** Important information for all students returning to school on Monday 18 May 

Dear Parents and Caregivers, 

Monday 18 May is a big day for all our students, parents/caregivers, and staff. We are all looking forward to seeing our students back at school. 

We have been working on preparing our school for Alert Level 2 from the ministry guidelines. This update contains important information to reassure you that we have the necessary health, safety and hygiene measures in place. We want to ensure that your child’s return to school is a positive one for all. 

Botany Downs School will be following Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Health (MOH) advice: 

  • Enabling good hygiene practices – regular washing and drying of hands and good cough and sneeze etiquette remain fundamental to preventing spread of illness such as colds, flu and COVID-19. We will be reinforcing these practices at school and we encourage you to do the same. 
  • Cleaning – Additional cleaning of table surfaces, high touch areas, handles. 
  • Hand Sanitising – We have purchased a large stock of hand sanitiser: students and staff will be asked to use it each time they enter and exit the classroom and before eating if it is a wet day and we stay inside. 
  • Physical Distancing of staff and students – Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Health (MOH) have advised that in an Alert Level 2 school environment, this means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other. 
  • Keeping track of people who enter the school – through limited entry of parents/caregivers/visitors onto BDS site and a contact tracing register. 

IMPORTANT – Please read carefully 

Arrival and Departure from school 

  • We ask you to avoid coming into the school grounds unless absolutely necessary. 
  • At 8.30 am all 5 entrances to our school will be opened and supervised by a staff member. Gates will be open from 2.50 pm for our 3 pm finish and supervised by a staff member. 
  • All parents/caregivers and visitors who come onto our school site must be recorded in our contact tracing register. We do realise that some children (particularly our year 1 students) will require their parents to come on site with them. 
  • Should you need to accompany your child to their class, where possible remain outside the room distancing from other parents. 
  • The bus bay will be closed in the morning until further notice to ensure safety as this is a high congestion area. Please consider arranging a meeting point for dropping off and picking up your child. 
  • Students are to go straight to their classrooms on arrival. 

Contact Tracing Register 

  • We will be using our school app as our contact tracing register. This is currently under development and will be ready to use on Monday 18th May. We will be sending you further information in a separate newsletter. (We will also have a paper contact tracing register). 

5 year olds starting school 

  • All new 5 year old students starting school please go directly to the hall. Mrs Bethune will meet with you. 

Keep any sick children at home 

  • Even if your child has a cold they must stay at home. 
  • If your child becomes unwell at school you will be contacted as they must go home. 

Food and Drink at School 

  • Children need to bring a named water bottle as the water fountains will be closed. 
  • Children will not be permitted to share food. 
  • All food waste will be taken home. 
  • Deejays will not be open for school lunches until further notice. 


  • If your child is not attending school for any reason please ensure you follow our normal school procedures and report their absence to the school office, not the teacher. 


  • There will be no school assemblies until further notice. In week 7 (the second week back at school), we will resume our normal newsletter format with Special Terrific Person Award and Values bookmarks recorded to celebrate our students. These will be given out in class by Vicki Parkins and Lisa Bethune on Friday. 

Make Contact 

  • If you or your child have any concerns or queries about the return to school please contact your child’s class teacher or our Acting Deputy Principal Lisa Bethune or Acting Principal Vicki Parkins. 


  • Please return all devices (Chromebooks and iPads) and the cords that have been loaned to your family during Alert Level 3 to the front room of the hall on Monday 18 May, at 8.30am. If you have been loaned a device from us you will be receiving an individual email from Susan Heath with further instructions tomorrow, so please look out for this. 

Message from SKIDS 

  • SKIDS will be running back to normal from Monday 18th May. Parents will be allowed on the school grounds ONLY to the hall to sign their children in and out. You will need to follow the new sign-in process. Please download any QR scanner app from your app store, as this will help with our contactless signing. 

Any questions please email Wayne at:wayne@skids.co.nz 

We look forward to welcoming the students back on Monday 18 May. Thank you for your ongoing support over these challenging times. 

Kind Regards, 

Vicki Parkins 

Acting Principal 


Tues 12 May – School is back next week: 
Yesterday we all heard the news that school will be fully open next week. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Monday 18th May.
To ensure the transition back to school is a positive experience, our focus will be on providing a calm, happy and settled start to school. It will be a time for everyone to reconnect again and become familiar with our school routines.

At Level 2, your child’s school and learning experience will be very similar to what they are used to. They will be back learning and playing with their friends. There are however, some public health measures that will be in place which means some things will be a little different.

We are putting together our plans for Botany Downs Primary at Alert Level 2 and we will be sending this out to you in the near future. We are so looking forward to being back at school and seeing our Botany Downs students again.


Special Notice to all Parents


Please remember to go to the Ministry of Health website for information about COVID-19.

