Frequently Asked Questions

Our information sessions were well attended by prospective students and their whānau in September and October 2016. Please review the following Frequently Asked Questions which have been created based on questions we have received.

Shorter versions of the FAQs may also be viewed and followed at the Te Kōpuku High facebook page.

Will we have to pay school fees?

No - it’s our intention that there will be no compulsory fees at Te Kōpuku High. We have made a commitment to find other ways to fund extras as needed. We have budgeted to ensure that the supply of learning resources will not be a cause of stress for our students or their whānau.

Will subsidised transport be available?

As a registered school, we are eligible to apply for transport assistance, through the Ministry of Education. As our roll grows and we get a clearer picture of where our students will be travelling from, we can actively plan for the needs of those students.

Will Te Kōpuku High provide stationery for the students?

Yes - as a tech focussed school we are expecting stationery needs to be quite small and we will provide the essentials to ensure students are able to fully engage in their learning activities. Learning resources such as stationery will not be a barrier to students engaging in rich learning experiences.

As a technology focussed school, will you be providing iPads or Tablets to students?

No - learning from the experience of other schools we know that provision of devices is quite problematic. Instead, we will be setting up a resourcing scheme to enable whānau affordable access to the technology their tamariki will require for school. That way you will own the devices yourselves. This approach helps students develop a greater level of personal responsibility and respect for the value of things.

If classes don’t start until 10am, what will students do before then?

The hours before and after school will be a time for students to study and revise. Extra tuition and additional learning experiences will be provided for catch-up and/or extension. Students can also work on their health and well-being programme during this time.

Who will get priority if you get more enrolments than you expect?

There is an enrolment policy in place where priority goes to students with siblings already enrolled in the school after which a ballot process will apply where the names of students on the waiting list will be randomly selected and allocated a place.

Are there selection criteria for Pasifika and non-Māori students who wish to enrol?

Under the Partnership School policy, 75% of the school roll must be made up of students who are Māori, Pasifika, students with special education needs and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Our target is 90 students for 2017.

Will there be outdoor and physical activities or kapa haka offered by the school?

Yes. Health and wellbeing is an important part of our programme. We will be setting up a crossfit gym at our site with plans to expand into a large indoor area at the site. We want to also take advantage of community amenities (e.g. Waterworld, Wintec) to provide a wide range of physical activities. We can cater for touch, mau rākau and waka ama at this stage and we have also begun discussions with another school about joint sports teams for other codes. Many of the staff are themselves involved in competitive kapa haka groups and while Māori and other performing arts are also part of our programme, we are not committing at this stage to participating competitively. While our school goals are focussed on elite learning rather than elite sports we are supportive of any of our ākonga pursuing sporting goals outside of the school.

Will there be a school food programme or cafeteria?

We may look at a breakfast club in the future but that will be driven by the students in response to their needs. There will be a commercial kitchen on site which will be run by an independent business and we may work with them to have access to their facility as a training location.

Am I able to enrol my tamaiti who is not yet at Year 7?

Yes. Students who are not yet at entry age will go onto the waiting list and will be given priority on their year of entry.

Do students have to continue at Te Kōpuku High beyond Year 8?

No. Te Kōpuku High is about giving you and your tamaiti more choice about how and where they are educated. If, after two years, you or your tamaiti feel that another secondary school would be a better fit, you are free to pursue that.

Have you got a policy on behaviour management and discipline already written?

Yes. Along with the enrolment policy, this was an key part of our application to open a partnership school. We will be using a restorative justice approach which works to address the internal conditions that give rise to external behaviours. We asked a group of students how they felt negative behaviours should be treated and they told us that we should seek to understand what’s behind the behaviours, learn to listen and then support the student to take responsibility for modifying their own behaviour.

How will you deal with incidences of bullying?

We are taking a restorative practice approach to discipline and have policies that will guide how we respond to any issue affecting student welfare.

How are you ensuring that teachers are adequately prepared to teach within such a different framework?

In term 4 2016, our teaching and support staff will be released from all teaching commitments so we can focus on preparing for a 2017 opening.

How will you maintain communication with parents and whānau?

An open door policy will be enhanced with technology so that you can arrange to meet with staff, sign in to visit the learning spaces, withdraw your tamaiti for appointments or other urgent matters, and keep up with the day to day happenings. We will also use our school website and email to publish all communications as appropriate. Digital devices are an integrated part of the school curriculum and as part of their digital citizenship training, students will be taught to manage their devices in ways that ensure parents and other caregivers will not be prevented from contacting their tamaiti should the need arise.

How will you maintain the “kanohi ki te kanohi” aspect for us as we come into the school?

The entrance to the building is in full view of the open learning space and in direct line of site to Maia, who has the only allocated office in the complex. Whether you enter your visitor details on a tablet or in a visitors book, someone will see you and come to greet you. The kitchen and waiting areas are also close to the front entrance and you are welcome to sit down with a cup of tea while you wait for your appointment if you wish.

What would a typical day of learning look like for the various year levels?

The learner focussed approach that we are taking means that the emphasis is more on what learning is required rather than what year level they happen to be in. The programme of learning is built around a progression of skills, knowledge and attitudes so that each student is not constrained by their age or year level but is supported to make progress along their learning pathway to ensure they realise their greatness.

Will some subjects be delivered using external providers such as correspondence school?

