Kia ora koutou katoa

Issue: Volume 99, Number 20

Posted: 3 December 2020
Reference #: 1HAFDW

Welcome to the final Education Gazette for 2020.

Iona HolstedWhen I was wishing you “happy holidays” at the end of last year, it’s fair to say the word “pandemic” was nowhere in my mind. Even the most prescient among us could not have foreseen Covid-19, but the education response to the unprecedented events of 2020 has been a testament to the agility, creativity, and dedication of people in every part of our education system.

When lockdown was announced in March, huge numbers of teachers participated in online workshops to help plan Home Learning TV and other distance learning supports. Printing companies, courier drivers, early learning and school staff worked around the clock to get learning packs delivered to students across the country. Schools and kura used the power of technology to connect into homes so that learners, with their whānau, could stay connected to each other and to their learning. Leaders, teachers and administrators found innovative ways to safely and successfully navigate each new challenge – right down to making sure the school kunekune pigs were kept well-fed while school sites were in lockdown!

Covid-19 also shone a light on inequities and challenges faced by our communities and in education in particular. The digital divide was exacerbated for families with no devices or too few, poor or no connectivity, and lack of quiet or private spaces to study. Many schools and early learning services were a key source of information for community groups and government agencies about which families needed food delivered or other basic supports provided.

Schools and early learning services are often seen as being at the heart of their communities, and this is more true than ever during difficult times. While there are ongoing and complex challenges still to deal with, one of the ways you can make the biggest difference is to continue to focus on growing strong connections with your learners, their families, whānau and communities. I’ve heard many examples of the ways that these connections were strengthened during Covid, and we’ve featured many stories in the Gazette this year about how schools and centres, Kāhui Ako and clusters have worked together and with others to support children’s wellbeing and get them back to their learning.

I hope you are able to enjoy some restful and restorative time with family and whānau over the break. Thank you for everything you have done this year, and every best wish for 2021.

Nāku noa, nā

Iona Holsted

Secretary for Education

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 11:47 AM, 3 December 2020

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