To educate each girl in a safe, supportive, Christian environment, to be a confident, lifelong learner.


Please phone the school office before 9am if your daughter is going to be absent giving the reason for her absence. Teachers have to indicate this on the digital attendance system.  You can phone before school starts and leave a message on the answer machine.  Please include your daughter’s surname.  Please do not email the teacher to notify for absences or for appointments outside of school.  Contact the office.

If your daughter arrives late, or leaves early, she must see Mrs McEntyre at the school office who will fill in the Daily Absence book.



Accounts for Term Payments are sent out at the beginning of each term.  These are to be paid to School Support Southland, Box 390, Invercargill.  Unless paying by automatic payment, all term invoices are due by the middle of each term.  Details of bank account numbers to pay accounts into will be sent out with the first invoice. Most invoices are Board of Trustees.  The only Board of Proprietor invoices are Attendance Dues and the Proprietors Donation.  Most payments are digital.  Any cash payments (including cheques) must be made at the school office.

Payments for stationery, uniform, camps etc should be paid immediately on receipt of an invoice or notification of cost, clearly referencing the payment with the reason for the payment and your daughter’s name, eg uniform June Smith.



At the end of the year each girl is awarded an Achievement Certificate at prize giving which is a record of her involvement and achievements for the year.



This is a convenient, safe service and is available every week day in the library from 3.15 – 5.15p.m.  Attendance may be on a day to day, or weekly basis. You do not have to book in.  It is a great back up for that odd time when you are running late.  Just phone the office and we will organise for your daughter to attend or if your daughter has a cell phone, leave a message for her.  Please don’t phone the office on a regular basis to put your child into After School Care.  This should be organised with your child before school.  We are happy to assist the odd time.

The girls are provided with a light snack and homework assistance/supervision and play time, outside if fine.  The minimum charge is $2.  Payment for casual attendance is due the day of attendance.  All other payments are due at the end of the week. Unfortunately, there is no Before School Care.

After School Care 2018 Charges:

3.15 – 3.30 – $2

3.15 – 4.15 – $5

3.15 – 5.15 – $8


For more information, contact Noeleen Wilson, phone 021 210 1031.  Noeleen operates After School Care from 2.15pm during interviews.



Girls may arrive at school after 8.20am.  Staff are not responsible for your daughter if she is dropped off earlier than 8.20am.  Prior to this is teacher preparation time.  You can help your daughter become more independent by dropping her at the gate and encouraging her to get organised by herself.

Ideally girls need to be at school by 8.30am so that they have time to get organised for the day.



We have an assembly every morning at 8.45am run by the house captains/deputies.  Line-up is at 8.40am. Messages are shared and talents celebrated.  Assembly begins with a reading and finishes with a prayer.  Parents/grandparents are always welcome.



Our school is part of the All Saints Sports Zone along with St Patrick’s, St Theresa’s, Southland Adventist Christian School, Sacred Heart and the Trinity schools – St Joseph’s and St Teresa’s Bluff.

In term 1, students who are 8- 10 years of age compete annually at Surrey Park. Students who qualify in certain events then progress to represent the All Saints Zone at the Southland Athletics Competition.

The fastest two, seven year olds compete on a day before the zone sports.  They are also able to continue to the Southland meet if they qualify.

Our 11 and 12 year old girls compete against each other.  If they meet the necessary standard, they may go on to represent the zone at the Southland meet.



The girls may wear a house badge, speech and dance exam badges, librarian badge, aviary badge, choir badge, stripes and if applicable house captain and deputy badges on their uniform.



We have spent many hours creating a wonderful Basic Facts programme.  When children lose the container and/or the cards, you will be invoiced $5 to replace the container and $5 to replace the cards.



8.20 am                                   Girls may arrive at school after this time

8.40 am                                   Line up for assembly

8.45 am                                   Assembly.

10.30 – 10.50am                     Interval – the office is unmanned but the answer phone will be on.

12 noon – 1.00pm                   Lunch (office is unmanned 12 – 12.30pm)

1.40pm                                    End of first afternoon period

2.20pm                                    End of second afternoon period

2.55pm                                    End of school warning bell

3.00pm                                    End of school

3.15pm                                    All day girls are to be off the school grounds unless they are with an adult.  If any girls are still at school, they are put into the After School Programme and parents are charged accordingly.  The minimum charge is $2.  This is a wonderful back up if you are running late.