No. Te Kōpuku High will take responsibility for all core subjects. As the school grows and our need for a wider spread of subjects expands, we will seek out specialist teachers and specialist training and industry experts to provide enriched learning opportunities for students. When external expert partners are involved in a student’s learning pathway the students will still be accompanied or monitored by the appropriate members of our teaching staff who are the trained learning professionals. This will enable us to provide authentic learning opportunities alongside experienced industry practitioners.

How much work would you require from parents?

As much as you’re able to give. What we don’t expect from parents is supervision of learning activities, including homework. That’s what we’re trained to do and are responsible for. Some parents will be busy with work and others may wish to contribute some of their time to activities in the school. For example, you may wish to come in and coach a netball team, help students with an art project, participate in a te reo class or demonstrate some other skill that you have. We see learning as a community activity and encourage whānau to participate as much as they are able and to the degree that they are comfortable.

Do your teachers have the necessary experience and knowledge to feed in the vocabulary and learning experiences needed in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics?

Our core teaching staff all have teaching degrees which means that we have been trained to teach all learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and/or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMoA). Having said that, our broader teaching and support team have specialist curriculum experience including maths/pāngarau, science/pūtaiao, literacy/reo matatini , the arts, digital technology and language acquisition. The added advantage of the Partnership School initiative is that we can supplement learning opportunities for students by bringing in industry and domain experts and partners to co-deliver curriculum - partners such as Squiggle http://www.squiggle.org.nz/ (an engineering programme) and MEA Mobile http://we-are-mea.com/ (IOS -Apple developments). Qualified teaching staff will monitor and reinforce these additional opportunities through student project work.

What experience do your teachers have delivering personalised learning to a diverse range of students in an innovative learning environment?

We have been actively pursuing opportunities to engage in personalised or differentiated learning workshops over the last 3 or 4 years. Ralph Pirozzo http://www.pli.com.au/ is delivering a refresher course with our teaching staff in recognition of our long standing relationship. From his earlier work we the sponsor - Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust - developed an online personalised task or project based learning programme (Mauri Oho, Mauri Tau) funded by the Ministry of Education that is currently being used in 13 schools. While the programme has been designed to support students with learning needs in maths/pāngarau and literacy/reo matatini, it can also be used with all students. Members of our staff have observed other personalised programmes in action and we will be visiting well established programmes in Melbourne later this month as well. A task of one of our team members is to find resources, ideas and research related to innovation so we keep ourselves well-informed and current with best practice. As a literacy/language-based organisation, we are specialists in vocabulary and concept development across the curriculum and across languages.

What will reporting to the parents on students’ progress look like?

We are required to provide two written reports each year which is standard for all schools. Beyond that we are planning to have student led conferences during the year. We are also investigating opportunities for whānau to view their student's work and progress accessed via password through the whānau portal of our website which is currently under construction.

How will you find out the learning needs of each student?

Besides the information gathered from the enrolment process, we will refer to the achievement records that come through to us from other schools but will also spend the first few weeks observing and assessing each student in their language(s) of strength using informal (school developed rubrics) and formal assessment tools. One of the first projects the students will engage in will also contribute to the profiles we build for each student. We are also keen to continue conversations with whānau and talk with the students to help us identify their specific learning needs.

Will the school calendar be different from other schools?

No - we understand that whānau may still have tamariki in other schools so our holiday periods will be the same as everyone else’s so as not to cause disruption to whānau schedules.

What kind of overall costs should we be keeping in mind?

There are no compulsory school fees and the uniform has been planned to be as low cost as possible. For some families there may be some costs involved for transport and for additional learning opportunities but we will be working hard to keep this to a minimum. Electronic devices are probably the most expensive item to consider but we will work with you to develop an affordable purchasing plan.

Will there be opportunities for students to study business?

Project-based learning is an opportunity for students to take their ideas and apply subject learning, design thinking and business start-up modelling to develop, pitch and trial those ideas as business opportunities.

Is there a danger that project work will limit time spent on academic learning?

Vocational pathways grow out of experiences with real, authentic problem-solution processes that stimulate curiosity and innovation. When traditional subjects are applied to real life projects the science, mathematics, arts and language learning become relevant and inspiring with deeper meaning and purpose than they may have in the traditional schooling model. In this way project-based learning can bring academic learning to life.

Will Te Kōpuku High students be adequately prepared for their (working) future?

We are committed to ensuring all of our students have access to further education and the world of work to create successful futures for themselves and their whānau. Currently 30% of Māori students go to university from high school and we want to ensure that students who have different expectations and aspirations are also well catered for.

How will you be supporting students who have not been achieving in the mainstream?

Right from the start we want to learn as much as we can about your tamaiti. This includes helping them to identify the barriers to learning that they have experienced. We believe that all students can be successful learners when provided with the right tools, support and conditions. In the time before school there will be opportunities for extra tuition and personalised support as needed. We have a number of specialist teachers to help support students.

Do you cater for students with disabilities?

Yes. Every school in New Zealand is required to provide access to education regardless of any physical or intellectual challenges a student may have. As well as providing an appropriate physical environment we have access to professional support personnel and an extensive team of learning specialists who can be called on to contribute to the learning pathway of your tamaiti.

Is there any particular inquiry model that you will be using?

Inquiry is an important instructional approach that is proactive and reflective. It sits alongside the problem-solving approach to learning and requires the development of critical thinking skills to sort, analyse and present information gathered from a range of sources. There are a few formalised models around and they all have the same basic structure. Our team has had extensive experience in using inquiry as the basis for learning and will formulate a process that best suits our situation and appeals to our learners.