Our teaching and learning programme is based on the NZ National Curriculum Framework, which is laid down by the Ministry of Education.  We interpret and develop our delivery of the curriculum, appropriate to the learning needs of our children. Our teachers are committed to keeping up to date with current educational practice.

When referring to a student it is about the student's knowledge and capacity:

  • to act and make a difference
  • to have choices and the ability to act on those choices
  • to direct learning and take responsibility for their own learning
  • to empower self learning
  • to contribute to the learning of others and how their learning community operates
  • understanding the process of how they learn and how to unlearn

Graduate Profile

At Witherlea, we believe in a broad curriculum based on using local experts and community  experiences. Students learn in and out of the classroom and the Graduate Profile for our students comes from the colocated colleges wider community consultation in 2017.

After our own consultation in 2018, along with our new Vision, we adopted these six aspirations for our learners as they travel through each team at Witherlea on their individual learning journey.

Global identity: Tuakiri - Our students explore who they are, their heritage and develop cultural awareness on a local and global scale.

Sustainability: Kaitiakitanga - Our students explore and start to understand and apply sustainable approaches.

Creativity and Innovation: Auahatanga - Our students explore creative & innovative thinking to their learning, building the foundation for future problem-solving.

Personal Management: Rangatiratanga - Our students build capacities for resilience, tenacity, adaptability and confidence to succeed in anything they set out to achieve.

Effective Relationships: Whakawhanaungatanga - Through collaborative learning approaches, our students explore and build relationships that help them to learn  and achieve together.

Student-Centred Learning: Ako Arotahinga - Creating personalised learning environments where students are inspired and supported to be the best they can be.

Support Programmes

Extra support in the classroom for some students is essential so Witherlea School provides, outside of Ministry funding, teacher aides. This is vital to the success of ALL students and we are lucky to have highly capable and trained supoprt workers. The donation at the beginning of the year goes towards funding this important resource in our classrooms.

We have several support programmes for children who need extra. These programmes take place during classroom hours. They may include; STEPS programme, Reading Recovery, in class support for literacy, mathematics and social skills.

Digital Technology

All children complete a cyber safety form when they enrol at Witherlea as we believe in Digital Citizenship; how we behave online is more important than actually being online.


We are a GAFE School: Google Apps for Education and our network is provided and supported by N4L; Network for Learning. This enables them to act as a watchdog entity and provide onging digital support.  All students have google accounts and access to a range of software and research media.  We have approved site access for pupils to the Internet and we pay for and run Hapara which enables teachers to see everything that children are accessing and sending (even deleted items) while online at school and home, if using their school google account.


Hub 4-6 are digitally enhanced and have 1-1 device opportunities. In 2020 the Digital Technologies Curriculum will roll out accross New Zealand. Witherlea School is preparing for this by reviewing their Digital Technologies Delivery Plan and philosophy for teaching.


All pupils take part in Physical Education and sporting activities.  Involvement in Phys. Ed. during school time is compulsory. All children at Witherlea have Fundamentals in Term Two and Swim Week in Term Three; both are held at the Stadium Complex and all students are bused their (this is in our activity fee section).

We hold have an aquatics programme Term One and Four at school, Cross Country and Athletics where our Year 5-6 students are selected for the Inter-school Competitions. We also participate in the annual Marlborough Tournaments; cricket, rugby sevens, rippa, and hockey.

We operate a range of sports teams where students can represent Witherlea School, all families can access and register for these via our Sports Hub;

  • Volleyball
  • Tennis
  • Flipper Ball
  • Hockey (Winter)
  • Basketball
  • Netball

Clubs organise their own teams for other sports codes, such as; athletics, rugby, cricket and soccer.

Ms Phoebe Meyrick is our Sports Coordinator and can be contacted via email; phoebem@witherlea.school.nz


In the swimming season, all children take part in aquatics unless excused by a note from you.  Named clothing is essential, and independence in changing is appreciated. The pool is filtered and maintained in top condition throughout the summer in Term One and Term Four.

PLEASE REMEMBER that even when the weather is cool, the teacher will make a decision if there is swimming or not, so swimming gear should be sent along EVERY DAY.

Swim Week is held in Term Three each year and all children are given professional lessons in small groups at the Stadium Complex; this sets them up for Term Four aquatics at school, camp and the holiday season.

EOTC: Education Outside The Classroom

We have a policy of involving the students in Outdoor Education.  Our Year 4-6 students begin the stayover version of EOTC through Camps; Year 4 students use Pine Valley, Year 5 students use Mistletoe Bay and our Year 6 students use Bridge Valley or Lake Rotoiti. All other year groups take day adventures around our local community including White’s Bay.

Te Ao Maori and Kapa Haka

We are very proud of our Kapa Haka group and the development in the last couple of years which has seen it grow.  They practise on Monday, 2pm – 3pm and perform at various functions; Gala, Marae Visits and Taiopenga in two sections called Tuakana (Senior - Year 4-6) and Teina (Junior - Year 1-3), under the capable guidance of our Te Ao Team and Whaea Merehira

Teachers from across the school form this group. Students of all ages are encouraged to join and celebrate their; identity, language and culture. While Kapa Haka is on, all teachers in the classrooms have a programme focused on; Te Reo Maori, study of the culture and other cultures from around the world.

The whole school takes part in Mihi Whakatau which is the practice/procedure of welcoming guests, new staff or important people to our school. We use part of our Te Ao afternoon (Monday) to learn new songs and the kaupapa of this practice at Witherlea. We know it is important for all staff and studetns to understand and value the unique culture of New Zealand.

We use our Kapa Haka tane and wahine in our Flag Ceremony each Monday morning to perform the Karanga and Haka section of our National Anthem. This provides them with further and ongoing performance opportunities. We use this ceremony to develop our knowledge of other cultural groups across the school using our diverse range of native languages.