We celebrate birthdays in assembly and in the classrooms in our own way.  Please do not send any birthday food/treats to school. This very easily gets out of control.

Unfortunately, the same is happening at Christmas.  We enjoy seeing the girls share Christmas cards with lovely personal messages but please no treats or gifts.



The Board of Trustees is responsible for the running of the educational side of the school.  The Board of Proprietors is primarily concerned with property, the Special Character and Gilmour House.  The boards work well together.  The BOT meet monthly and the BOP once a term.   Meetings are advertised in the school newsletter.

Mrs Keri Bryan is the BOT chair and Mr Phil Muir, the BOP chair.



Every new pupil to the school purchases a St John’s Girls’ School book bag.  This is fantastic way to carry homework home, books to other classes etc.  It is required every day.



Pupils may order books from Scholastic New Zealand Book Club once a term.   Cheques are to be made payable to St John’s Girls’ School.  This cannot be paid online or through School Support.



Girls in Years 5 – 8 need an iPad, mini or full.  Year 4 girls in Room 4 also require one.

  • It must be named.
  • It is brought to school at her own risk. We will provide safe storage at breaks.
  • 3G or 4G browsing devices may not be used at school as we are unable to monitor them.
  • They need to be charged and ready for use each day.

They are not to be used at breaks without teacher permission.

Girls in the junior school are welcome to bring an iPad but it is not an expectation.



Years 6, 7 and 8 attend a camp during the year.

Year 6 – an adventure camp at Camp Columba, 21st – 23rd March, approximate cost $200.

Year 7 – a cultural camp in Dunedin 4th – 6th April, approximate cost- $200.

Year 8 – Deep Cove, 9th – 13th April, estimated cost – $260. Mrs Lang will be the backup staff member.

Teachers will send notices out seeking interest from parents to accompany their daughter on camp.  Unfortunately, if there are a lot of parents interested, we will not be able to take everyone.



We are fortunate to have a wonderful group called the Care Network who quietly provide support for those in our school community who need it from time to time.  The purpose of the Care Network is to coordinate and support St John’s Girls’ School families and staff in times of genuine need.  This builds on the values of the school.  The aim is to build on the positive relationships, work together and help each other whilst respecting confidentiality, to help people with the little things, as well as the big.

The SJGS Care Network Committee are a sub group of the SJGS PTA: Glenda Corson, Liz Doherty, Maria O’Donnell, and Ange Pope.  If you need assistance, they can be contacted through the following email:sjgscarenetwork@gmail.com



These are a wonderful way for you to keep in touch with your daughter especially if after school arrangements change.  They are also useful for bus girls to have as a back-up.  The girls are not to use them during school time but may check them at interval/lunchtime as required.



All pupils have a weekly Christian Education lesson and are expected to attend and take part in the Easter Service and Christmas Service.  Mrs Provis – Black takes these classes.



Our Christmas service is held at St John’s Church on Friday 7th December at 1.30pm.  All girls are expected to attend.  The girls and staff will travel there and back by bus.



Email is a fabulous communication tool but it comes with the expectation that the recipient will reply immediately.  I do not expect staff to reply to emails in their personal time.  It is likely that you may not receive a reply until the next day or even later, depending on the urgency of the matter. Teachers often do not have time or the opportunity to check their emails during the day so if you have an urgent message, please send it to the office so it is not over looked.



Please read the Communication and Complaints Procedure which is attached at the end of this handbook.  We work hard to communicate with families about events and changes as well as celebrating the successes of the girls.  We encourage you to make a time to see us should you wish to discuss your daughter’s progress if you have any concerns.  In most instances, the homeroom teacher is the first person to discuss your concern with.  It is always better to make an appointment early rather than wait.



All cyclists are to enter through the Avenal Street entrance.



Pupils have dance as part of the school programme.  The dance uniform is their P.E. top and lycra bike shorts available from the school.  The girls get changed in the break before their dance lesson and wear their PE shorts over the lycra shorts until the dance class starts, to prevent laddering. All girls from Year 3 upwards sit a dance exam at the end of term 3.  Term 1 dance is preparing for the House Aerobics competition.  Term 2 and 3 is preparation for the exams.  Term 4 is spent preparing a class dance.



