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Newsletter Week 10 Term 3


Our new web site is live at our old address -

We are also slowly moving to a new Facebook Address - separate from my personal account (which was my mistake initially) -


     Love                     - ourselves - others - our world 

     Learn about     - ourselves - others - our world 

     Lead                    - ourselves - others - in our world

    We Love to Learn so we can Learn to Lead so we can Lead with Love


Whanau Time is every second Friday in our hall, starting at 9:45 am sharp. Everyone is warmly welcomed to join us for these special WHS family occasions. 

Next Whanau Time - Friday 29 September. Rooms 5 and 26 hosting. See Live Streaming details further below.


Monday 16 October

First day of term 4 - start at 9am as usual.


Monday 23 October

Labour Day holiday.


Tuesday 24 October

Teacher Only Day - no school today. Ministry provided training for all staff.


End of Term:


It’s another end of term, and for a change, I’ll be brief. Thank you everyone for your support.

Most of the parents I get to meet and talk to understand and appreciate how hard we try to do our very best for each and every child in our care. Your support and encouragement makes a very demanding job a lot easier, and the long hours seem worth it.

We are here for the children first and foremost. 

Sometimes it would be so much easier to take it easy, to not try to drive innovation and to not  risk the stress that comes with change. 

We don’t sit back and keep it safe and easy for us if it is not in our children’s best interests. 

We will never please everyone, but we certainly do try. 


Teacher Only Day - Tuesday 24 October:


We are required to hold a Ministry of Education training session with our staff to strengthen their understanding of the recently released legislation "Guidelines for Schools  on the Use of Physical Restraint".

We appreciate that parents can find it difficult to accomodate a Teacher Only Day during term time and therefore only hold these when absolutely necessary. We have decided to have this one on Tuesday 24 October - the day after Labour Day - as it seemed this could be better integrated into families' weekend plans than some alternative dates. 

Student and staff wellbeing is at the heart of these guidelines. Inclusive practices and a safe physical and emotional environment are of greatest importance for all students. The guidelines have been issued under the new legislation to help schools understand the legislation and follow it. They address the uncertainty staff experience when faced with a student exhibiting difficult behaviour that may escalate into a dangerous situation. The legislation requires all schools to have regard to these guidelines. The guidelines aim to strengthen good practice and minimise the need to use physical restraint. 


Carey Park Camp:


A huge thank you to all the awesome parents who supported our Senior School camps to Carey Park last week. Both camps were a great success thanks to great planning and preparation by our teachers and great support from our camp parents.

The activities were challenging and fun, the food and accommodation excellent and the weather overall was hard to complain about.


Natalia Wants To Help Manage Plastics Too:


Natalia has been reflecting on our problem with plastic bags.

Many Supermarkets and shops are now encouraging customers to bring their own bags, to use recyclable bags or just not to get a plastic bag at all.

Other businesses have plastic bag recycling units on site and there is clearly an awareness of the dangers too many plastic bags can cause for our environment.

Natalia reflected on this and wanted to share her report on how plastic bags are re-used for useful purposes in her house.

Natalia is only five but she has been giving this issue a lot of thought as you can see at right.


Future Directions for Western Heights:


It has been really encouraging to hear lots of positive feedback about our Chromebooks initiative as outlined in last week’s newsletter.

One key point of our message is that we would like to move towards a one to one device programme over time.

However, we realise this could be an expensive prospect for parents, so we have offered to subsidise the cost of these devices for parents. On a new quote that has just come through, it would appear we could offer sufficient subsidy for it to only cost parents $150 for a top quality Chromebook.

However, this whole initiative is OPTIONAL. There is NO requirement for parents to purchase a Chromebook.

We currently have over 100 Chromebooks that children can use, and we are planning to add to that number with more to be purchased over Christmas. How many we purchase will depend on how many parents choose to take up the Chromebook subsidy offer.