The Arts Curriuclum

At Witherlea School the pupils take part in the cultural aspects of education.  Art, music, dance, drama and public speaking are an important part of the school programme, and we have an active participation in these fields.  Our school has had considerable success in the cultural subjects, just as it has in its sporting activities.


Naomi Anderson and PJ Muir are our Art Leaders and while Choir practices on a Tuesday afternoon all other children across the school are learning in the disciplines of; drama, dance including Jump Jam, Visual Art and Music. Every three years the whole school uses the Arts Afternoon to be ‘stage ready’ for the Marlborough Dance Festival - 2019 is our next performance year.

As students move up through our school, we encourage them to take on greater responsibilities and we have developed our own unique Arts Leadership Roles at Witherlea. 2019 has seen the creation of an Assembly Team who leads the assemblies with support from PJ Muir and our Jump Jam Leaders from Year 5-6 support the classes across the school to learn and participate through the guidance of Naomi Anderson.


Naomi Anderson leads our wonderful choir.  They practise for school performances and special functions.  Choir practice is 2pm – 3pm on a Tuesday during Arts Afternoon. These students are aged Year 4-6 and they have; the Gala, Music Festival, assemblies and school events to perform at.


Drama Club is held in Term Three and Four led by PJ Muir and this is used to practice the skills associated with Drama or towards an end of year production.


Student Leadership

As students move up through our school and into the Kauri Team, we encourage them to take on greater responsibilities and leadership roles.  Year five and six students are appointed to carry out specific tasks to help around our school. These include; librarians, Enviro Team, dishes, messengers, hall seating, Wet Day Monitors, Jump Jam leaders, PE Shed Monitors, the Assembly Team and the Techie Team. This is part of our rich participating and contributing culture we have developed at Witherlea School.

Mr Funnell, our Deputy Principal, runs the Student Leadership Programme at Witherlea School where Year 5-6 students who display potential as leaders are given opportunities and training in the areas of; Road Patrol, Peer Mediation, Medical Monitors, and the Communications Team.


The COMs Team is chosen at the end of each year following nominations from teachers and an application process. Students need to have a significant level of Independence to be able to lead the school and be part of this group. Mr Funnell leads this group of students who organise many of the events, Flag Ceremony, Certificate Assemblies and write for the weekly post which is given out on Monday mornings.


Every year a new team of trained mediators is available in the playground at break times to help children to solve disputes.  If your child tells you they have problems during these times, please encourage them to seek a peer mediator for assistance. Major problems should be taken to staff that are on duty at all times.


Every class elects a representative at the start of the year to be on the Pupil Council.  Ms Harnett works with this group and each year they have a small portion of fundraising money to use; to update, upgrade facilities or purchase equipment that students across the school would like. They also take a lead role in the Matariki Community Hui.


Our Year 5-6 students become eligible for Road Patrol which is a trained job through NZ Police. Students who are in Year 4-5 in Term 4 will be asked to take home a letter which then leads to the training. After the training students will be selected for Road Patrol and need to commit for the school year at least one week per year on either the Weld Street or Wither Road Patrols. This job is for students who can turn up on time and have the confidence to control the traffic.

We are always in need of parent supervisors for the morning as the students cannot run Kea Crossings on their own.


The students who fulfil these positions are highly organised and reliable.

Parent Help & Volunteers

A large group of parents are involved in a variety of ways in helping our school.  We welcome assistance from parents / caregivers and other community members in such activities as:

  •     In-class assistance (early words programme, reading to and with students)
  •     Outdoor education - camps
  •     School trips
  •     Managing or coaching sports teams
  •     Making classroom equipment
  •     Before school Road Patrol
  •     Music teaching – or any other area of expertise you may have

If you have time to spare and would like to be involved please contact a team leader. From time to time other people work in the school for a variety of reasons including University College of Education students, Public Health Nurse, Police, Secondary School students and outside experts. We require visitors to our school to sign the visitors’ book at the office upon arrival and all volunteers need to be Police Vetted.

Other ways to support are through our strong Parent Group Committee which is our WSPCG.

Intermediate School

Witherlea School feeds into Bohally Intermediate and we run a transition programme through Phil Funnell (Deputy Principal) and Matt Robertson (Assistant Principal: Senior School). Some students require more transitioning than others and we have strong relationships with our colleagues so our children are supported.

As of February 2020, Bohally School will adopt a 'Home Zone'. It will be important for parents and caregivers to make contact with Bohally, if they are outside of the Witherlea School Zone to check their status. Bohally will run a ballot system for students who are outside their 'Home Zone'.

Home Learning

Witherlea School does not support the handing out of worksheets and busy time filling activities for homework. We do believe that practicing some essential skills like; reading, spelling and basic fact knowledge which can reinforce learning from school however this should be an enjoyable time for parents and students.

We also encourage our kids to get on with playing and learning through doing...they have had a full day of focussed work at school. Many students can access learning through class blogs and websites and continue learning and inquiry from home.

Learning that you may expect throughout the school, set up between the teacher and home could include;

  • Reading mileage / practice (especially in the junior school)
  • Phonics / sight words
  • Essential spelling lists
  • Basic facts
  • Mathematics games
  • Writing mileage
  • Inquiry preparation and/or items for school
  • Leadership Tasks (Year 5-6 students)

Other options for Home Learning are; reading library books that your child brings home, cooking or play games together, board games, team sport, music or drama lessons, Scouts, Girl Guides or just the old fashioned notion of getting outside and having some fun.

If you are really intent on further practice then there are a number of workbooks that you can purchase in bookshops. Remember our children have already put in a full day’s work before they get home to you.