Pupils visit the Dental Therapist at Waihopai School.  Parents accompany their daughter.  Please inform us if your child will not be attending this clinic.



The Easter Service is at St John’s Church at 1.30pm on Thursday 29th March.  The girls will travel there and back by bus.



We have a silver enviro award so sustainable practices are important to the school.  Paper and cardboard rubbish is placed in the recycle skip and we ask that all lunch rubbish is taken home.  Many girls use recyclable containers for their sandwiches.



If your daughter has forgotten something, please go to the school office to drop it off.  Likewise, if you are picking your daughter up for an appointment, get her to meet you at the office so she can sign out.  For your daughter’s safety, we need to know who is on the grounds at all times.



Entrances are from Avenal Street and Dee Street.  We encourage the use of Avenal Street as the traffic flow along Dee Street is heavy, especially in the mornings.  If you are popping into the office briefly and it is not at the beginning of the day or end of the day, please feel free to park in the carpark or along the drive.

For safety reasons, please:

  • Only use the driveway off Dee Street when dropping off or picking up boarders or a sick child and when popping into the office as explained above.
  • Don’t pull up on the yellow lines at either entrance to drop girls off or to collect them. This is particularly dangerous on Avenal Street as it obscures the duty teacher’s vision.
  • Please use the footpath on Dee Street, not the driveway.
  • Parents of boarders – on Monday mornings, please park along the driveway, not in the carpark.



An Events List is attached to the fortnightly newsletter and is also on our website page within the newsletter.  Often parents are unsure which events they may attend.  Below is

a list of events and who is invited to attend.  If in doubt, please email/phone the office to ask.


Greats and Grands Day – Grandparents only

House picnic – school only

Year 8 leavers’ ceremony – parents and grandparents only.  No siblings.


Disco – parents are welcome to pop in briefly when they drop their daughter off and we welcome you back at the end when you collect your daughter.


Parents and grandparents (extended family etc) are welcome at:

Aerobics Festival –limited space if wet


Carol Service

Easter Service

Gym Festival –limited space

Prize Giving

Years 4 – 8 Swimming Sports – Championship event only, ie only for those girls who can swim 200m.


Term 4 Celebration of Dance – limited space

Year 8 Father/daughter netball

Zone Athletics Sports Day for 8 – 10 year olds at Surrey Park.



We use Facebook to communicate last minute sports cancellations, items of interest and for photos. Search – St John’s Girls’ Facebook and if you have a facebook account, hit ‘like’ to receive notice of new entries.  You don’t have to have a facebook page to view the page.



This is a lovely night organised by the Parents’ Association aimed at getting people to know each other.  People have a takeaway meal or a picnic tea on the field at school about 5.30 – 6pm, then there are some fun races and sometimes an icecream.  It’s a low key ‘fun’ night where existing parents go out of their way to meet new parents and to introduce them to other people.



This is the boarding house which is the brick building in the middle of the school grounds.

There are fourteen, Monday to Friday boarders this year which is a full house so this means there is no opportunity for casual boarding.  Two house mistresses live on site.



Hair must be kept neat and tidy at all times and be off the face using clips and a headband if necessary.  Shoulder length hair or longer is to be tied back with plain navy blue hair ties and/or ribbons. Brown and black clips can be used.  Colouring hair is strongly discouraged.



The Public Health nurse, Mrs Sanderson visits the school regularly.  Year 5 – 8 girls can access Mrs Sanderson through the “Suggestions/Concerns Box” in the foyer for a variety of health issues.  This is a confidential referral system.  They must include their name.

Pupils who need hearing and eye tests are seen by a Vision/Hearing technician who comes during the year.



All pupils will have homework. It will be mostly reading, learning basic facts and spelling.   The expectations for each class are set out clearly at the beginning of the year at the Meet the Teacher evening, 7pm on Thursday 1st February.  Homework is an opportunity to reinforce the learning that has happened at school and for you to share in it.  It should be an enjoyable sharing time.  If you have any queries, contact the class teacher.


