What are the lunchtime & end of day routines?


Our lunchtime is 12:40pm-1:30pm. For the first quarter of an hour children sit to eat their lunch. The duty teacher will let children go to play when they have eaten their lunch.Once the eating part of lunch is completed we have two staff on duty. They are easily recognisable as they are wearing safety vests. Also we have Mr Happer organising a game every lunchtime that children can play. Children who are in Room 2 or above are allowed to go over the road to play. All children must cross under the supervision of an adult. The 2 duty staff do what we call a figure of 8 around the playgrounds to ensure target areas are covered eg. Sandpit and that children are being crossed between the 2 play areas. Children, particularly our juniors, are reminded by their class teacher to go to the toilet and get a drink before they go across the road. The staff on duty always carry plasters and emergency procedure cards.

End of the day

Our end of day procedure is as follows:

  • Bus children to meet in the school hall in their bus teams where they will be organised by Miss Harrold and the bus monitors.
  • Children being picked up from school, walking home or biking home are to leave through the green gate at the end of the school hall. This is so all children can be sighted by a staff member.On the emergency contacts form there is a section that asks you what will be the normal procedure for your children on each week day. If there is a change to this it is important you let the school know eg when sports practices start. We are aware that circumstances change each term (eg sports practices) so we will ask you each term what the normal procedure will be for your child.  On some days there can be a large number of children being picked up by parents or caregivers – this means there will be a number of cars coming and going from school. Please ensure you keep your children safe and take them to the car with you.

What has been done with the road crossing and making it safe?

The safety of the road crossing outside our school is a topic which regularly gets raised by the school community. As a school, we consider the safety of the students as paramount. This includes ensuring we have suitable policies and procedures in place for dealing with the road crossing.  The road crossing has received considerable attention by our current and previous boards over a number of years. We have explored numerous options to make the crossing safer for the students and staff, including an underpass, an overpass, and zebra crossings. A key issue that has always been faced is who is responsible for funding any developments in this area; the road is outside of the school grounds and therefore not subject to Ministry of Education funding, likewise the road has relative low use and therefore does not attract significant funding potential from either the New Zealand Land Transport Authority or the Selwyn District Council. The school boards have rigorously explored all of these funding options in the past, with little success.  A key feature to increase the safety of the road crossing is the installation of a sidewalk on the far side of the road. This will allow students exiting cars on this side of the road to walk along the sidewalk to a designated crossing point and then cross the road to the school. If a sidewalk is installed, then work can be completed on a road crossing point with increased safety including traffic islands and road narrowing’s. However, without the sidewalk installed there is little benefit from creating the designated crossing point as students and staff exiting cars on the far side of the road will not be able to safely walk down to this point without walking directly behind other parked cars.  Our current policy for road crossing before and after school and during school hours has undergone rigorous review and we are confident it provides the required degree of safety for our students. All children who use the crossing during term time are aware of the policy. All children crossing the road must cross with an adult.

Emergency Communication

For urgent school messages (eg school closure, bus breakdown) we use a text service that send texts to all parents/caregivers – please ensure your mobile phone details are up to date with the school. The service we use for these messages shows me if the message has been delivered to the number. If any messages are recorded as undelivered to a family then you will get a phone call from a Board member.

The Facebook/Twitter information text service we have running is School App and completely separate to the urgent school messages service.

For those new to our school we have a process we follow if have to close the school – if the decision to close the school is made, it is made after getting information from the Selwyn District Council, parents/families who live at critical points in our enrolment zone and bus runs, weather forecast information, surrounding schools, our bus drivers and any official information from the Ministry of Education. We also consider the ability to get children and staff to and from school safely. Generally these decisions are made in the morning – by 7:00am based on the information we have available.

If the decision is made to close the school after school has started for the day please remember our first priority is taking care of your child/ren. A child will never be left at school alone. The principal and teachers will remain responsible and continue to provide them with care until they can be reunited with parents and or caregivers. The same applies to children who travel on the bus. If the bus home is cancelled, we will contact you to make arrangements.

Please be aware if the power goes out the schools phone system and internet will not operate and we will only be able to use cellular services to update messages on the schools App and Facebook page. We do attempt to use all communication tools available to us but sometimes no power will prevent this.


Will our child have homework at Dunsandel School?

The purpose of homework at Dunsandel School is:

  • To practice skills and reinforce concepts learned during the school day.
  • To learn essential facts e.g. Mathematics tables, spelling
  • To actively involve parents in their child’s schooling.
  • To allow for practice in language areas e.g. reading, written language.

Regular homework is set

The amount of time spent on homework will vary, according to the age of the child. As a broad guideline junior school 10-15 minutes and senior children approximately 20 minutes

Homework is an extension of and consolidation of classroom work.

In the junior rooms when children come home with reading they should have had this book in class and be familiar with the text.

We are aware of other activities children may have after school – let your child’s teacher know about these.


MOE Website – Practical Information about education of parent and carers – Homework Page (PDF file).

What is the school charter?

