancient Māori rock art can be found at Timaru's Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre. The site is managed by

There’s a ton of accommodation options catering to school groups, ranging from backpacker style accommodation and hostels to historic buildings and holiday parks like Top 10 Christchurch. Managers may work with schools to organise a spread of rooms or accommodations that work for any combination group. If you’re staying for more than a week, you may want to consider multiple locations or make sure the rooms will be comfortable enough for an extended stay.

©David -

Antarctica is unlike any other place on Earth. Its awesome landscape, intriguing wildlife and environmental significance is still as interesting today as it was to the first great Antarctic explorers.

Image courtesy of the International Antarctic Centre

For more information visit or email or visit us at 38 Orchard Road, Christchurch Airport. EOTC

Term 1, 2021 |

Spaces that enhance

learning and creativity

The right flooring supports both the design and practical requirements of schools. From entranceways and classrooms to specialised spaces, Advance Flooring provide a complete flooring solution. When Aotea College undertook a major rebuild recently, colour was planned into the innovative architectural design from the outset: both on the exteriors of the new buildings and in the dynamic open-plan interiors. The 9000 sqm building contains four vertically integrated houses, specialist learning facilities, a library and administration offices. A central ‘learning street’ organises the floor plan, serving as the main access route around the school as well as a social, collaborative learning space.

City Square carpet tiles from Advance Flooring have played a key role in activating the colour story at Aotea College to provide an engaging and connected experience for students and staff alike. ‘The carpet colours gave us a lot of scope to create spatial identities,’ says Mike Evans of DesignGroup Stapleton Elliot Architects. ‘The base colours of blue and grey run through the whole school, but as you move between neighbourhoods,

house colours blend and overlap to form and blend spaces.’ City Square has an extensive, vibrant colour range, used creatively by the architects to symbolise the four houses. Korimako house is signalled by bright green, Kōtuku by silvery grey, Kererū by forest green, and Pūkeko by purple. Common spaces feature all colours in a randomised pattern, while each house neighbourhood is a vivid environment created by tall painted precast walls and geometric representations of

feathers in carpet patterns across the floor. One of the challenges for an open and transparent environment such as this – which can have 60 students in a classroom at any one time – is the acoustics. Carpet tiles were therefore key in managing noise, with City Square providing 27dB in sound reduction. ‘We also chose the carpet for its robustness and its acoustic qualities,’ says project architect Mike Evans. ‘The outcome is a general hum, a nice white noise, which the school is very happy with. Good acoustic control by the carpet and ceiling tiles meant that we could maintain large areas of glazing internally and externally for light and outlook.’ Advance Flooring can supply the complete flooring solution for schools, with products that are adaptable, durable, practical, attractive, and sustainable. These range from interior carpet tiles and indoor/outdoor matting for entranceways to multi-purpose gymnasium flooring and wet area flooring solutions. For more information contact: 09 634 4455 or visit

Inspiring spaces to learn, play and grow. We offer complete flooring solutions for schools: • • • •

Entry carpet Carpet tiles Vinyl and rubber flooring Multi-purpose sports flooring

For more information please call +64 9 634 4455 or visit our website:

Term 1, 2021 |



By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Absorbing information is easier if learners are absorbing sufficient water. It’s a fact. So it makes sense that the onus on providing suitable hydration is now placed more heavily than ever on our schools. And a weak trickle from a tarnished old tap no longer cuts it. Not only does water make up two thirds of our body weight, it helps us stay alert and focussed, maintain a healthy temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells, flushes bacteria from the bladder, aides digestion, prevents constipation, normalises blood pressure, stabilises the heartbeat, cushions joints, protects our organs and tissues and helps us maintain electrolyte (sodium) balance. As a rough guide, NZ Nutrition Foundation suggests (as do most health information sources) adults should aim for 1.5 – 2L (6-8 cups) of fluid each day and children 1 – 1.5L (4-6 cups). The easiest way to ensure this is


happening at school is to make water accessible – and fun – throughout the school day.

What are the different water options for schools? Industry specialist, David Merrick of Merquip, shared his viewpoint with us, explaining that he has seen the demand for hydration options increase in schools over recent years. “I’ve seen a marked increase in schools investing in better quality drinking water equipment for students, including some models that were previously only seen in staffrooms. We’re seeing more schools install proper filtered systems for students, often including boiling and chilled options, as well as bottle fillers to encourage students to refill their own bottles.” David said that 2020 changed the way people think in regards shared-use facilities. “Traditional fountains/bubblers are simple systems that have served people well for many years, then COVID came along and made everyone more aware of the risks of multiple users drinking from the same mouthpiece.

“However, some manufacturers mitigate these risks by offering antimicrobial protection on the bubbler mouthpiece to protect against microorganisms. “Contactless watercooler options are becoming more popular these days. They typically use a simple infra-red sensor to activate the flow and have the obvious benefits that being touch-free brings.” When it comes to turning on a tap, many schools are introducing filtered water systems for their drinking water, he noted. “The best way to ensure a constant flow of purified water is to install a reputable brand of filtered water equipment, with a filtration system that has been certified by a recognised professional body. Global filter manufacturers are constantly at the forefront of water filtration technology. It is important to ensure the filters are replaced at the recommended intervals. Some brands will notify you when the filters require replacement. “I recommend a system that first removes sediment, then removes taste, odours, and some


chemicals such as chlorine by utilising carbon technology. This is proven to work well for most situations. For areas facing particular challenges with their water quality, there are other options available should they be required.” Mountain Fresh’s Melinda Mayor-Booth, shared her take on providing easy-to-access hydration with us too. “I’ve noticed a steady increase in the number of schools investing in their students’ (and teachers’) health and wellness. I feel that now more than ever, schools in New Zealand understand the many benefits of drinking water and the impact that hydration has on learning.

Melinda Mayor-Booth

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©malyutinaanna -

Education hydration

Make 2021 the year you invest in great tasting, safe drinking water. Children and adults alike perform their best mentally and physically when they are adequately hydrated. Mountain Fresh drinking fountains supply pure, greattasting water on-tap. We have a wide range of customisable and accessible MV\U[HPUZ ^OPJO PUJS\KLZ [OL ILSV^ TVKLSZ MYVT V\Y HɈVYKHISL YHUNL




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Images courtesy of Merquip

“The feedback we have had from schools is that having a water filter installed in the drinking fountains truly motivates children to drink more water because they enjoy the taste.”

What are the most popular options? “Teachers often comment that it’s extremely handy having bottle fillers on fountains as it allows students to refill their bottles and get back to class quicker. “Drinking fountains are an asset that will last for a decade before

needing any refurbishment. Often overlooked, some schools have fountains which are ‘originals’ and are 50+ years old. The benefit to replacing older drinking fountains is better flow from bubbler taps, filters that make the water safe to drink and better tasting for students.”

challenged us to look to new ways to consume water, particularly contactless methods. These help to reduce the spread of germs and are often accessible to more people. Sensor-activated fountains and custom-built fountains to suit individual requirements.”

How has 2020 shaped the water provision business?