General expectations – Monday to Thursday inclusive:

Years 1 – 3                  Approximately 15 – 20 minutes per night

Years 4 – 6                  Approximately 20 – 30 minutes per night

Years 7 – 8                  Approximately 30 – 40 minutes per night



Girls are placed in houses run by a house captain and deputy house captain.  These are Alabaster, Enderby, Lester and Marchant, all names of previous principals.  House Captains and deputies run the assemblies, lead weekly house meetings and take a special interest in the girls in their house.  They also organise an annual house picnic.

Girls earn house points from all school wide sporting events.  House rivalry is fierce.  A leader board is kept up to date in the hall.

House badges are available for purchase at the school office for $5.00.

There are several house events held during the year where the girls may wear house colours.  It would be useful for your daughter to have a simple t – shirt and hair ribbons in the colour of her house.

Alabaster – pink, Enderby – red, Lester – royal blue and Marchant –forest green.



In the case of an accident, staff will render First Aid.  If the injury is thought to be serious, parents will be advised immediately and the child will be taken to Accident and Emergency at Southland Hospital.  You will be contacted if your daughter has an injury to her head, even if it is minor.  This way, you can make the decision as to the next step.



Term 1 – 14th/15th March                    Following feedback, we have extended the time from 10 to 15 minutes.

Sharing assessment information plus setting goals.

No samples sent home.


Term 2 – 27th/28th June                       Post report interview – 15 minutes

Reviewing progress


Parents may contact the homeroom teacher to request an interview at other times.



The girls may wear small, plain navy blue, silver or gold studs in pierced ears, only one in each ear.  No decorative studs. No ring keepers.  No nail polish. No make-up.



The Nicholson Library was named after Miss Nicholson, a former school principal.  The girls may borrow two books at a time, for a period of two weeks but may renew them so they can have them for longer.  The girls use their book bag to carry library books.  This needs to be at school every day.

If your daughter loses or damages a book, you will be invoiced for the cost.

The library will be open on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes for girls in years 5 – 8 to read and to change books.



The use of this book in your daughter’s class will be discussed at the Meet the Teacher evening.



A lot of class time is lost in the junior school chasing missing items of clothing because it is not named, so please name everything, especially shoes and second hand pieces of uniform.  There is a lost property box in the office which the girls can check before school and from 12.30 – 1pm and 3 – 3.15pm.  The school takes no responsibility for lost clothing.  Clothing not claimed at the end of each term is donated to the uniform shop or to charity.  Any named item will be returned to the owner.



Lunch time is 12 – 1p.m.  We do not operate a canteen.  Pupils may bring food wrapped in tinfoil and clearly named, to be heated.  Please do not send frozen food to be heated.

Lunch is eaten outside on the tiered seating in fine weather and in the hall on cold or wet days.  Teachers check that the juniors have eaten something substantial, ie a sandwich, wrap or roll.  Generally, our girls have wonderful, healthy lunches fill of sandwiches/wraps/rolls, fruit, yoghurt etc. We often find the girls have too much and think that they have to eat it all.  Please talk to your daughter regularly about her lunch needs.

Pita Pit is available on Fridays through their website.



Any medication, other than inhalers, needs to be kept in the school office.  Mrs McEntyre can only give medication if she has written instructions from a parent.  This must be signed and clearly state the name of the medication, the dosage and the frequency.


MISCELLANEOUS – Shrubs and barrel

Respect for the environment is important.  The girls are expected to treat the grounds with respect, therefore they are not to climb on the shrubs except in the hedge where they are allowed to climb.  For safety reasons the girls are not to climb on to the top of the barrel or the wooden rails on the field playground.



Pupils should not have money at school unless it is requested for a special activity.  In this case, the money should be taken directly to the school office in an envelope with the pupil’s name, room number, amount of money, and what the money is for.  Money is not kept on the school premises so please ensure the correct money is sent to school as change cannot be given.  For larger amounts cheques are safer or online transactions.  Please put the reason for the payment and your daughter’s name.  Mufti money is collected by the classroom teacher.



Everyone is outside at morning tea.  If it is really cold or wet the girls eat their morning tea outside and then go inside but are expected to be doing something quietly.



School newsletters are emailed home on alternate Fridays. No hard copies are sent.  The newsletter is also put on the website. The first newsletter will be Friday 9th February.

