11 June 2020
School Term Dates 2020
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has shortened the school year by 2 days. They did this because during the lockdown/rahui period holidays were changed and an extra teacher only day was provided. This is explained on the MOE website. Ridgway School used alternative holiday dates and did not take the teacher only day given which means that our staff and students had more school days during the Alert Level 3 & Level 4 periods than most other schools. We've explained why we did this in the school newsletter and in my Codid-19 Diary (scroll down to page 48). Primary schools are required to be open for 384 half days or 192 full days each year, but in 2020 we are now only required to be open for instruction for 380 half days, or 190 days.
Schools were given a teacher only day during the rahui so that they could prepare for distance learning. Teachers at Ridgway School had prepared for distance learning prior to Alert Level 4 so did not need to take a Teacher Only day at that time. Apart from not needing that day for preparation, we chose not to take it, or the extra day of holiday because we believed that our learners would benefit more from having teachers available and continuing with school, albeit via distance learning. We knew that many parents in our community were working from home and considered that extra 'days off' would cause these families disruption to their established Level 4 routines. After all, nobody was able to go away for a long weekend and everyone was limited in the things that they could go out and do.
Now that the MOE have shortened the school year, we've had to alter our dates. We've chosen not to simply end the school year earlier because our last day of school is Monday 14 December and we think that finishing earlier than this would cause considerable inconvenience to many of our families. Instead we'll be using an already notified teacher only day on Tuesday 27 October and Friday 25 September which is the day after senior camps.
We know that many of our Year 5 - 8 children will not come to school on the Friday following their camps. (They will be very tired!) For this reason we think this is the best day to take the extra day of holiday that the Ministry have given us.
The first of our planned Teacher Only Days would have been held during the rahui, but it did not take place. We had planned a whole day of teacher professional learning with the 7 other schools in our Capital City Kahui Ako. We've postponed that work until next year.
The second planned teacher only day would have been held on the Tuesday following Queen's Birthday. We chose not to take this day as it came so soon after returning to school. We felt that after 8 weeks working and learning together at home, families would prefer not to make the long weekend even longer. Staff had met together (with appropriate physical distancing) during level 3 and had already carried out much of the work that we would have done on this day anyway.
The third planned teacher only day is still in our calendar and falls on Tuesday 27 October, which is the Tuesday immediately following the Labour Day public holiday. This will give families a 4 day weekend at the end of October. The school will be closed on this day.
There are still 2 teacher only days that we have not taken in 2020. We will plan to use these at the start of the school year in 2021, which will mean that school will start slightly later than it could have; we'll probably start the 2021 year on Wednesday 3 February.