How can schools encourage students to refill reusable bottles and consume water sustainably?

She said: “Like many small businesses in New Zealand, a quickly changing environment, including a pandemic, has

“This is a question we’re often asked. I recommend that

teachers encourage students to have drink bottles on their desks because having a drink bottle in eyesight is a great cue to drink water. “Opening a dialogue about hydration, wellbeing, and reducing plastic waste is also beneficial. Educating children on the impact of hydration, and conversely, dehydration can instil a sense of good doing and wellbeing. Likewise, education surrounding landfill can lead to children feeling proud to refill their reusable bottle and doing their part for the environment.”

Image courtesy of MountainFresh



Term 1, 2021 |

Two great thirst quenching solutions,


school of thought.

For teachers and students with more than a thirst for knowledge the answers are quite academic; two great thirst quenching drinking systems from our extensive range.

Boiling and chilled drinking water on tap Highest capacity units available - easily cope with school staff breaks

No noise or unsightly cupboard vents - easy to retrofit Most compact & energy-efficient units in their class Over sink, or separate drained drip tray Only brand to achieve Gold Global Greentag certification

Bottle fillers and drinking fountains Fully sensor-operated touch-free models available Combination models available Green ticker counts bottles saved from going to landfill Vandal resistant options Indoor/outdoor options

And we’re not just giving ourselves top marks, here’s what some enlightened clients think! Christine Mackie, Palmerston North Boys’ High School

...with close to 200 students in our hostel, we never run out of hot or cold water during meal times.

Todd Hoar, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School

This is great for the environment as well as being safe due to the auto sensor, meaning no buttons are needed to be touched when refilling your own bottle.

Check out full testimonials from some very satisfied clients on our web site.

Proudly supplying NZ schools with drinking water systems | 09 636 0 636 | FOOD & BEVERAGE

Tucking into healthy food budget boost By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Bags of lollies and fizzy drinks were once the staple of the school tuck shop and were often all the sustenance to be provided by a school. Not anymore. Gone are the days of a school’s snack stop being simply a place for sweets and treats. The tuck shop has evolved, and school lunches have too. A school canteen or tuck shop plays a crucial role. Not only must it provide healthy food and drink options to students; it must reinforce the nutritional messages being taught at the school and show healthy food can be delicious and exciting. The recipe for success for schools with their own internal canteens is in the planning, according to the Heart Foundation NZ. With most canteens working to very tight budgets, a planned menu schedule allows food to be ordered early and efficiently, while creating the fun factor can increase uptake of items. Naming grapes 'alien heads',


calling smoothies 'monster juice', turning broccoli into 'baby trees' or serving banana toasties as 'monkey bread' are all ideas for creating interest in healthy options among primary school pupils. Online lunch ordering services have spiked in recent years, removing the need for schools and parents to navigate lunch lists, paper envelopes and counting correct change. A raft of school lunch providers deliver meals to schools across New Zealand, with ordering done by parents and payments made online or through smartphone apps. The importance of accessible and nutritious food in schools was highlighted last year, with Budget 2020 serving up $221 million to rapidly scale up the free lunch programme from 8000 children to 200,000 children at low decile schools. In May, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a full stomach made all the difference to a child's learning. "Providing a free and healthy lunch at school is one way to help make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child and to make that difference immediately," she said.

What schools need to make their tuck shop tantalising… Starting out serving school lunches from a backyard garage, Kiwi company Libelle Group now supplies food to 78 free lunch schools, as well as servicing over 80 tuck shops across the country. “Schools need to find that balance between nutritionally beneficial food items, such as vegetables and fruits, as well as considering food that their students will purchase,” says Libelle representative, Johannes Tietze. “Research different foods; learn their nutritional benefits and get creating! Find your market. “School tuckshops should no longer be serving unhealthy food items. With New Zealand now keeping a closer eye on school nutritional guidelines, as well as new research into food insecurity and equality, schools need to start


taking steps toward becoming healthier, and the tuckshop is a clear place to start.” Libelle’s Eat Smart menu was developed in 2018 with input from the Heart Foundation and Diabetes Projects Trust, says Tietze. More recently, its ‘lunch in schools’ programme, Lunch By Libelle was created with lasagne proving a particular hit in the winter months, and crispy chicken salad in the summer. Tietze says that “eating the correct school lunch is absolutely critical to student health and wellbeing, especially for low-income students”. “It ensures that students have the correct nutrition that they need to make it through their busy schedules and to learn.” But even some healthy items are off limits, for varying reasons: “Our customers tend to avoid fish items including tuna and it’s not uncommon for cherry tomatoes to turn into projectiles!”

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Healthier food options for New Zealand’s hungry learners. • • • •

Top quality, freshly made school lunches. On-site or delivery service, tailored to suit you. Professionally audited food control plan. Trained, qualified & 100% local staff.

It’s simple: Let our professionals feed hungry students, while your professionals feed hungry minds.

Term 1, 2021 |


BE PART OF THE JOURNEY. LET’S TALK. +64 21 709 138 |


By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Sport: it is big business for schools. The standard of sport played is on a continually upward trajectory. Providing the most up-to-date, professional standard facilities can help schools attract the strongest sporting students and produce winning results.

Hit the ground

running, jumping, leapfrogging

With the sports hall, or gymnasium, sitting at the centre of the school sports hub, how do schools make sure they get it right when choosing that all-important surface? Every school has significant decisions to make when installing, refurbishing, or replacing their gym flooring. These decisions can have huge bearing on which sports can be offered at the school, the level sports can be played at, as well as other purposes the hall can be used for.

First, a school must consider who will be using the floor and for what. Age and stage will dictate need: university students will have different requirements from primary school pupils, for example. Like everything within the school sphere, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. The school’s project leader and PE programme leader must work to create the best outcomes for the school and its community. When contemplating any significant outlay, schools are wise to consult experts from



the off. Flooring companies can outline the different types of surfaces available for installation for your sports hall and illustrate options to have any current flooring refurbished for better use.

Wood versus synthetic Traditional timber flooring can vary hugely in its quality, cost, and purpose. Wooden sports flooring typically consists of a solid timber surface with shock absorbing pads underneath.

As hardwood surfaces are more rigid than many other materials, impact is dispersed over a wide area. With area-elastic flooring fitted, the wooden surface returns energy back up to the user who is walking or running on the surface, cushioning the impact over a large area. Pitfalls of area-elastic floors can be uneven ‘spring’ performance over the surface, due to the necessarily spaced placement of shock pads and other underfloor supports. A quality area elastic flooring system will provide enhanced performance and greater shock absorption for high intensity sports such as basketball and netball. Sports flooring materials such as vinyl, rubber, polyurethane, and linoleum represent what are known as pointelastic flooring systems.