There will be a lot of forms sent home in week one.  I apologise for this but they are important as we require accurate contact and medical information.



The school office is situated in the Administration Block at the top of the driveway.  Any general enquiries are to be directed through the office manager, Mrs McEntyre.  The office is open from 8.30am – noon, 12.30pm until 3.15pm.  Mrs McEntyre’s email is bmcentyre@stjohnsgirls.school.nz.  The answer phone will usually be on until 8.30am, at interval and from 12 – 12.30pm.


The areas behind Rooms 1, 2 and 3, and Rooms 7 and 8 are out of bounds.  Years 5 – 8 are allowed in the area between Rooms 5/6 and 7/8 however they are not to loiter in the cloakbay.



The Parents’ Association organises school activities and is another link between the parents and the school.  Meetings are advertised in the newsletter.  They meet at 7pm on the second Tuesday of each term except term one when they meet in week 3.  This group provide extras for the school such as library books, new ranges, desks, PE equipment, basketball towers, musical instruments etc.  The first meeting for the year is at 7pm on Tuesday 20th February in the staffroom.  New members are welcome.

The Parents’ Association would like access to new parents’ contact details.  If you do not wish them to have your phone number or email address, please let Mrs Bev McEntyre, the office manager know, otherwise your contact details will be passed on at the end of week 2, term 1.



All girls require a physical education bag.  This may be purchased from school if they don’t already have a suitable navy, draw string bag.   The PE uniform needs to go home every weekend to be washed.  Senior girls need to wash their PE uniform during the week as well to prevent it becoming smelly.



Our prizegiving is held at St John’s Church on Wednesday 12th December at 1.30pm.  Extended family is welcome.  The prizegiving takes an hour.  Even if a girl does not receive a prize, all girls go up to receive an Achievement Certificate. A Literacy Award, a Mathematics Award, a Values Award and an Effort Award is presented to a girl from each class/year level.



We have a goal setting interview in term one.  The girls are encouraged to attend the interview with their parents.   Written reports are sent out in terms 2 and 4.  In term 2, this is followed up with a 15 minute interview.  Parents may request additional interviews at any time. If you have a concern, contact the teacher and discuss it.  It is better for this to happen earlier rather than to wait.



In cases of sickness, parents will be phoned to collect their child if, in the opinion of the staff the child is too ill to remain at school.  Under no circumstances are girls to contact their parents directly if they are feeling unwell.  They must communicate with their teacher and then the school office.  This ensures children do not go home when they don’t need to.



There will be a ski trip for years 5 – 8 in the third term.  The tentative date is the 17th August.  Approximate cost – $100.  Parents and siblings are welcome on a first in basis.  We usually send one bus plus individual cars.


SPORTS – Coaches and Contacts

The girls are heavily involved in sport so we need parent coaches and managers.  Please share your skills or learn as you go.  We cannot enter teams unless we have a coach.

Notices will be sent out asking for coaches.  We are trialling a new way of advising you about what sports are available.  You can access this by going to our website and going to the sports tab.  Coaches will be Police Vetted this year.  All teams choose a player of the day each week who is presented with a certificate in assembly, the next day.

Many sports notices have deadlines for entries.


In the first instance, contact the coach.  If the query is of a general nature, contact our sports coordinator Mrs Fiona Smith; fsmith@stjohnsgirls.school.nz



The school does not sell stationery.   Your daughter will receive a stationery list at the end of the year for the following year.  All the main stationery outlets will have one and they are on the school website. The school organises some of the items.  These are listed at the bottom of your daughter’s list.  You will be invoiced for these.



At the end of term 2 and term 4, stripes are awarded to Year 7 and 8 pupils. Simplified criteria:

Work Stripes:

  • Red: to girls who have academic ability and put in maximum effort.
  • Green: to girls who work to their full potential and put in maximum effort.

More detail is on network student drive.


Sports stripes: (Set criteria – participation in a certain number of sports)

  • white for effort and fair play
  • gold for outstanding ability (representation at Southland level, sports cup recipient) and effort and fair play.


Sunhats are not a compulsory part of the school uniform but are strongly recommended.  Any plain royal blue/navy hat is acceptable.  The school sells navy wide brimmed sunhats for approximately $12.  We provide and encourage shade and the use of sun block.  This should be put on before school.  We do have some available in Rooms 1 and 5.