We will get specifics out to you as soon as possible. We hope to have everything in place to coincide with Christmas as these could be a great Christmas present.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns (or further positive feedback) please email me at   Thanks.


A Recent “Press" Article on Chromebooks in Education


New Zealand educators are changing their approach to teaching, building personalised learning pathways for every student. Technology plays a key part in this approach. New Zealand has joined the list of countries including Sweden and the United States where Chromebooks are the number one device used in schools, according to analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC).

Technology is transforming education across the globe, and in New Zealand ,schools are using digital tools to help  students learn, in the classroom and beyond.  

At Bombay School students could only get an hour a week of computer access. Bombay School’s principal and board decided on a 1:1 “bring your own device” program with Chromebooks, along with secure device management using a Chrome Education license.

Teachers quickly realised that since each student was empowered with a Chromebook, access to learning opportunities increased daily, inspiring students to chart new learning paths. “Technology overcomes constraints,” says Paul Petersen, principal of Bombay School. “If I don’t understand multiplication today, I can learn about it online. I can look for help. I can practice at my own pace, anywhere I am.”

In 2014 Bombay School seniors collectively scored in the 78th percentile for reading; in 2016, they reached nearly the 90th percentile.


In the Manaiakalani Community of Learning in East Auckland, some students start school with lower achievement levels than students in other school regions. Manaiakalani chose Chromebooks to support its education program goals and manage budget challenges. By bringing Chromebooks to the Manaiakalani schools, “we broke apart the barriers of the 9am to 3pm school day,” says Dorothy Burt, head of the Manaiakalani Education Program and Digital Learning Coordinator, based at Point England School. Using G Suite for Education tools on their Chromebooks, students can work with other students, teachers, and parents on their lessons in the classroom, the library, or at home.

Dorothy says “we’re seeing not only engagement, but actual literacy outcomes improve - it’s made a huge difference to the opportunities students will have in the future.”


A Recent Article on New Zealand Leading the World


The inaugural index created by The Economist Intelligence Unit assessed 35 economies around the world, focusing on their policy environment, teaching environment and socio-economic environment.

The index ranked New Zealand 88.9 out of 100, taking first place overall and awarded the best teaching environment, with Canada just over two points behind, and Finland, Switzerland and Singapore completing the top five.

Singapore pipped New Zealand for first place in education policy environment and Finland placed ahead of New Zealand as best socio-economic environment.

The study said it's vital education has adapted to prepare children for careers that exist in an ageing population, with increased urbanisation and disruption to the workforce from technological advances.

The report says there are two aspects to our country's success in educating students for skills necessary in the future.

The small size and remoteness of the country engrains an understanding and proactiveness that the nation needs to be globally competitive in all instances, it states.

"We naturally think a bit global, and that has impacted our thinking about technology and 21st century skills," Ms Kaye said.

She said the report validates that New Zealand is world-leading in this area.

The index says developing skills for the future in multiple areas of the education system in New Zealand, including technology, teaching, curriculum and collaboration with external technological industries, is also key to our success in the assessment.

It also notes that  98 per cent of New Zealand schools are connected to fast and uncapped broadband connections funded by the government.


Memorial Tree Planted for Liz Pickens:


On Saturday we had a small ceremony at school to remember Liz Pickens who ran the After School Care programme here for many years. This was the initiative of Roxanne Winter and her family, and Gay (new After School Care programme manager).

Liz’s family were present and it was a special occasion. We now have a beautiful Kowhai tree in place outside the Care room, with a plaque (soon to be installed).



Jeremy Majoe Selected for KiwiCaps Tour to India:


Jeremy - and his sister Lydia - are ex pupils of Western Heights School.

Jeremy is at Liston College now and has a burgeoning cricket career. He has been selected for the KiwiCaps tour to India and is looking for some funding support to help get him there.

He is a fine young man, with a passion and deception that could see him go far in the game.