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These gym floor options have uniform performance across the whole playing surface. This means that every point on the floor will have almost identical shock absorption and rebound. A point-elastic floor interacts with each user on an individual basis and activity can be localised and will not impact on the surface elsewhere in the hall. These materials can come in a range of thicknesses to suit different requirements, such as a thicker weight vinyl cushioning for older, heavier students, thinner for younger, lighter children. Benefits of cushioned vinyl are that is it a resilient surface that helps reduce injury from falls. It also provides comfort for running and is effective at noise reduction. It is generally one of the lower cost surfaces to purchase and install. There are also options for a combination of both point elastic flooring and an area elastic system, which can create the best of both worlds for multi-use facilities.

Other considerations Schools must also consider how easily the floor can be marked out with lines needed for sports courts, etc. Which sports do you want to be permanently marked out on the surface? How easy will the surface be to clean? Another thoughtful consideration to bear in mind here, as with all school projects, is environmental impact. Is the

flooring sustainably sourced? Have recycled material been used in its production? Are heavy chemicals used? Can the flooring be recycled eventually? In the cost versus quality debate, remember, community groups and sports clubs that hire the facilities after school hours can provide income that can be used to offset the cost of installing a high-quality floor.

And some projects which may seem, to the untrained eye, in need of a wholescale overhaul, involving costly removal of old flooring may in fact be suited to a new surface being overlaid on the existing floor. Refurbishment of old flooring can sometimes be the smarter option, when some, for example, point elastic floors can be laid directly over existing wood or concrete.

Selwyn Sports Centre

- this facility will floor you! If you are thinking of building a new sports’ centre it is important that you work with companies that have your best interests in mind and are experts in their field. The most important aspect of a sports/recreation facility is the floor. Is it a high-performance sport floor, a recreation floor, a multi-use centre with meetings and lots of foot traffic? There are numerous types of floors within each of those subcategories and for example there is a whole range of timber floor options. In some cases, getting the cheapest timber floor to tick the box, ‘we have a timber floor’ Term 1, 2021 |

can be the wrong decision for your facility. Have you allowed for a cleaning and maintenance schedule, specialist cleaning equipment and budget? A poorly maintained floor no matter how expensive it is – can be dangerous. The building itself is equally important. No point having a timber sports floor if you have condensation forming because you don’t have good insulation or ventilation. It is critical to get the fundamentals right before you spend all your money on how the building looks! A lot of thought and planning has been collaboratively done with the Selwyn District Council to to ensure a great outcome.

(Photo indicative of venue floor only)

The Challenge:

The Solution:

The client wanted covered recreation courts that could be driven on and host a farmers’ market. They also wanted a sprung timber sport floor and an indoor jogging track!

In four of the courts, A PU Herculan (RH) floor was chosen, as it’s specially designed for roller hockey and tough enough for vehicles while still cushioned for sports protection. In the other four courts, Action Pro-Air Hardwood Maple sprung timber was selected and PU Herculan MF Blue was chosen for the mezzanine-level jogging track. The state-of-theart facility will open this year.

Apollo Projects and Action Floors understand that floors are the most important element in a sports/recreation centre. While cosmetic finishes are often where the money is spent, getting the right flooring solution is essential.

For more information please contact: Action Floors, Chris Dennett, on 021962620 or visit or Apollo Projects, Iain Ansell on 021475655 or visit




for Sports Performance and Safety Tarkett’s Omnisports vinyl range is engineered for sports performance and safety. As a FIBA Research partner, Tarkett have developed the Omnisports range with a focus on player safety so you can feel secure in selecting a quality product with Tarkett Omnisports. Specifically designed for demanding school environments, the Omnisports range offers safety and versatility in multi-purpose spaces. When selecting a floor for a school sports hall it’s important to consider the primary function

of sports performance and safety first. Whether a sports floor caters to professional athletes or young kids, the same principles apply where the surface needs to be engineered to the correct level of friction and shock absorption for sports performance. When running, turning and stopping on a sports surface the correct level of friction can help to limit slips where there’s too low friction, or trips where there’s too much. Shock absorption is exactly what it sounds like, allowing individuals to safely move around on a surface whilst reducing impact strain on their body.

Both of these performance aspects are critical to reducing the number of injuries sustained on a sports floor. When it comes to selecting a sports floor for a school there are a number of other factors that come into play. Many school sports halls double as space for exams, assemblies, parent and teacher nights and election booths. This means that the floor needs to be able to meet the performance and durability needs of different sports as well as withstand the wear and tear of other non-sports activities. This is where multi-purpose sports floors such as Tarkett’s

Omnisports vinyl range come into their own. With exceptional resistance to indentation, stains and scratches, the Omnisports range is designed exactly for this use with sports performance and multi purpose durability at the core of the product. Tarkett is a world leader in performance sports surfacing, offering a comprehensive portfolio of sports flooring solutions and having already supplied 700 million m2 of sporting floor products to more than 20,000 sites globally. Tarkett’s Omniports vinyl is proudly distributed by Jacobsen.

Let’s Play OMNISPORTS VINYL FLOORING Omnisports is ideal for multi-sports and multi-use spaces. With added cushion for player safety, it is also suitable for accommodating non-sporting events. – FIBA certified – Market leading resistance to indentation – 0.7mm wear layer – Low VOC

Talk to one of our experts, or visit our website: 0800 800 460 |



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The quiet achievers using the flooring surface, we can recommend a solution that will meet their usage needs and their budget. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to make a choice you’ll regret.”

For over 25-years’ New Zealand sports and recreation flooring specialist, Hardwood Technology, has been quietly going about building themselves an enviable reputation for being one of the most experienced and reliable sports flooring companies in Australasia. Hardwood Technology have never been a company to make a big noise about their achievements and that’s just how Managing Director Mark Slane likes it. “From the start, we’ve always been focused on delivering a great result for our customers” says Mark, “so we’ve focused our business on three simple things: providing great advice up front, quality products combined with excellent installation and finally, exceptional ongoing

maintenance support to help our flooring last as long as possible.” It’s an approach that seems to be working for the business. In the last 25 years, Hardwood Technology has installed over 500 flooring surfaces, ranging from school gymnasiums and outdoor sports courts, to flooring installations for professional sports bodies across Australasia. Over the years, the range

of surfaces available have expanded significantly and with it, there’s more room for schools to make poor choices. “One of the best things we do for our customers” says Mark, “is to help them navigate the various flooring options available these days. Once we understand how they plan on

Of course, beyond choosing the right surface, it’s important to find a supplier who is equally adept at installation and ongoing maintenance. “In our experience, schools tend to focus on installation but are less focused on maintenance. It’s understandable, because logistically, the install is usually part of a larger project so it’s important we turn up on time and fit in with other suppliers. But, the maintenance side is key to getting a floor that will last a significantly longer time. And you’d be amazed at how we can bring an older floor back to life.”

For more about Hardwood Technology, visit

New Zealand’s most experienced gym & sports flooring installers. OUTDOOR COURTS


With over 25-years’ experience installing and maintaining sport and gym floors for schools across New Zealand, Hardwood Technology have seen and done it all. From timber to synthetic, elite to budget, talk to us about your flooring needs today. Term 1, 2021 |



Phone: (09) 274 9712 Email: Visit:


Life is a playground: having fun with upgrades By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

does not, schools must have this in writing from the local council.