Girls are not to bring sweets, chocolate or sugary drinks to school.  This includes fruit juice as it is full of sugar.  When ordering Pita Pit, please do not order the juice or the big cookie.  We try to set an example by encouraging healthy choices.

The fountains outside Room 2/3 and Room 6 has filtered water.  This is part of our healthy food education programme.



School swimming is in term one on Mondays for all Year 1 – 4 girls and for Years 5 – 8 who cannot swim 200m freestyle.  The focus has moved from teaching stroke to teaching lifesaving skills.  It starts on 5th February.  The times vary so check the information that is being sent out.  If unsure check our facebook page and the newsletter on the website.

If your daughter is new to the school or has moved into Year 5 this year and can swim 200m freestyle, please provide a swimming certificate to Mrs Smith as soon as possible as these girls remain at school.

All swimming gear must be clearly named and kept in a bag.  Parent help with dressing the juniors is appreciated.  Please talk to the classroom teacher.

The swimming sports later in the term, is a Championship Event only, ie for those children who are not attending the weekly swimming lessons.



These are usually the second last Monday of the year, starting at 1pm.   It is part of the house competition.  Each house competes in a series of activities.  The afternoon finishes with various relays and a house chant.  Parents and extended family are welcome to attend.



Technology is wonderful but we want your daughter to socialise during breaks so cell phones and iPads are not to be used in the playground and not inside without a teacher being in the room so we can monitor appropriate internet use.

Cell phones are to be left in school bags during the day.  If a girl is caught using her devices during school time without permission, it will be confiscated and kept in the office for the day.  If she is found using it again, parents will be required to come in to collect it.

Only Year 7/8 girls are allowed to use the hall sound system – for practising aerobics etc and only after asking a teacher.

Only the Year 8 girls are to use the data projector in the hall and only with teacher permission.



Pupils are not allowed to use the school phone unless the matter is urgent.  Please make sure that pupils know their bus arrangements or other transport arrangements before they leave for school in the morning.  Please do not phone the office with last minute changes to after school arrangements.



Term 1              Tuesday 30th January –  Friday 13th April

Term 2              Monday 30th April – Friday 6th July

Term 3              Monday 23rd July– Friday 28th September

Term 4              Monday 15th October – Thursday 13th December

Holidays:          Waitangi Day – Tuesday 6th Feb

Easter – Good Friday – 30th March, Easter Monday – 2nd April, Easter Tuesday 3rd April

Queen’s Birthday – Monday 4th June

Labour Day – Monday 22nd October



We are proud of how our girls look.  To maintain this, we are particular about the uniform. Most uniform items can be purchased from school.  Contact Mrs Lang, either by phone or email, mlang@stjohnsgirls.school.nz to make an appointment or if you know what you need, send a note with your requirements.  Invoices are expected to be paid immediately.

Girls should always leave the school grounds in the correct uniform unless they are going directly to a sports venue (school sporting event starting by 4.05pm), in which case they may wear their PE uniform.

  • Top buttons are to be done up.
  • Socks and collars are worn folded down.
  • PE shorts may be worn beneath dresses as long as they cannot be seen.
  • Girls may have bare feet on the field but must have shoes on in class and if climbing in the hedge as there are sharp bits.
  • Years 1 and 2 may wear t bars which look like this, not this.


Please note that the juniors move into the senior uniform at the end of Year 4.  More information is available in the uniform flyer with this handbook and on the school website.



Living by Christian values and using manners are important at St John’s.

The values we concentrate on are:

– Respect, responsibility, honesty, fairness, compassion, integrity, hard work and kindness.



There is a lot of information on our website including the newsletters – search St John’s Girls’ Invercargill.



If your circumstances change and you have to withdraw your daughter, let me know ASAP please.  If you wish to withdraw your daughter from the school permanently you are required to give one full term’s notice in writing (or the Boards may charge a term’s fees in lieu thereof).



This follows the prizegiving and is held in the school hall at 3.15pm on the 12th December. Grandparents are welcome but sorry, no siblings.


If you have any queries or concerns, please contact the relevant person early so a solution can be found.  We look forward to working with you and trust your daughter will have an enjoyable, productive year.


Kind regards

Brenda Mackay