Announcement : 

EASTER DATES:  School closed Easter Tuesday 2nd April 2024.   School starts back Wednesday 3rd April 2024 

Term 1 – Week 3: Newsletter



Welcome back to 2023!

Already the school year has thrown at us uncertainty, but, through lessons learnt during COVID, we are defintely getting better at quickly adpating to however we need to work, in order to keep consistency as much as possible for our learners.

Thank you so much for your understanding and support when we needed to close for 2 days. Fortuntely, our school was not damaged, unlike so many others in NZ.

We’ve had over 25 new students start with us in 2023; I look forward to meeting all the new whānau and students eventually over the year.

Noho ora mai

Whaea Natasha 

Our online morning karakia via zoom and our first day Pōwhiri for 2023.

Rumaki Enrolments

A reminder that our Māori-medium educational pathway at Birkdale is immersion, not bi-lingual. Because of this, it has strict enrolment criteria which can be found on our website or discussed at school.

This applies to students both in and out of zone. We enforce this criteria not to exclude but to protect the learning of all students in Te Puāwaitanga and to ensure your child gets access to education that they will thrive in. Enrolment interviews will be held for any child wishing to enrol.

Auraki Enrolments

Please make sure you enrol your child as soon as possible if you intend to send them to Birkdale.

If you are in-zone, you will be guaranteed a place.

If you are out-of-zone (even if you have other children at the school), we will need to add them to the ballot. They can only come, if there are places for them. Our ballot dates can be found on our website and school app.


We are considering cohort entry for Birkdale. 

COHORT ENTRY – means that we will have 2 starting dates for New Entrants each term. The first starting time would be the beginning of term, in W1. The second, halfway through the term usually, W5.

Advantages: Groups of students would start together. The teacher will then be able to track and better cater for them as a group moving forward. At the moment, we have students starting as soon as they turn 5 and showing up continually through the year. This can be disruptive for the Reception/ New Entrant classes learning and means that new students are sometimes expected to just jump right in.

Possible Drawbacks:  5 year olds would need to wait until the next entry date, beginning of term or half-way through before they could start school. This would be at the most a 4wk wait or at the least the next week.

This would not affect older students starting new at school, as there aren’t as many. Only 5 year olds. Please take the time to give your feedback on this initiative by clicking here. I will feedback to the Board of Trustees the responses.



If your Y3-6 child wants to play basketball, make sure they’ve got a notice from school. They went home at the beginning of the week and are due back tomorrow (Friday!). Don’t miss out.

Remember, after school teams rely on whānau support. We will only be running as many teams we have coaches and managers for. 


Keep an eye out for NETBALL later in the year.


We have a lot of exciting things happening this year:

1. We are due to have a huge shelter built over our Netball courts with flood lights so we don’t have to meet in the dark after school! And students can still get outside when it’s raining. We have a meeting on Monday to start the process.

2. We applied for and recieved a $90,000 grant from Lion’s Foundation end of last year which has fast-tracked our playground project. I know this has been on the plans for a few years now so am so glad we are able to start this year.


3. We will also be getting a new PA/lockdown system so we can replace our old bells which keep going off.

4. Security cameras will be installed this term. We are one of the few schools still open to the public, which we want to maintain BUT we do have a few cases of people abusing our school property. Cameras should help us keep our gates open.

5. Durham Hall is due for some tender love and care. We will be renovating the inside but still keeping the unique character of our 1940s building.

6. Lastly, we will be getting heatpumps installed through the school. 


Previously known as Parent Teacher Interviews.

These will be held in Week 5. Please book a time to see your child’s teacher and bring your child! They will be discussing their learning with you. Successful learning is supported by powerful partnerships between home and school.


New to Birkdale Primary! As a part of our commitment to broaden our curriculum, we are now pleased to be able to offer individual or group GUITAR and KEYBOARD music lessons by a trained teacher, during school time.

Classes will be held once a week on Wednesday for 30mins.

There will be a notice going home on Friday about this exciting opportunity. 

FAQ about our class structures for 2023:

Why do you have composite classes this year?

We’ve had composite classes every class, except last year for Kōwhai and Pōhutukawa Composite classes (a combination of year levels) are common in NZ schools. They usually get applied to ensure that there is the greatest opportunity to spread the students beneficially across the school. 

Why do you have 3 years in a class e.g. Y1/2/3?

When we looked at the social/emotional needs of our students when we were making up classes, we realised we needed to greater flexibility to be able to spread them out, in order to have more settled, balanced classes. There is no disadvantage to having 3 years to a class academically so we felt compelled to give our students the best shot at learning this year by structuring the classes this way.

We employed extra teachers to help keep numbers lower and increase the number of classes we could split students between. Last year, we noticed that students who had been together in the same class for a few years benefitted from being mixed up a little. Old patterns of behaviour were easier to break.

Do other schools have 3 year levels in a class?

Yes. 3 year composites exist in other schools; they tend to be small schools. We visited one on the shore while we were making up the classes.

If my child is the oldest or the youngest in the class won’t they be disadvantaged academically? How will the teacher cater for them?

Every year, in every class, there is always a ‘spread’ of different academic levels. This is nothing new for teachers. You may be suprised to know that when I look at the academic spread in each class this year, there is hardly any difference than when I was looking last year at the spread within our classes. Y2-3 usually have an academic spread of 2 levels [Level 1 and 2], which we still have, and Y5/6 classes always have spreads of Level 1,2 and 3 – which they still have. The Year 1s and 4s are advantaged the most by having teachers already thinking ahead to where they need to be going. Any child working well outside the scope of their age expectancy will still be catered for as they would in a traditional composite class.

It’s more helpful to think in terms of the ‘level’ your child is working at rather than their ‘year’.

Change can always feel a little uncertain. If you are concerned or just curious and have more questions to ask, please feel free to stop me in the morning or after school to have a chat.

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