For many children, life’s a playground.

Now here is the fun part: choosing playground equipment. The choices are no longer limited to a simple swing, slide, or a set of monkey bars. The range of play equipment now available is enormous.

And so it follows that for many children, playgrounds are life. Having a safe place to play is every child’s right. And schools are tasked with making this happen. When it comes to designing, building, and upgrading playgrounds and providing playground equipment, a school board needs to lead the process. Obtaining building consent for a new playground is the first step. The school should employ/ designate a playground project manager, who should contact the local council to find out whether the planned playground requires building consent. If it

Schools must assess the ages and stages of their pupils, considering how challenging they wish the playground to be, the types of social interactions they wish to encourage, fitness, motor skills and hand eye coordination development and how much fun they feel each piece of equipment would provide. High risk options like trampolines, BMX and skateboard tracks may suit some children and schools who


Child's play for Matipo school Matipo School’s playground needs were met – and that some wishes were granted too!

When Matipo School community decided it was time for a playground upgrade, they handed their vision over to Park Supplies & Playgrounds. First up, decisions had to made by the Te Atatu Peninsula-based school. Jenny Mullins from Park Supplies & Playgrounds told me that “the most important factors for a school to consider when deciding on a new playground, are which challenges the children want or need as well as the area constraints and budget”. So how did Park Supplies & Playgrounds go about making this a positive process for the Auckland primary school? “One of the ways was by reacting really quickly to what the school wanted with quotes so that they could apply to the Waitakere Trust’s Million Dollar Mission fund,” says Jenny. The school originally applied for a grant to get funding for


Image courtesy of Park Supplies & Playgrounds

shade sails to cover their existing playground structure. On consultation with Park Supplies & Playground, however, it became clear that there was a real need for an additional playground as senior students did not have an ageappropriate playground structure as the existing playgrounds were intended for junior students. Project manager at the school, Hollie Colgate and deputy principal Natalie Kennerley, consulted with pupils via the school’s Tamariki Council. Hollie said: “What I thought was fun and age appropriate, I found, wasn’t in

line with what the kids themselves wanted. They definitely wanted a slide and were very keen on having forts incorporated into the design – places where they could create bases and have hidey-holes.” Sales manager Jenny Mullins took the school’s vision of a playground focused on balance, strength, mobility, fun, and adventure, knowing a tight turnaround was required. Following a site visit, she turned around a proposal within hours to make sure they met the funding deadline. Once funding was in place, the team got to work making sure


One of the highlights was the arrival of the Orex. This giant ‘climb and spin’ tower consisting of reinforced rope structure atop a spinning, circular base, took the new playground to the next level. Jenny confesses it would have been her childhood pick of the playground pieces, as would another ‘next level’ feature – ‘the really high decks on the mega-structure’. The final result is a modern, senior playground that encompasses the needs, wants and dreams of both staff and students. A delighted Hollie told us: “Jenny has been superb – she showed such great imagination and vision. The guys doing the installation on site were so much fun too! We wanted a playground that was challenging, that the kids could learn from, as well as have fun. And, of course, we adults had to try it out for ourselves first!” Term 1, 2021 |

wish to encourage risk-taking. Providing cubby holes and small, enclosed areas will inspire children to create dens, where they can hide and talk, eat, or share toys. Adrenaline-fuelling equipment such as tall, fast slides, spinning climbing frames or flying foxes require courage and can create a sense of pride, plus they bring a large dose of fun to the school playground. At the forefront of any decision though, must be your school’s ability to provide a safe environment for students. Playground planning must consider accessibility factors and all equipment must meet New Zealand Standard 5828:2015: Playground Equipment and Surfacing. A handbook, which gives advice on standard compliance, is available from the Standards NZ website: NZS HB 5828.1 General Playground Equipment and Surfacing Handbook. Board funding needs to be used to pay for the costs of building a school playground and, for many schools, updating this vital piece of infrastructure can often

More and more schools are choosing to fundraise for a new playground because it can provide an attractive tangible outcome... fall to the bottom of the funding pile, being considered a ‘nice to have’ rather than a necessity.

to the full for as many years as possible. All equipment should be provided with a warranty.

More and more schools are choosing to fundraise for a new playground because it can provide an attractive tangible outcome for a community fundraising drive. It also provides an opportunity for sponsorship from local businesses or philanthropists, who can be acknowledged in a way that is built into the playground design with plaques, signage, or engraved tiles.

Schools should check what this covers and for how long. Playing surfaces, such as cushioned rubber tiles or matting, should also come with a warranty.

Playground maintenance is vital to ensure safety standards are upheld and the facility is enjoyed

Playgrounds that inspire through innovative design

Wood chips, sand, and other natural materials can be considered for the playground’s base, each having its pros and cons. Natural materials are often sympathetic to the surrounding environment and can create a pleasing, ‘green’ aesthetic. But they can be easily dislodged by movement and play, can be messy, and can harbour

dirt. Synthetic surfaces can be affected by high temperatures but are easier to keep clear of hazards and to clean. As the playground’s users, children will be full of ideas and inspiration and schools would be wise to involve their students in their playground project. What adults feel would be fun, may not translate to what a child sees as exciting. And something a five-year-old finds challenging will likely bore a ten-year-old. There are many educational opportunities to be gleaned from pupil engagement in any school project and the playground is surely the most fun project there is! Get young imaginations flowing, set some project boundaries, outline some skills that the playground should help develop and see what they come up with. Yes, it is always advisable to employ playground professionals to design and install your playground, but you may just find some of the best ideas come from life’s indisputable playground experts – the children themselves.

Are you safety confident about your playground?

Park Supplies & Playgrounds has been in the playground business in New Zealand for over 30 years. Their business is the designing and building of playgrounds and playground equipment. This focus and dedication, along with decades of experience, enables Park Supplies & Playgrounds to create a play experience that inspires learning, physical development, imagination, adventure and joy. Park Supplies & Playgrounds make fully customised playgrounds, supplying an extensive range of top quality, 100% New Zealand made playground equipment to schools throughout New Zealand. The company is known for their professionalism, quality, innovation, robustness and durability. The team at Park Supplies & Playgrounds guide schools through the design and development process to arrive at Term 1, 2021 |

the best solution possible. Park Supplies & Playgrounds provide complete project management of your playground development ensuring construction is stress free and enjoyable.


