Covid-19 Principal Update, 13 April 2020


This message is to keep our school community up to date with the most recent developments and to outline our expectations of students for the beginning of Term 2.

Dear parents/caregivers

I trust that you have all had a very happy and safe Easter. This message is to keep our school community up to date with the most recent developments and to outline our expectations for students over the coming fortnight and possibly longer. Please remember that Term 2 home learning begins for students this Wednesday 15 April.

Alert Levels

It is the Government’s intention that on the 20th of April, two days before the current period of Alert Level 4 is due to finish, Cabinet will make a decision on whether or not the Alert Level will change. They will use the most up to date data they have to make that decision. Level 4 has come with some heavy restrictions and next week, the Government will give some guidance on what life at Level 3 looks like.

As you may be aware, Minister Hipkins has outlined what the change of alert level implications will be for education providers and their communities. The Minister noted it would be wrong to assume that all schools and early learning services will reopen at Level 3.

The Ministry of Education and subsequently Nayland College are looking at various scenarios and they will be based on health considerations and requirements under Level 3, particularly managing physical distancing. A hybrid model of both distance learning and on-site learning is very likely at least in the early stages of Level 3. The Public Health requirements will affect each school differently; however, we are planning for a number of different scenarios including:

  • Possible school reopening for students of essential workers only
  • Possible split days of home-learning and at-school learning depending on year level
  • Possible split timetable, with different start/end and break times for juniors and seniors
  • A continuation of practices from alert level 2, including the suspension of assemblies and additional cleaning practices across the school

Assuming the alert level does change, we would anticipate Wednesday 29 April would be our first day with some of our students able to attend in person.

I want to reassure you that following any announcement, I will let parents know as soon as possible what the implications are for students at Nayland College.

Distribution of Devices

As you are aware, we have already distributed almost 100 devices to families before the Alert Level 4 lock down. This week we are working with the Ministry of Education to provide learning materials to those that missed out on this opportunity, or do not have access to the internet at home.

Please be patient while we work through this process. Not all students will be able to be provided with resources straight away, but we will do our very best. Our priority is the following:

1. NCEA students who have the internet, but no device may be delivered a school-owned device to borrow.
2. NCEA students who do not have internet, or a device may be distributed hard-copy learning materials from the Ministry of Education
3. Junior students who have the internet, but no device may be delivered a school-owned device to borrow.
4. Junior students who do not have internet or a device may be distributed hard-copy learning materials from Nayland College

We have many hoops to jump through to make this happen, particularly for students without internet or a device. In the meantime, we ask that students continue to access the learning materials provided on our website (mobile friendly) or via the new TV programmes that have been initiated by the government on TVNZ.   

General Expectations

Put your health and your family first and continue to follow all government advice in order to stay safe.

Students should check their school email account and class Team site once a day if possible and respond to any messages from teachers. Staying in regular touch with their classes is important.

Remember teachers are also busy with their families, so please understand that they will respond to emails and messages and give feedback on work when they can. Don’t be worried if you don’t get an immediate reply.

Advice for students learning at home

Work will be set for each timetabled subject. Teachers will provide learning materials and set tasks on a regular basis. This might happen on a day-by-day basis, or less frequently as blocks of work – your teachers will guide you. You are likely to have around 2-3 hours of work to do per subject per week.

How you organise your time to complete school work is up to you but we recommend that you:

  • Establish a daily routine, with blocks of time set aside for school work and plenty of breaks too.
  • Use a to-do list or planner to help keep track of tasks – it’s hard to stay organised, so use tools to help (Office 365 has a really easy to use to-do list and also a more powerful planner app).
  • Keep in touch with your teachers – let them know when you have completed tasks, or if you need help.

Contacting Teachers

  • In most cases teachers will set small, familiar tasks that don’t use too much data.
  • Teachers will try to provide at least one face-to-face discussion opportunity per week for each class through a Teams video conference.
  • Students should also be exercising and reading regularly. Assisting around the house is a great way to get some physical exercise!
  • If teachers get sick, they may need to pause the remote learning for a time.

If you would like to contact your child’s teachers the school email address format is

Please note that teachers are unable to provide one-on-one support to students via video link.


I have had many students and parents contact me concerned about the adverse effects of a reduction in face-to-face learning time on their NCEA qualification.  

Thanks to its flexibility, NCEA allows us to maintain credible assessment outcomes by changing the ways we gather and record evidence, and to manage any disruptions to teaching and assessment of standards.

If disruptions continue for senior classes for an extended period we do have some options, such as:

  • Reviewing our programmes
  • Selecting suitable standards for remote assessment
  • Templates to integrate evidence gathering with teaching and learning
  • Resources for conducting remote assessment
  • Remote assessment of performance-based subjects
  • Managing internal assessment for students absent from school due to COVID-19

NZQA may also look at altering the qualification framework temporarily and we may have to adjust pre-requisites into 2021 courses.  

The experience from the Christchurch earthquakes was that even though some schools were closed for over six weeks, the impact on NCEA was minimal.  Our students are resilient and very capable of managing a supported learning programme.

International Students

Once again I would like to thank our amazing International team and wonderful host families for supporting our overseas students during this difficult time.  With the support of various embassies we have been able to repatriate a large number of students back to their homes across the world.    

Keep us informed!

If you or your class are doing any interesting learning or connecting in inventive ways whilst on lockdown we would love to share it with our school community.  Please contact Duncan McKinley (Head of Media Studies).


Please refer to our school website for updated information. The following sites are also useful:

The Ministry of Education has launched two websites in response to the sudden requirement for schools and parents to provide distance learning: Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama (in Māori or English).

These websites include resources for teachers, leaders, parents, and whānau. Resources span the learning pathway from early learning through to senior secondary, and more resources will be added as they are developed.

Other resources that might be useful:

  • ETV provides a huge range of recorded TV programmes and live internet TV from across the world. Have a look – some people think the selection is better than Netflix! Just log in using your Nayland College email and password.
  • Wheelers E-Books Thousands of new titles now available to read on e-books! Just log in using your Nayland College email and password. The Nayland College Library site also has a fantastic selection of links, including to the public libraries and is being updated almost every day.
  • Mr. Science – At 11:00am each school day during the lock down our own Mr Science (Sterling Cathman) is doing a ‘viral lockdown series’ exploring science. Log in through zoom code: 265-351-3815,  Password: 147288
  • Study IT – NCEA help from real students and teachers in Maths, English, and Science.
  • BBC Bitesize – Revision site aimed at students with the KS3 section being suitable for Juniors and the GCSE section for Seniors / NCEA.
  • BBC Teach – Great collection of short videos (usually from BBC TV shows), to support a huge range of subject areas and learning levels.
  • Alison – Huge number of online courses in a wide range of subjects: IT, Health, Languages, Humanities, Business, Maths, etc.
  • Khan Academy – Masses of great lessons in many subject areas, most supported by short, explanatory videos with tasks and activities to reinforce learning.

Please look after yourselves and I will be in touch again soon with more information as it comes to hand.

Ngā mihi nui,

Daniel Wilson

By Daniel Wilson