It is extremely important for all of us to understand what being in lockdown means and what we must all be doing to keep ourselves safe in coming weeks.

The link below gives you this information in other languages.



For more information you can access the Ministry of Health website (with Chinese translation): MOH translated materials

Learning at Home: All parents should receive information about learning at home from team leaders. Please follow this link the Learning from Home page on our school website where you will find some useful links to learning websites that might interest you and your children. 

Kind regards, 

Mr T



Whittaker’s Fundraiser!

The chocolate fundraiser is back! The funds raised from this event contributes about 1/2 of the entire year’s fundraising, so we need your support. Each family will recieve a box of Whittaker’s chocolates to sell. This year, if you would prefer, you can donate directly the amount that we would usually raise per box, and return your chocolates.

Alternatively, sell a whole box or more to go into the draw to win some great prizes!

Biggest Seller –

1st: family pass to Rainbow’s End and 4 Hoyts Movie passes

2nd: family pass to Butterfly Creek

3rd: 2 passes for Ice Skating and Mini Golf at Paradice Ice in Botany

… plus lucky prize draws.

For every box sold, each students will recieve a Lone Star kids meal voucher!

Police Helicopter…

There was much excitement on Monday when the Police Helicopter popped in to visit! With the children watching from a safe distance, they landed in the field and with the rotors off, invited the children to come in close to have a look. Accompanied by police cars and officers it was a fun way to start the week, and we were lucky they could come and visit us.

A very big Thankyou to the officers for taking the time to chat to the children and to Constable Smith for organising this treat for Botany Downs.

Super Smash Reading Challenge

Here’s a fun reading challenge to help keep your children reading over the long summer break.

It is free to sign up and easy to do – register on the Super Smash website, pick a team to ‘play’ for and log
each book that is read over the summer. There are cool prizes up for grabs too!
To register and for more information go to reading-challenge.org.nz

Middle School Poetry Recital

Naomi, Charlie and Blake

On Friday the 8th of November, the Middle Syndicate held their poetry
recital finals. Each class selected 2 finalists to represent them at this
The quality of the recitals was extremely high and it made for a very
difficult decision for the judges.
Congratulations to all who took part, and to the following poetry winners:
1st place – Blake Lundgren (Room 22)
2nd place – Charlie McNae (Room 23)
3rd place – Naomi Le Roux (Room 22)

Congratulations to…

Ella Zhou – winner of an art competition to celebrate the release of the picture book Scary Tales for Brave Kids.

Angelo Su’a – second place in the Howick Pakuranga Speech competition. Sixteen local schools competed..

Speech Finals!

Congratulations to the following students who were finalists in the speech competition held recently in the hall. They all spoke well in front of a big audience and the judges.

2019 Speech finalists

Year 5

  • Alpha Shi – My BFFs – Books Forever Fantastic
  • Isla Donaldson – Our Beautiful World
  • Cameron Smith – Books Are Better Than Movies
  • Amber Newson – What We Should Actually Learn In School
  • Angelo Su’a – We Don’t Need Homework
  • Nathan Wang – Benefits Of Student Council

Year 6

  • Kayleigh Thistlethwaite – People Should Smile More
  • Zeena Williams – Stop Animal Cruelty
  • Linaya Karunatillake – We Are All Unique
  • Casey Ferguson – The Tricks Of The Trade
  • Roxie Lindgreen – Dwayne Johnson Is The Best Actor Of All  Time
  • Alex Johnson – Being A Natural  Red-Head Is The Best

The results were:

1st Angelo Su’a

2nd Linaya Karunatillake

3rd Alex Johnson

Angelo, Linaya and Alex

Kōanga Festival

Our wonderful Kapa Haka team gave an amazing performance at the recent Kōanga Festival. The team represented the school with mana and showed great commitment, courtesy and enthusiasm. After their performance, they recieved an awhi haka from the Howick College kapa haka group – a very special honour. A very big thankyou to Mrs Takaiti, Ms Wright, and Mrs Carr for supporting our students and preparing them for this special event.

Storylines Author Visit

A group of Year 5 & 6 students had the opportunity to meet award winning author Janet Hunt. A non-fiction writer who writes about New Zealand’s wildlife and environment, she inspired the students with her stories from the Wildbase Hospital in Palmerston North. The visit was part of the Storylines National Festival Story tour and we were thrilled to be included.

Author Visit for Book Week –

We enjoyed meeting New Zealand author Juliette MacIver. She read her stories and told us about being a writer and how she writes her wonderful rhyming stories! We also got to come to school on Friday dressed as our favourite book character!

Room 3 showed Juliette their artwork based on her book.

Lucky winners on Character Dress-up Day
New School App!

Exciting news – Botany Downs has a new app! Go to your phone’s app store and download the SchoolAppsNZ app today to keep in touch with what is happening at school. Record absences, check notices and the school calendar… all at the touch of a button!