Park Supplies & Playgrounds are also one of the largest stock suppliers of replacement parts for all playgrounds in New Zealand. The team offers parts, repair, maintenance and after install care service on their projects. As part of their customer service commitment, a comprehensive warranty on standard systems and products is offered.

and it’s the ONLY 5 star rated

name you want to hear when it comes to safety in playground surfacing! It is a registered trademark name playground surfacing in NZ. We are so devoted to ensuring supreme quality and safety that we have spent 15 years perfecting our production techniques so that it removes all traces of nails, staples and hazardous metals/materials, and has no “sharp edges”. It meets NZ and Australia playground safety PROPERTY

standards, and consistently performs exceptionally well on international impact absorbency tests. We even implement a three-year testing regime to ensure that we are holding ourselves to those impact efficiency standards. We know how important it is to lower risk factors when it comes to your students. Let us help you worry a little less… make the safety confident choice - opt to install Cushionfall Playground Surfacing in your play zones today! For more information, contact


Your school playground safety compliance & risk assessment requirements By Adam Stride

School playgrounds provide physical challenges and opportunities for children to develop motor, cognitive, perceptual, and social skills. Unfortunately, playgrounds are often the sites of avoidable injuries that may result in serious harm. Many of these unintentional injuries can be easily avoided by certified safety inspection and meeting basic

Certified Safety & Compliance Inspection Report

compliance obligations. In the event of a serious playground injury, baseline compliance with the NZS5828:2015 is the first evidence requirement. Owners and operators of play areas have a duty of care and bear the burden of proof in the event of a life changing injury or death. The Board of Trustees are legally responsible and failure to identify risk and comply with the NZS5828 Standard may be cause for negligence, blame, and ultimately fault. The purpose of the NZS5828

Our certified playground inspection provides your School assurance that your play area is safe and meets the requirements of NZS5828:2015 standard. Playsafe reports are unique, both comprehensive and practical. They are a solution focused working document that often becomes an action plan for the BOT to plan repairs, upgrades or long-term replacement. Playsafe inspectors are independent certified, impartial, confidential and vetted.

Playground Safety Standard aims to protect children from serious harm, permanent disability, or death. The technical provisions within the standard are based on decades of injury data and accident patterns that have been observed in the child population around the world. Certified playground inspection is essential to user safety and compliance and regular maintenance in accordance with the standard will greatly help minimise the risk. A key opportunity for playground injury prevention is comprehensive inspection by a certified expert, followed by modification or correction of hazards and ongoing maintenance of playground equipment and ensuring surfacing impact performance.

Comprehensive L3 inspections should include all hazards such as structural issues, body entrapment, worn or broken components, falling spaces and other safety hazards or non-compliances are assessed to NZS5828:2015 standards and then formally identified in a comprehensive working document often becoming an action plan for the Board of Trustees to action repairs, maintenance, upgrades or long-term replacement.

Whether your play area is old or new, it is important to engage a certified L3 Inspector for assessing safety and compliance which will ensure that any hazards and noncompliances are identified well before failure and injury. There are two types of inspection for school playgrounds as recommended by the NZS5828 Playground Equipment & Surfacing Standard.


establish the overall level of safety of equipment, foundations, and surfaces. This inspection will also consider decay, corrosion, wear and tear, compliance, and repairs.


New playgrounds: Upon completion of a new playground construction, an independent postinstallation inspection should be carried out by a certified L3 Inspector to audit compliance with the relevant parts of NZS5828:2015.


Existing playgrounds: Annual main inspections should be carried out by a certified L3 Inspector to


Adam Stride is the Director and Principal Inspector (L3) Outdoor and Indoor Play Inspector at Playsafe Ltd. Playsafe is a professional independent inspection and compliance consulting entity that provides services relating to play safety, compliance, surface testing, training, and playground inspection in New Zealand. Playsafe is Internationally accredited to the Register of Playground Inspectors International (RPII), Playsafe inspects to the NZS5828:2015/EN:1176 Playground Safety Standards.

Term 1, 2021 |

Year-round field fit-outs Image courtesy of NZ Landscape Solutions

By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Soggy, boggy sports fields are useless, unless your school happens to run a mud wrestling programme. Having playable pitches is a must for schools that pride themselves on their sports programmes and their ability to give students year-round access to its fields. Making sure football and rugby games can go ahead takes more than just a favourable weather forecast and a little luck. It can require a huge amount of effort to ensure that games can go ahead and often that level of work cannot be achieved in-house. That is where the experts come in. In the trenches: We approached a natural drainage specialist in the sector for their insights… Jordan Greville is regional manager at NZ Landscape Solutions. Here, he offers some advice on how to make the most of your school fields all year round, starting with some ground maintenance tips: “A tailored renovation programme including at a minimum, fertilising, aeration and weed/insect/disease control will ensure your field’s longevity and will avoid costly capital upgrades associated to an insufficient renovation programme. “Pre-season irrigation audits should be carried out in order to maintain a fully functional system. Term 1, 2021 |

mind managing the asset. Daily or weekly checks from a qualified professional will investigate a range of factors that ensure a safe, sustainable asset including moisture levels, surface integrity and soil profile analysis.

“It is important to deliver the correct volume and even coverage of water and have a regular mowing schedule in place, at the correct mowing heights for the type of sport/ activity to be played. Turf repairs, such as repairing holes and divots on the playing surface via turfing or sand spreading applications, will ensure the surface is even and conducive for safe sport.”

“Partnering with an expert helps schools understand the number of hours each field can successfully handle. The experts will take into consideration

To avoid wet weather taking its toll on playing surfaces and causing game cancellations, careful attention must be paid to drainage, says Greville. “Drainage is key for a playing surface to handle sport all year round. Without working drainage, the result can be field closures and reputational damage. Functioning drainage will also prevent fields from drying out too fast, becoming too hard and becoming unsafe for play. “A good sports turf asset should be available for play all year-round. Adequate drainage increases the number of playing hours the field can provide without putting the grass under significant stress and will enable this no matter the season, ensuring our children have the ability to play, train and exercise for good physical and mental health.” Greville says that having someone managing playing hours and training locations on the field are further ways of ensuring the grounds have the best chance of success. “These are simple to overlook when you don’t have someone with this in PROPERTY

the grass type and density, the sports played and the overall condition on field.” Risks can be avoided when schools engage with a professional company with qualified people, robust health and safety systems and the correct range of machinery to maintain school grounds, turf, and gardens.

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Pinehurst School:

Activating space, advancing play By Stephen Dalley, CREO

Primary schoolers have a lot of energy to burn at break time, with a growing sense of independence, burgeoning confidence in their physicality and a general mindset of ‘don’t fence me in’. Schools want to encourage such play activity. However, come winter, their ability to offer adequate spaces can be severely compromised as the mud arrives and the fences go up. This was particularly true at Pinehurst, the Auckland private school struggling with the grass surfacing getting muddy and consequently having to fence off areas of their playground during winter. The problem was compounded by the existing layout of the school, where they felt a large area of the play space was underutilised and ill-suited to the needs of the Year 1 to Year 4 students.

