General Information

FAQs

What are Ako Groups?

Each student is placed in an Ako Group. AKO Groups meet daily for prayer, roll check and the daily notices. Your daughter will remain in that Group for her years at the College. Sisters are placed in the same House but different AKO Groups.

Twice each week there is an extended Ako time of 30 minutes where students collaborate on a variety of different activities. These activities encourage them to build connections and grow relationships with students across different year levels and their kaiako.

What is Peer Support?

Selected Year 12 students are trained to become Peer Support Leaders. The purpose of this scheme is to help Year 9 students settle into Villa. Year 9 students spend a lot of time with their Peer Support Leaders in the first few weeks of the school year and these relationships are maintained throughout the year to provide assistance and support when needed.

What is the Guidance Network?

Selected Year 12 students are trained to become Peer Support Leaders. The purpose of this scheme is to help Year 9 students settle into Villa. Year 9 students spend a lot of time with their Peer Support Leaders in the first few weeks of the school year and these relationships are maintained throughout the year to provide assistance and support when needed.

What reporting is there to parents/caregivers?

Reporting to parents on student progress is a combination of written reporting and face-to-face conferences.

Effort and Attitude grades are reported via the online Parent Portal every two weeks. Towards the start of the year, Ako Conferences are held. This is an opportunity for parents to meet their daughter’s Ako Teacher and for the students to share their goals for the year. Later in the year there will be a second round of Ako Conferences where academic progress will be the focus as well as a general pastoral overview.

There are also several school events, particularly in Term 1, where students, teachers and parents can connect with each other. Dates for all these events will be published well in advance on the school calendar and notifications emailed and sent through the School App. If you have general queries you would like to discuss, please contact your daughter’s Ako Teacher or Head of House. If the query is subject related, please contact the classroom teacher in the first instance.

Is there a canteen?

Yes! Morning tea and Lunch is available from our Canteen each day. Pre-orders can be made by text.

How do I know what buildings are where?

A map of the College can be found here. You can also view a Virtual Tour here.

Are mobile phones allowed at school?

Cell phone use is restricted during interval and lunchtime. Students can use their phones for the first five minutes of lunchtime to check messages as needed. The phones are then to be put away. If a student is using their phones after this time, they will be removed and kept at the main office for safekeeping until the end of the day.

Parents are encouraged not to contact their child during the day unless it is an emergency. You will still be able to contact your daughters in an emergency by calling the student office or the main office.

Year 7 and 8 students will have phones locked away during the day.

This policy is designed to:

Strengthen face-to-face communication, collaboration skills and active participation in learning

Support self-management and remove distractions

Support wellbeing, provide time, and space away from social media.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mrs Megan Cassidy, Deputy Principal mca@villa.school.nz

Are there lockers for students to use?

Year 9 students are given first option of having a locker. Students choose a locker in an area of the school that is convenient for them. We highly recommend Year 9 students take up the opportunity for a locker. New Year 7s will be allocated a locker by their Home Teacher.

What is the policy on make-up, hair, and jewellery?

In addition to wearing the Villa uniform with pride, there are additional requirements as follows:

Hair – is expected to be tidy, off the face and if long, always tied back. Hair should not be of a style or colour that is inappropriate with the school uniform.

Jewellery – a watch and plain or birthstone stud or sleeper earrings, one in each ear lobe, may be worn. Necklaces of religious or cultural significance may be worn under the school uniform, but should not be visible. No other jewellery, including facial piercings, is permitted. Only official Villa Maria badges and bars can be worn.

Make-up – the wearing of make up at school is not allowed and students will be asked to remove it. Coloured nail polish may not be worn.

How do I report an absence?

We ask parents/caregivers to advise the school before 8:30am through the School App or by leaving a message on ph: 348 4165 (following the instructions to record an absence message). This also applies to appointments during the school day.

Please include the reason for the absence. If your daughter needs to leave for an appointment, please notify us of the time your daughter will leave AND her expected return to school. If a student is marked absent without explanation, a text message and email will be sent to the primary parent/caregiver. If you receive one of these texts/emails, please reply as soon as possible, providing a reason. Unexplained absences are treated as truancy.

If a student will be absent from school during term time, a letter or email from the parent/caregiver requesting the leave should be sent to the Principal and copied to the Head of House, giving the dates and reason for the planned absence. With the exception of some school- related or medical events, students absent during term time are likely to be ineligible for assessments held during their absences. We encourage such notifications to be submitted as early as possible. We strongly urge parents not to take their daughters out of school during term time.

What happens if a student feels unwell during the day?

If a student becomes unwell during the day, she will go to the Student Office, where the sick bay is located. If she is in class at the time, the subject teacher will send a note with her to the Student Office. The office staff will then record her name when she arrives and if she needs to go home, the office staff will call her parents/caregivers. Before the student leaves to go home, they must sign out.

What if a student has an appointment to attend?

Students are encouraged to book appointments outside of school hours where possible. If a student needs to leave school for an appointment during the day, a parent/caregiver must notify the school via the School App or by phone, to give permission. Eg. “<student name> is leaving for an appointment at 11.15, returning to school 12.15” or “<student name> is leaving for an appointment at 11.15 and will not be returning to school today”. The student must sign out at the Student Office.

What happens if a student is late?

We understand there are many reasons that could make a student late to school on the odd occasion. Should this occur, students are required to sign in at the Student Office. Should this occur more frequently, the Head of House will meet with the student to find ways to manage the lateness.

How does the school communicate?

School App – The Villa App enables key messages to be sent out via phones and is free to download. We highly recommend parents and students download the FREE App so as to receive important school alerts, activity alerts, report absences and check the school’s daily notices and calendar.

(Download SchoolAppsNZ to your device and set Villa Maria College as the default)

Email – This is our main form of communication with parents and caregivers and any correspondence will be sent to you in this manner. Please advise if your contact details change during the year.

Newsletter – Villa Connect is our weekly newsletter sent out by email every Friday afternoon. It contains a summary of the week’s key events, student achievements and upcoming important dates.

Daily Notices – these are made available on screens in every classroom at the start of the day. The notices cover all the details that students need to know about the day ahead. Notices are also available on the School App for students and parents to access.

Parent Portal – This is the place to go to access up to date information on absences, grades, reports etc. While we encourage students to regularly share this information, you will be given log in details to access this information.

What are the best ways to arrive or leave each day?

Peer Street and Brodie Street are both very busy at the start and end of the school day and caution is needed when dropping students off or picking them up.

Students MUST use the pedestrian crossings to always ensure their safety. Please do not drive up the Peer Street driveway to drop students off or collect them.

Cycle racks are provided around the school and students should walk their bike to the gate before riding. Cyclists are to wear appropriate safety gear and bring their own lock to secure their bike.

School App

To download the College App, search your App Store for “SchoolAppsNZ”, download and set Villa Maria College as your default school.

Bell Times

Transport Assistance

Families may be eligible to apply for help from the Ministry of Education with transport if they meet certain criteria.