Parent Update – 30 August

30 Aug 2021

As you may have heard late last week NZQA has pushed out the dates for end-of-year NCEA and NZ Scholarship exams by two weeks. They will now run from Monday 22 November until Tuesday 14 December. There has also been an extension for portfolio submissions (e.g., art related subjects, DVC). These two changes will give students and schools more time to prepare for the end of the year.

This new timeline means we have adjusted our key dates accordingly to maximise preparation time with our senior students. With the uncertainty of when we will return to site under Alert Level 2, the senior school exams have also been pushed out to next term. Senior award ceremonies will also look different this year as we prioritise maximum face-to-face learning for students with their teacher’s next term. At this stage we anticipate that the senior awards, if allowed to take place, will be combined year levels and held for award recipients only. Once we know the date of our return to campus and be back on full timetable, we will have a better understanding of the parameters we have to work within.

Today’s update includes information on:
  • Changes to key dates.
  • NZQA timetable changes.
  • Students working during school hours.
  • Graduation dinner.
  • Our Way.
  • A word from our Counsellors.

Key Dates:

Term 3:

Week 10 – New exam date for Level 1 MCAT.

Term 4:

Week 1 – Tuesday 19 October
Levels 1-3 school exams start

Public Holiday – Monday 25 October

Week 2 – Friday 29 October
Levels 1-3 school exams conclude

Week 3 – Friday 5 November
Graduation dinner

Week 7 – Friday 3 December at 7pm
Senior award ceremonies (combined levels)

NCEA Timetable Changes:

NZQA external exams and portfolio-based date changes will now run from Monday 22 November until Tuesday 14 December:

  • Timetable –
  • Portfolios – Due dates for portfolio submissions will also be pushed back by two weeks. There are some possible changes to Level 3 submissions though as soon as we are informed, we will update students.As the length of time we are likely to remain in lockdown becomes clearer, there are extra steps the Government may take, such as reintroducing Learning Recognition Credits, or making changes to the thresholds for Endorsements and University Entrance. NZQA are working with the Minister’s Professional Advisory Group and schools so that we would be in a position to implement them depending on the duration of Alert Levels 3 and 4.

    Students working during school hours: – a note from the Ministry of Education

It’s important that young people remain engaged in their learning under the current Alert Level conditions.

For students under 16, it is illegal to work during school hours under Section 54 of the Education and Training Act 2020. If employers are putting pressure on students to work during school hours, you may wish to advise them that it is illegal. For older students it is essential that young people remain engaged in their learning so that their future opportunities for work or learning are not impacted.

We encourage parents/caregivers and students to work with their Whānau Leader or a Deputy Principal if you have any queries or concerns. We need to ensure students are engaged in learning during scheduled learning hours and that the demands of work are balanced to look after students’ wellbeing.

Graduation Dinner:

Graduation Dinner will be on Friday 5 November which was set prior to lockdown and the shift of the NZQA exams. It is being held at the Ellerslie Events Centre commencing at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm) and we anticipate the evening will conclude around 10:30pm.

The evening will honour our graduating Year 13 students and include a formal buffet dinner, a guest speaker and the presentation of graduation certificates and medals. As this is a school event, students will not be permitted to consume alcohol, even in the presence of their parents/guardians.  A cash bar will be available for parents and adult guests only.

More information will follow outlining ticket prices and how to purchase these.  Please be aware that students with outstanding activity fees will need to pay the total due before graduation tickets may be purchased (this excludes families who have set up regular automatic payments).  If you have any queries regarding outstanding fees or would like to set up an automatic payment now, please email or

Our Way:

Our school uses the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) framework to help define, teach, and support appropriate student behaviours. PB4L is all about teaching students the expected behaviour, just like we teach any other subject at school.

“If a student does not know how to read, we teach.
If a student does not know how to swim, we teach.
If a student does not know how to multiply, we teach.
If a student does not know how to behave, we teach.”

The framework is based on international evidence and is helping numerous New Zealand schools build a culture where positive behaviour and learning is a way of life. It’s not about changing the students; it’s about changing the environment, systems, and practices to support students to make positive behaviour choices.  ‘Our Way’ of being at BDSC encapsulates our core values of respect, excellence, integrity, and empathy.

We have used the BDSC acronym to help students remember Our Way:
B – Be respectful.
D – Do your best.
S – Show integrity.
C – Care for others.

At BDSC we have a team of staff and students who, based on what the data shows, choose a focus for half a term. For the month of September our focus is on our value ‘Care for Others’, with a particular emphasis on being kind to others and being kind to oneself. The Student Our Way team has created a calendar with an activity for each day and we encourage students and whānau to get involved with this during September.

A word from the Counsellors:

Online life: due to lockdown, many of us are spending even more time looking at a screen.

This can be exhausting and leave us feeling out of balance. Here are some helpful tips for you to consider:

  • Schedule 2 hours per day of screen free time, alone, as a bubble or as a family unit. This may feel strange at first but give it a go! In this 2-hour time slot you could: play board games or cards, do some art and craft, have a working bee in the garden, do some baking, go for a long walk, have a snooze.
  • Limit the amount of time you are watching news feeds. Often the same information is just being repeated and checking the news frequently can increase our levels of anxiety unnecessarily.
  • Be mindful of where you are accessing information about the Covid-19 Pandemic. For factual Covid-19 information, please visit: /
  • Sometimes online life can get complicated! Here are a couple of helpful websites on managing tricky situations online: /

Counselling service is available for students during school hours while we are in lockdown. You can make referrals via Or you can email your school counsellor for an appointment if you already have one.

For more useful information and important contact numbers, please read the Counselling Team’s full newsletter on our website

Take care of yourselves.

Karen Brinsden


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