The 2019 Charter/Annual Plan was approved by the Board. A charter is the undertaking that all state schools make to the Crown committing themselves to reach certain goals and targets during the current year in exchange for receiving public funding. Each school has a charter that contains its strategic plan, goals and targets for student outcomes.In the plans and targets set out in its Charter, the Board describes the school’s priority learning issues and its expectations for improved student outcomes. The core business of the school is to raise student achievement but the Board can also identify other priorities, objectives and targets regarding staff and board capabilities, finances, property and other ownership matters. A full copy of the 2019 Charter can be found on our school website – Charter and Annual Plan tab on the Home Page. Alternatively a copy is held in the school foyer.

Why do we have a school uniform?

The school uniform is cost effective – reduces the amount of clothes to be purchased each year, and the majority of items can be used by siblings.

Excellent school representation at public outings, as well as safety as children can be easily identified.

Provides equality, pride and greater sense of belonging amongst the children.

Eliminates problems of clothing competitiveness.

Ensures children have clothing that is appropriate for school activities.

Provides better sun protection than some of the options otherwise chosen by children.

How is the school funded?

Fundamentally, the Government provides funding in three main ways. Firstly we are provided with an allowance for payment of the Teacher Salaries. This area accounts for the largest costs of the school. The salary provided to the teachers is defined on their experience and qualifications. The school then receives an Operations Grant which is an annual bulk sum paid quarterly and is largely based on the size of the school roll. The Operations Grant has to cover every annual operating cost including electricity, phone, photocopier, plumbing, grounds maintenance, equipment repairs and resources for classrooms. In addition wages for caretaker, cleaner, office staff and teacher aides comes out of this sum. The funding provided in the Operations Grant is very tight and it take very careful management to keep within budget. The other source of government funds is for Property Projects. Every 5 years we establish a series of property goals for the school and submit these to the MOE for funding approval. There are very strict guidelines about what can be completed. The modernisation of the area between Rooms 1 and 2 and the decommissioning of the boiler, as mentioned in the Property notes, comes under this 5 year property plan money.There are other contrastable funds of money schools can apply to for additional funding. These are highly contested and difficult to receive. Last year we were successful in receiving funding from a contestable fund for Miss Harrold to run the Accelerated Learning in Maths Programme.Fundraising, including donations and grants are also budgeted for and make up the balance. Also as a school we recognise the great role the PTA plays in providing additional funds for our children and school. Recently the PTA purchased new school tracksuits and PRIDE tee shirts, and fund the lease of a Computer on Wheels set.

What does the school contribution pay for?

During the past few weeks one of the major undertakings that the Board of Trustees has been working on has been to establish a realistic operating budget for 2019. This is always a formidable task as we juggle the operating grant that we receive from the Ministry of Education against the cost of providing quality education to our children and offering the additional resources and opportunities that is part of being a pupil at Dunsandel School.

In recent years we have worked hard to maintain the School Contribution at unchanged levels without needing to pass on the increased costs that we have faced in running our school.

At the February 2019 Board of Trustees meeting the Board moved to keep the School Contribution for 2019 at the same rate as the previous 5 years.

For 2019 the school contribution is as follows: – One child $60, Two children $75 and Three or more children $85.

We do have pressures on our budgets but we try and keep this contribution as low as we possibly can.

Your school contribution allow us to provide curriculum resources outside of the basics covered in base funding, it helps with extending our maths and reading resources including library to support classroom teaching and learning and it helps with class and school trips (outside of the generous donation from the PTA).

As this is a school contribution, your receipt can be used as a tax deduction on your IRD return and the school does not have to pay GST on this money.  The Board and School certainly appreciate the support of our parent/caregiver group when asking for the school contribution.

Sometimes there is a different teacher teaching my child.  Why is this?

There are a variety of reasons we have relievers in our school including:

  • Classroom Release Time (CRT) – all primary school teachers are entitled to two days per term classroom release time. This is part of the primary teachers’ contract. Teachers will use this time for planning, assessment, report writing, meetings etc
  • Teachers who are in their 1st or 2nd year of teaching are entitled to release time as a Beginning Teacher – one day per week for a 1st year and one day per fortnight for a 2nd year.
  • At our school our Deputy Principal (Miss Harrold) is released one day a fortnight.
  • From time to time staff require release for Professional Development training. Professional Development in any school is essential as it increases the skills and learning of the teacher and this obviously is filtered down to the children.
  • Staff, like children, can get sick and do require time off.
  • Sometimes staff do need to attend occasions such as funerals.
  • Occasionally staff will apply for and have granted leave without pay for personal reasons.

The most enjoyable part of a teacher’s job is to be working with your children but there are times, outlined above, that a teacher is required or has to be out of the classroom. In recent times we have been fortunate to have a reliable core of relievers that we can call on who know our school well and are able to fit easily into our routines etc. It is fair to say this core group is getting smaller and there is an ever increasing demand for relievers so we do have to book them early if we know in advance of up coming events for staff – obviously this is not always possible.

Year 6 End Of Year Assembly Awards

There are five awards our Year 6 children are eligible to win at our End of year Assembly. For more details, please go to Year 6 Awards Recipients.