Creo was brought in to find a solution for the busy school. Besides the obvious changes, the brief called for the retaining of existing trees and an overall natural feel to the landscape. Pinehurst also needed a clean and functional all-weather space that could be used throughout the year. Understanding how the space worked as both individual parts and a greater whole was vital. Creo’s first focus was on designating different zones that would work for different play areas. This approach worked well when establishing how the different spaces would affect the moods of the students. Away from the main area the calmer and more relaxed spaces were situated in a somewhat hidden opening within the trees. These peaceful spaces were ideal for different seating options, the decking, rubber


surfacing and balance steppers making them the perfect place for eating, reading or, in the summer, a relaxed outdoor classroom setting. The more robust and adventurous play zones closer to the playground equipment were designed for high-intensity play. Here, turf and rubber surfacing provided the hardwearing, take-the-knocks underfoot support for all the leaps and bounds of the children. Stoking this sense of action and adventure, there are now additional circle ground paintings and a maze – the colour and patterns creating the potential for both playful tag and informal play. Connecting these zones are various play elements designed to direct traffic and help with the overall flow to and through the playground. Looping tracks wind throughout the space to ensure small feet follow convenient paths and, in doing so, reduce wear and tear on any natural lawn areas. Natural logs and steppers lead children through the spaces and other structures, tepees and tables, help stoke the sense of camping in place. A music wall has also been added for students to explore rhythm and melody. Sian Coxon, the principal of Pinehurst School, was thrilled with the number of positive outcomes from the playground development, particularly as the school is “now using it for learning as well as play”. She said: “We are absolutely loving the space you have created for us… It has been really interesting to see the effect on our children and our staff actually like doing duty there now!” The finished outdoor school environment is a durable, adaptable, and wholly functional space that is ideal for year-round use. Pinehurst School has torn down the fences and invested in a landscape to help shape the bodies and minds of its students for generations to come. PROPERTY

All images courtesy of Creo

Term 1, 2021 |

King’s School:

By Kathleen Kinney, Boffa Miskell

King’s School in Remuera is located on a spacious, sloping site with beautiful mature trees and vibrant mix of historic and contemporary buildings. As well as the manicured gardens and sports fields, the 700 boys (aged between 4 and 13) who attend the school are fortunate to have a wonderful, steeply sloped woodland with huge mature trees; a perfect canvas for imaginative and creative play. After its existing adventure playground was found not to meet health and safety standards, playspace experts and landscape architects from Boffa Miskell were brought on board to design a sustainable adventure trail for students.


A walk on the wild side decision. Their ability to listen and add from their experience has created an environment where our boys can develop their resilience and enjoy the educational benefits of play.”

Image courtesy of Boffa Miskell

According to project lead Aynsley Cisaria: “This playspace was designed on the premise that young boys thrive when they experience a sense of adventure, excitement and perceived risk in their play.

fundraising for the project; and the school was also mindful of the benefits – both financial and environmental – gained by using existing natural resources and recycling materials from their previous playground.

“We wanted to build and expand on the imaginative play already happening on the ground and invite the boys ‘up into the trees’ with a challenging aerial rope course, tree hut tower and slide.”

The nature play adventure trail is almost entirely constructed from an oak tree that had died and was felled, large Pohutukawa branches that had to be removed, and recycled poles cut down into timber steppers.

The King’s School Parents and Friends Association undertook nearly two years of

Where required, rubber padding underfoot is Nike Grind Rubber;

made up of 70 percent recycled Nike shoes (there are about 20 shoes per square metre). The ‘wildplay’ space was completed in time for the 2021 school year, and Aynsley told us she is looking forward to seeing the reaction of those who helped bring the project to fruition, and of the boys themselves. “It’s about encouraging young men to be brave, take risks in their play choices and experience the thrill of achievement as they discover new skills… and have a whole lot of fun in the process!”

Tasked with meeting both health and safety standards and student expectations of fun, the design consultancy team set about reinvigorating the school’s outdoor learning area underneath existing trees by re-imagining it as a ‘wildplay’ experience. Large-scale play elements were connected via an adventure trail with timber steppers, stilts, natural logs, and balance elements. The trail also leads to a large spider web net, which can serve as a hangout spot to take a break from the activity throughout the playspace, or to watch the action on the tennis courts below. Headmaster Tony Sissons said: “The school is delighted with the end-product. Working with Boffa Miskell throughout the project from start to finish proved to be the right Term 1, 2021 |

The ‘wildplay’ concept is based around imaginative play, connection with nature and helping students progress physically. It is challenging in places, and students may not ‘succeed’ when they first attempt a rope course or climbing element. But the ‘try again and succeed’ opportunities that are central to the design will build resilience and reward perseverance.



Creating quality, engaging outdoor spaces

Where does a school begin on its journey towards creating a more positive educational landscape?

By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

“Landscape architecture is the sensitive and creative design of the land and spaces we inhabit.” It could be said that the ‘sensitive’ and ‘creative’ adjectives in this sentence definition of landscape architecture, provided by the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Tuia Pito Ora, are subjective. But in no branch of this field are these adjectives relating to landscape design more relevant than in educational landscaping. Every school has its diverse spectrum of students, with a range of interests, capabilities and needs as wide as their endof-term smiles. A responsible, modern school should, therefore, provide environments that cater to this chasmic range of interests, capabilities and needs too. Gone are the days of the four walls of a classroom, a corridor, and a door to a rectangular, concrete yard. A school should offer abundant opportunities for

Image courtesy of Creo

students to explore and engage with a range of manmade and living things. From pathways to paving, gardens to gating, light to shade and all manner of materials, finding a fit for a range of experiences within a school can be a daunting undertaking. Landscape architects can take on many roles, according to the NZIA, ‘from designer to land-use mediator to conservationist’. These practitioners are the key, therefore, to enabling the process

of transforming our school environments into challenging, stimulating, and nurturing spaces that work on many levels with the schoolgrounds, and beyond. We asked some experts in the industry to share their experience and opinions this issue to shed further light…

How do we strike the right balance and achieve the best outcomes from our outdoor school spaces? Senior landscape architect at CREO, Larissa Rose believes passionately in the transformational effects that a range of sensitively designed spaces can have on a school, its pupils, and the wider community. She says: “Multiple articles and research papers are telling us how crucial play, both prescribed and imaginary, outdoor learning opportunities and natural experiences are to the health, happiness and development of children.

Image courtesy of Boffa Miskell


“I’ve seen first-hand the positive effects of noise reduction, anger and aggression reduction and the more focused behaviour that comes when a child’s environments are supporting them in a range of play types and opportunities.” PROPERTY

Registered NZIA member Rose works with an Auckland-based landscape design company and says schools needs to think big before they begin. “The first thing to consider before selecting a project is actually the wider school environment: Is there a masterplan or planning process to ensure that the area in question is in the right location long-term for this type of development? Is the space going to adversely affect the use of the school? And is this development helping to create a wider range of opportunities for teaching spaces, learning, sport or play? “Once you know the project and location are right, the questions to think about are: How do you get into the area? Once there, how do you flow through the space so that the integrity of the use of the space is not compromised?” Any upgrade of a school environment should sit under the umbrella of an overarching aim to create a range of different spaces for different needs. What, then, are some of the setting options beyond the basics? “We have traditionally thought of the school’s outdoor environment as only the traditional playground and the sports facilities. More recently, there has been a push towards creating ‘Enviroschools’ and providing opportunities for nature play,” says Rose. “Many schools are thriving with these inclusions as part of the students range of play and learning spaces. However, there are more types of spaces we can think about, each with additional benefits: Sensory, unprescribed play, outdoor learning spaces, social spaces, bike/scooter tracks, imaginary and loose parts play, to name a few.” Term 1, 2021 |

As learning opportunities extend beyond the classroom into an ever-increasing range of outdoor and transitional spaces, so too do they extend beyond the school grounds.

