Dear Whanau, Parents and Caregivers,

Thank you to everyone who has come into school to meet me. If it’s tricky to find a time, then please remember I will be here every Tuesday till 7pm – or you can email me on

We are working hard to reorganise our school for 2018, starting with the leadership structure. Most schools of our size have a robust Senior Leadership Team with two, three or even four APs and DPs. Congratulations to Sian Foley who has won the position of Deputy Principal responsible for Early Years, Deborah Shaw, Deputy Principal responsible for Years 5 & 6, and Natalie Kennerley, Assistant Principal responsible for Years 3 & 4. We are now working to identify the rest of the staffing teams and will then start on class placements.

What a wonderful show! It was great achievement for all involved. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Nga mihi nui

Aotearoa New Zealand still leads the world in the assessment of reading….

Depending on reading levels, we administer two different types of reading assessments to students on a regular basis. The first, usually for junior students, is the PM ‘Benchmark’. Students progress through the levels (colours) starting with Magenta (level 1) and finishing at Sapphire (level 30). A student attaining level 30 will have an approximate reading age of 11.5 -12 years. PM Benchmark is good at measuring how well children ‘decode’ – that is translating print into speech by matching a letter or combination of letters (graphemes) to their sounds (phonemes) and recognizing the patterns that make syllables and words (phonics).

So PM allows us to ‘benchmark’ the mechanical reading ability of students. We use this assessment more than once through the learning year, to gauge the progress an individual makes over time. This is usually based on the difference between the most recent assessment and the one before. A gap between the tests of at least 3 months is really helpful.

At the Silver level (23-24), we change to the ‘Probe’ test. Probe is also a running record, but it measures ‘comprehension’ rather than the ‘decoding’. For the first year or two, the results are almost always lower than they would be if we kept using the PM Benchmark. Reading ages appear to drop once we move to Probe.

This doesn’t just happen at Matipo – it happens everywhere. This is because students need to be very competent at the mechanics of reading first. It’s a bit like teaching someone to drive. Learners need to be really competent at controlling the car before you let them loose on the road. PM is the equivalent of car control. Probe is how you actually drive on the road once you can control the car.

This reading age will appear on your child’s report, and some information about progress since the previous reading assessment. It is good to discuss this with your child and with the teacher. We use other reading assessments as well, such as CAP (Concepts About Print), PAT reading (Progressive Attainment Tests), AsTTle (Assessment for Teaching and Learning) and schonell spelling. But we’ll leave them for another day!

Phill Simpson /Paul Wright

Mia Horv’ath, Jane Louie, Taylox McComb, Oliver Smith, River-lee Panui, Khalil Williams-Stehlin, Max Jones, Rumer Kightley, Chequan McPherson.

Tomorrow’s assembly is at 2:30pm in the hall for the Tamariki and Aroha syndicates and will be hosted by Room 24.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is on Monday 20 November, 7.30pm. All welcome.

If you are a person who can form positive, caring relationships with children; are fun and energetic; have great communication skills; are observant and can record important information and work together as part of a team to support a child’s needs, then we want to hear from you please. Send a brief cover letter with your CV to Paul Wright, Principal, Matipo Primary by Friday 24th November (days and hours of employment to be confirmed)

Te Atatu Spring Festival 2017 is happening from 18-26th November. Free community festival with loads of events for all ages – dance, bikes, robotics, yoga, stress management and so much more! It starts with a Family Gala Day on Sat 18th November with bouncy castles, games, stalls and a Bakeoff competition. All entries to Bakeoff welcome, get in quick!

The Te Atatu Santa Parade is coming up on Saturday 2nd December. Matipo is entering a “Santa’s Workshop” float and all children are welcome to join in. On the day children will be invited to wear their pjs, nightwear or a onesie and to carry either an oversized letter to Santa or a box wrapped to look like a present. We would love any “presents” that you can provide – wrapped in green, red or gold wrapping. Thanks to Friends of Matipo for organising this.

As always we are looking for any spare clothes that we can keep in our sick bay for children who may need a change throughout the day. We would appreciate any contributions, but we particularly need clothes sized 5-7.