Some of his awards:

Year 9 Tournament Team (District Tournament 2016-17)

Batting excellence certificates 2015 - 16

Ideal Player of the year 2015 - 16

Player of the Year – Liston College 2014 - 15

His sponsorship page is here -


Max Wins Best and Fairest Award at Taupo Tournament:


Max ‘Turbo’ Talbot and his brilliant brother ‘Flying’ Flynn - yes I like alliteration - performed particularly pleasingly last weekend when representing Waitemata Rugby Club in the Global Games NZ Junior Rugby Festival.

Flynn is Max’s twin brother and half back for the team and, it must be noted,  was also immense for the team and in achieving their impressive results.

Max plays at first five and was voted  the BEST and FAIREST PLAYER out of over 200 boys in the Under 9 grade. This is  an awesome achievement from a fine sportsman and a fine young man.

The Waitemata Dynamite team came 3rd out of 14 teams. Thanks from the family to all the staff at WHS who supported them with Chocolate and Wine orders.


Henderson Heights Community News


This new community focused newsletter is a great initiative and we are very pleased to support it. The latest issue should be coming to your letter box this week.

On Friday this week Julian and a number of his support crew will be joining us at our Whanau Time Assembly to present a cheque.


The cheque will cover the camp costs for three children - a wonderful initiative. The remainder of the cheque donation will pay for the paper costs which we cover out of this donation amount.

As you well know by now, we place great value on family and community in all we do here. We are very impressed with Julian’s initiative and the support of many businesses and individuals in our Henderson Heights community as they work hard to strengthen existing community links and bonds, and forge important new ones as well.

PS: If you are not receiving a copy of the Henderson Heights Community News, you can phone Elaine on 836 3797.


We will be trialling Live Streaming our next Whanau Time on Friday 29 September. With a bit of luck if you visit   you should be able to follow us live. Fingers and toes crossed of course.


Community Notices:


To celebrate this upcoming school holidays, we just started a campaign called “What’s NX Competition”, which aims to motivate all school students in New Zealand from ages 5 to 15 to show their designs of the future for mobile phones. This competition starts from 21 September to 8 October 2017, and both online and in-store submission are accepted. 

Students will have an opportunity to win a Samsung tablet and  Fidget Spinners and have their artworks printed on a customised phone case. 

Details above.

Online submission link:


After School Program of Mandarin and Chinese Culture:


We are happy to announce that the Mandarin and Chinese Culture After School Program will continue to operate in the coming Term 4.

The program provides courses in Mandarin, Chinese classics, Chinese calligraphy & painting, and Chinese musics. The teachers who deliver the lessons are all highly qualified with extensive teaching experience, and lots of smiles.

This amazing program will be run once a week.

The details of program are:

Time: 3:30-5:30pm Friday

Location: School Hall


Waitakere Indian Association Festival:


I am the Vice President of the Waitakere Indian Association, a NFP organisation in the local Waitakere area. We work towards bringing and sharing our Indian culture with the rest of our fellow Kiwis. 

There is a free community event being held at The Trusts Stadium/arena on Sunday 1 October from 1pm onwards. It finishes off at 10.00pm with world class Fireworks which the kids absolutely love – that too is free. 

Given it’s the first day of the school holidays, parents may like to bring their children to this event, indulge in some good Indian vegetarian food, watch performance from children as young as 5 and 6 to mature performers and of course the fire works. 

This event is great to celebrate diversity in our city.  Best time to come is around 4.30pm onwards. More details can be found on the Facebook Page:


Love West Auckland - Maori Bay:


How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

Wayne Dyer


Thursday’s Thought


I've learned age is a very high price to pay for maturity.


Welcome to our Newest Western Heights Whanau


The warmest of warm Western Heights welcomes to

Danica Cunningham, Kaden Dawson, Zebedee Findlay and Austin Wang.

We are delighted to have you join our Western Heights whanau and hope and trust you all feel right at home here, are happy, and Loving, Learning and Leading.


Western Heights School

126 Sturges Road


Auckland 0612

P -  09 8361213

E -

M - 021 779 009


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