The impact of a sensitively, creatively designed school environment can be felt far and wide. Senior landscape architect at Kamo Marsh, Tim Scott, suggests schools develop a landscape masterplan for their site ahead of an educational landscaping overhaul. “This will provide a clear vision for the school that reflects the school’s values and cultural narrative and can be used to inform future planning of the school site. Other important aspects to consider include identifying the functional requirements of the space such as shade and shelter, seating, and specific learning opportunities for the age group likely to use the area.” Scott says the traditional concept of a school’s outdoor

areas being purely used for sport and play has been banished. “While it is still clearly important to have active outside areas to balance time within the classroom, it is now recognised that the outdoor environment can play an important part in student wellbeing. “The calming effects of generous greenspaces and a green outlook from within classrooms helps to lower overall stress levels. Outdoor break out spaces can complement classrooms by providing flexibility to teachers looking to reduce activity and noise levels within the main classroom. And students who may struggle in traditional learning environments within the classroom may excel in the wider range of activities that can be offered in outdoor spaces.”

Images: Dennis Radermarcher


Scott’s number one piece of advice when considering a school outdoor space overhaul?

“Ensure there is flexibility within the design to provide a variety of functions. Landscape Architecture | Cultural Advisory | Urban Design | Landscape Planning | Ecology | Biosecurity | Planning MARA HUPARA | AWARDS: ÷çàġ§ \Æà ş J½ Ãç Best of Awards - Designer’s Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) Award of Excellence | Playgrounds - NZILA Resene Pride of Place Landscape Architecture Awards

Term 1, 2021 |




Freemans Bay School:

A brighter future To date, Freemans Bay School has generated more than 40 MWh of green energy, along with saving thousands of dollars over the course of having solar installed. To track their system productivity, they have access to an online platform that displays their current savings, in regard to money, energy, trees, and CO2. This has proven to be a valuable material as it allows students to participate in the learning of a renewable energy source.

Freemans Bay School, located five minutes out of Auckland City, teamed up with Solar Group to install a 10.6kW system on their school roof. The primary incentive of implementing a renewable energy source was to cut utility costs and honor the long-term vision of the school; to create a stimulating learning environment through hands-on education. Cindy, the principal stands strong by their school mantra to empower, engage, and enrich their community of students, and installing solar has been a steppingstone to support this. Cindy shares: “Schools are the heart of our communities and should therefore be leaders in sustainable practice. At Freemans Bay School, not only are we generating our own clean, renewable energy resulting in savings that are

Image courtesy of Solar Group

now prioritised to students learning, we are also educating our students and families about responsible practices that are going to result in a better world for our generations to come.”

free consultation allowed Solar Group to engineer a detailed structure as to how the project will be managed along with building a trustworthy relationship with Freemans Bay School.

With the vision of the school board, Solar Group’s consultants undertook a detailed analysis of their daily power usage and weighed this against the budget assigned for the system. This

As seen in the picture of the school, the solar panels are calculatedly positioned on the most northern facing roof, as a method to harness the optimal amount of sunlight.

Aynsley Cisaria, landscape architect with Boffa Miskell, believes in putting the ultimate client first. “Involve children right from the start,” is the Auckland-based architect’s first nugget of advice to schools. She has some other key suggestions to keep frontof-mind from the outset.

Weaving cultural themes into your school’s design is important, says Cisaria. “Explore authentic cultural narratives in a variety of


And what better way, than to educate the children?

could otherwise manifest as boredom if children were to experience the same setting for six to eight years, she adds.

Avoiding overly prescribed outdoor spaces will allow opportunities for ongoing spontaneity, creativity and collaboration.”

“Consider circulation and flow. Plan for ease of supervision. Connect with nature; encourage seasonal change with biodiverse planting and provide loose parts – seeds, pods, leaves and branches – for creative play.”

This solar project, which we call phase one has sparked further conversation in the school regarding the future of technology and the path to bettering New Zealand’s environment. Looking ahead, Solar Group and Freemans Bay School are in the process of planning phase two of solar installations for brighter and sunnier futures.

Image courtesy of Kamo Marsh

And play is not just play.

materials and settings with your school community. And always leave room for future changes and creative development by children.” She sums up how outdoor spaces enhances students’ wellbeing: “Well-designed outdoor spaces are an invitation to explore ideas, take risks and build resilience through play and learning.”

“Social and emotional wellbeing develops through play: solo/ parallel, simple games/ complex games and diverse outdoor environments offer lots of opportunities and choices for play, recreation and social interaction in large and small groups.” Providing a range of outdoor settings counteracts what


“Think about how we can evoke the calming and restorative essence of natural spaces in our everyday spaces: walking through a forest filled with birdsong, the sight and sound of a trickling stream or beach waves, the pleasure of sitting in the dappled shade of a large tree on a sunny day… “Some dynamic places are also needed, such as sand and water play, outdoor music, a performance space or STEM/ STEAM exploration spaces with lots of loose parts to manipulate.” Creating a basic springboard for child’s play is, well, child’s play. Providing one that is sensitive, creative and that honours the people who are not only interacting with the space in the here and now, but those who trod before, takes a little more effort. With the right help and collaboration, this beautiful balance can be achieved. Term 1, 2021 |

Schools power up with solar By Heather Barker Vermeer Industry Reporter

Solar powering your school makes sense for sustainability role modelling, for longterm finances, and for the environment. So, what is holding schools back from switching to the power of the sun? In 2021, schools should have a sustainability or energy efficiency programme. This should outline basic energy efficiency improvements the school could make such as improved insulation, energy control devices like thermostats and water heater timers, LED lighting installation. It should also include energy efficiency education. Schools may choose to invest further by committing to installing solar power. Schools may decide to purchase solar panels or enter a lease arrangement with a solar provider. Either way, a Ministry Property Advisor should be consulted before installing solar panels at school. First, before approaching a Ministry of Education Property Advisor to discuss their proposed solar power installation project, schools need to do their research. Start by consulting a solar provider/s and request a proposal tailormade for the school’s property. Consider the payback period – the time it will take to cover the costs of initial outlay from electricity savings made. For this, consider the upfront cost of solar panel system installation, the unit cost ($/kWh) for the generated electricity (variable charges) and the amount of Term 1, 2021 |

What about warranties?

electricity used during daylight hours, when the sun is shining.

There are four types in regards solar panel systems.

Location, location, location


Where does the sun hit your school for most of the day? Are there any possible impediments to the effectiveness of solar panels near the property, such as potential tree growth or possible building developments? Industry suppliers can advise you on this. Find out if the solar system includes battery storage. This can be a good investment for a school and can avoid outages associated with a grid electricity power cut. Solar power systems without on-site battery storage will shut down in the event of a power cut as a safety measure. The larger battery system installed the less compromised power will be during a power cut. The MoE recommends assessing which energy services are essential for maintaining normal service during the school day and ensuring the proposed system is sufficient to meet these requirements. As well as installation, maintenance must also be taken into account. How will the panels be cleaned? What are the additional charges for maintenance and repair? Check how much of this is included in the provider’s package.

