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Walking School Buses

  • When will my child start school?
    In New Zealand children can start school on their fifth birthday. However, children are not legally required to start school until they are six years old as some children, for many reasons, may benefit from additional time in ECE. Once your child has been enrolled and started school it is important that they attend everyday. At Birkenhead Primary School children start school after their fifth birthday as part of a small cohort.
  • What is cohort entry?
    Cohort entry means that children who have recently turned five begin school together in small groups. At Birkenhead Primary School there are two cohort entries per term, one at the beginning of term, the other midway through the term. Children can remain at ECE until their intake just after their fifth birthday - they will continue to receive funding to attend ECE until they start school. Details of your child’s start date/cohort will be provided when you complete the enrolment process.
  • Why does Birkenhead Primary School use cohort entry?
    Research has shown that starting school in a small group rather than individually helps children build relationships with their peers, reducing any anxiety children may face when joining a bigger pre-established group. The system is also less disruptive for the teacher and for all children. This system means we do not have children entering school in an adhoc fashion throughout the year, allowing groups of children to settle into school and establish routines collectively. At Birkenhead Primary School each cohort of children begin school in the Reception Room.
  • What year level will my child be when they first start school?
    Ministry guidelines suggest children born before 31st June can be classified as Year 1 when they start school and anyone born after this date would be classified as Year 0. At Birkenhead Primary School we classify children born before 30th April as Year 1 and any child born after this date are classified as Year 0. If a child is born before 30th April and their cohort entry date is after this date, or a parent chooses to start their child at a later date, they are still classified as Year 1. ​ In special circumstances we may consider altering a child's classified year level. Decisions regarding year levels in these circumstances are discussed with whānau to ensure the best decision is made for the child. The ultimate decision is made by the school based on the evidence in school.
  • What is Learning Through Provocations?
    Learning through provocations allows children opportunities to explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in an imaginative and collaborative manner. This approach allows learners to develop student agency and feel empowered and in control of their learning journey. As children engage in provocations they refine many intellectual skills, they develop their thinking and language skills, along with their social and emotional skills.
  • Can my child and I visit the school prior to their start date?
    All New Entrant children who are enrolled at Birkenhead Primary School are invited to three morning visits, from 9.00-10.00 am with their teacher. During these visits the children get to meet the other children in their cohort, begin to familiarise themselves with the classroom, morning routines and their teacher, supporting a smooth transition into school. On the third visit parents as a group will meet with a member of SLT to discuss routines and general school information. This is also a time for you to ask any questions you may have. Prior to any visits you will have an opportunity to meet with a member of our SLT to discuss the school vision and welcome you into the community. The outline for the visits are as follows: - ​First visit: parents are welcome to stay with their child. - Second visit: parents are encouraged to leave their child in the classroom. - Third visit: parents meet with SLT and children spend time in the classroom. On any visit, parents are welcome to stay in the classroom to support their child.
  • Can I meet my child's class teacher?
    You will be able to meet your child’s class teacher during the Thursday visit sessions. Once your child has started you are welcome to bring your child into the classroom every day and chat with the teacher. If you require a more formal or longer meeting, please speak to the teacher to make a time that suits you both.
  • What happens on my child’s first day of school?
    On your child’s first day of school you are encouraged to bring them to their classroom between 8:30am and 8:50am to help them settle into their new space and to meet the teacher. On this day we will hold a whakatau at 9.00am to welcome new children and families into the school. The whakatau is a traditional Māori welcome, which is less formal than a pōwhiri. This is generally held in the school hall and is followed by light refreshments before the children return to their classroom. The whakatau usually runs for 15 minutes and we welcome any family members who would like the opportunity to speak.
  • What are the standard school hours?
    8.50am School starts 10.00am FAVE (fresh fruit and veggie snack) 11.00am Play time 11.20-11.30am Morning tea eating (supervised) 12.45pm Lunch play 1.25-1.35pm Lunch eating (supervised) 3.00pm Hometime
  • Does the school offer before and after school care?
    BPS offers before and after school care through our in-house OSCAR programme. Our programme is Ministry of Development approved and all staff are vetted and trained to operate using the same behaviour plan and expectations as during the school date. More information is available on our website.
  • How will I receive feedback on how my child is progressing?
    After four/five weeks in school you will receive a learning story via Hero, explaining how your child has settled into school. Your child's kaitiaki teacher is also available to talk about your child’s learning and transition into school. Depending on when your child starts school we have termly opportunities to meet with your child’s kaitiaki teacher and / or be informed about your child’s learning: Term 1: Meet the Teacher ( Whanaungatanga day)individual session prior to the start of the school year to establish the home- school partnership. We will also host an open classroom afternoon midway through the term. Term 2: Parent Teacher conferences - these are held after school between the teacher and whānau. Term 3: ‘Open House’ session - whānau are invited into the classroom to talk about their child’s learning, this is a time for your child to share their learning with you. Term 4: Your child will meet with their next year's teacher. All assessment data can be found on your child's HERO portal.
  • ​Will my child have homework?
    At BPS we followed a Structured Literacy approach. Children will be provided with simple spellings that follow a set pattern weekly to learn at home, complimenting what they are learning in class. They will also receive one book a week to read with you based on this learning. Language is incredibly important so we also encourage you to share stories, play games together and engage in conversation. ​
  • What should I give my child for lunch?
    It is important your child has enough energy to last the day. We promote healthy food and drink options in school. Sandwiches, fruit and vegetables are all great brain food for your child. If your child brings big pieces of fruit in for morning tea or ‘FAVE’ it is helpful if it is peeled/cut up. ​We also encourage your children to bring a water bottle that is refilled daily with fresh water.
  • Does my child need a uniform?
    The Board recently completed a survey about uniform. We would like to thank everyone for their feedback during our consultation on the option of a compulsory school uniform. With such a large percentage of caregivers providing feedback, it has enabled the Board to make an informed decision about the community view. Having reviewed the numbers and the comments, we have decided to update our uniform policy to reflect the key items below. - the uniform will not be made compulsory. - students will need to wear their school shirt (and hat if in term 1 or 4) on all school trips and when representing the school. - the type of pants they wear with their school short remains shorts / leggings / skirt / pants (with a preference for navy/black) - The students will be strongly encouraged to wear their school t shirts on a Friday. This means that families will need to purchase a school t-shirt (and we know that from next year we will have a second hand stock available) as a minimum. All students, when they start at BPS, will be given a school hat as a welcome gift. We encourage everyone to embrace the uniform. We understand that parents value the ‘option’ of the uniform and we think this policy represents a good balance for our school.
  • When and where should I buy my child's stationery?
    Pre-packed stationery is available from Paper Plus, Birkenhead. The stationery your child will need will depend on the time of year your child starts school. During your child’s visit sessions you will be informed of the stationery requirements for your child.
  • Will my child have swimming lessons?
    The focus for New Entrants is on building confidence in the water. The school pool is open for school lessons during Terms 1 and 4 and, although the pool is heated, swimming is very much dependent on the weather.
  • What should I do if my child has health issues?
    Please ensure that you have informed us of any issues when you complete the enrolment form and provide any information you have to the school office. Please talk about medications/implications with the teacher, and bring any medications to the office so that they can be stored safely. If, at any time throughout the year, your contact details change or medical issues require updating, please contact the office immediately.
  • ​How can I become involved in the school?
    Keep in contact with your child’s teacher and read the weekly news post shared via Hero. Regularly view your child’s HERO learning journal. ​You may also want to join our active and enthusiastic PTA. For further information please visit
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