Panel product warranty: This covers defective materials or workmanship in the manufacture of the panels. It is provided by the panel manufacturer, not the installation company. Ensure the product warranty for your panels is at least 10 years.


Panel performance warranty: This provides protect against the degradation of panel cells over 25 years.


Inverter warranty: The inverter warranty is very important as this is the part of your system that is most likely to fail, according to the MoE’s advice on solar systems in schools. They suggest inverters will generally have a five to 10-year warranty.


Installation warranty: Equally important, the installation warranty is provided by the installer. This should outline what you will be charged for in the case of a breakdown. Check it includes call out fees and whether the entire system is covered or separate parts.

Something else to consider is the state of the school roofing. Solar panels may need to be removed PROPERTY

and reinstalled if problems arise with the roof. Carry out any minor roof maintenance necessary and consider the length of time in which the roof will need to be upgraded or replaced and factor this into the equation. A school’s Ten Year Property Plan (10YPP) must be amended in agreement with the MoE before solar panel installation takes place, due to the impact this has on a school’s existing infrastructure. A Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand member must install the solar system - this is a MoE requirement regardless of whether the solar panels are owned by the Ministry, the school, or a third party.

What programs are out there? There are many ways schools can reap far-reaching educational benefits alongside their solar power installation project. Solar power installation can provide countless opportunities for learning, inside and outside the classroom. Schools can maximise the educational benefits of introducing solar energy by involving students in the project, throughout the process, creating a positive, whole school buy in and sustainability story to shout out. The green ripple can cause a positive effect far into the community.


The four benefits of solar energy on sustainable electricity when conversely, there’s room for the nation at whole to operate on it. Solar does not produce any pollution in the process of generating energy, therefore being the current and future solution to combating the degradation pattern seen in the environment.

4. Long-life Expectancy and Little to No Maintenance

Stepping into twentytwenty one, schools are recognizing the global push toward solar energy. The movement has strongly encouraged schools to invest in the future of renewable power sources in the light of economic and environmental stability. This article will highlight the four benefits of solar experienced by Solar Group’s partnering schools. Solar Group worked with Onewhero Area School to install a 90 panel pool system. With the board’s vision and Solar Group’s proposal, 50 panels were used for the main pool and 40 for the learner pool. Over the years, Rebecca, the school principal has been stunned by the difference that solar has made financially and

socially. “Having a solar heating system was a great investment as it extended our school swimming program and allows our community to have access to the pool for longer.” adds Rebecca.

1. Cutting Operation Costs Everyday Cost-cutting is a huge incentive when opting for solar energy. Patterns show that the commercial utility grid depicts an annual increase in power due to the uncertainty of coal supply. After all, it is a commodity. However, sunlight, the raw source of solar, is constant and infinite, providing an unchangeable price of energy. Although the initial costs of solar can be significant, the system always pays off with abundant savings to follow. With solar, the system is put to use on the first day of completed installation, allowing the savings to start as soon as possible.

2. Providing a HandsOn Education As learning structures in schools have evolved, it has been proven that a hands-on and “actions speak louder than words” approach wins. With solar, students are able to engage in curiosity with the type of technology that sustainable energy entails. The first-hand demonstration offers encouragement to expand their cognitive capacity to futuristic mechanics that shape their future; leading to a brighter New Zealand. All solar systems will be provided with an online platform that tracks the live power consumption and usage habits. Furthermore, it tracks savings in regards to money, trees, and CO2, which is not only a useful report, but a useful tool to enhance the education around sustainable energy.

3. Saving the Trees Saves our Future To date, solar is the most environmentally-conscious method of collecting energy. Only 0.2% of New Zealand runs

Solar panels have a life expectancy of generating power for 30 years. There is no particular mechanical maintenance required during its lifetime simply because there are no moving parts in the system. However, it is sensible to simply wash the panels on a rare occasion to ensure their ability to harness the sunlight at its optimal capacity.

How Solar Group Helps Schools Solar Group aims to encourage clean and innovative energy through four solar solutions; solar power, solar pool heating, solar hot water, and a battery storage system. The company’s engineers will construct a customized plan that will optimize electricity consumption with your longterm vision at the forefront. “The sun is an abundant energy source that will never run out. What’s better is that it is free power provided by nature itself, and this is the magic that give kiwi children hope.” The Solar Group managing director adds. As a solar company who has been operational since 1986, offering a trustworthy range of products to meet specific targets is imperative. With experience in working with over 100 schools in New Zealand, Solar Group will be happy to get your school on the path to a brighter future.

If you would like to learn more about Solar Group, please contact us on 0800 769 377 or or visit our website



Term 1, 2021 |

Solar power provides

more than just financial benefits Utilise recently installed stage 1 of a 110kW system for Solway College under the Utilise Power Supply Agreement. While the financial case stood up well with long-term electricity cost savings, there were many other compelling aspects to the business case decision. The school was keen to demonstrate to its future leaders its commitment to sustainability by making the move to renewable energy. Part of that leadership was to play its part in meeting the government’s vision for our country and its targets of being carbon net zero by 2050 and a 100 percent renewable electricity supply by 2030. In particular, Solway College saw it as important to model to its students a commitment to tackling climate change, given the importance of showing our young people practical ways that it can be reduced. The Utilise solar system is able to do just that. The school already has a Kaitiaki programme related to restoration of native fauna and the installation of renewable

Term 1, 2021 |

energy demonstrates the same principles. In addition, having solar generation at the school enables it to be integrated into its curriculum. There are many strong voices in the student community around climate change and the solar system will become a learning tool. Rather than teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics as separate and discrete subjects, the solar system integrates them as a real-world application. The system monitoring allows students to see the benefits in real time. In summary, the Utilise solar system deployed at Solway College not only provides financial benefits, but it also helps our nation by contributing to New Zealand’s clean energy future and enhances the school’s role of leadership in the community. It models the school’s environmental credentials, providing a realworld example of renewable energy and sustainability in action that augments the Solway College curriculum, becoming a symbol to its student and parent communities of practical progress in slowing climate change.


Images courtesy of Utilise



Solway College:

A better energy future for our children with no capital outlay.









Better for the climate At Utilise we know your school is all about the future, yet many people are anxious about how to address climate change sensibly. We can help you play your part and make a better energy future; one that is good for both the environment and your finances.

Better for your finances We deliver you clean, sustainable solar energy, at a lower cost than what you currently pay, with no capital outlay required.

e Re eg ce l l o nt i yC nsta llation at Solwa









Shine on!

With your permission, we analyse your current power usage and costs.

We provide you with a new price to buy your power

Utilise installs a suitable solar power system at no cost or risk to you.

Just like your usual power bill, you’ll be invoiced monthly for our cleaner, cheaper power generated from your rooftop!

directly off your roof.

0800 63 93 63 (0800 new energy)