Correspondence School is an education choice for some and necessity for others at primary level.  Find out about Primary Correspondence School here.

How does it work?

Te Kura, formerly nown as The Correspondence School or TCS, provides primary education programmes that are based on the New Zealand Curriculum Framework that is used in face-to-face schools also. This ensures that what your child is taught through TCS is paralleled by what he or she would be learning at a face-to-face school.

There are some obvious differences though. Teaching methods will differ a lot mostly because of the distance between teacher and student. Teachers of students enrolled at TCS use a mix of print, audio, video, CD-ROM, web based and other resources suited to each students needs.

Once your child is enrolled all the material you both need for studying at a distance is sent to you. Students receive school work in the mail, or by fax or e-mail. If your child is a full-time student of TCS then his or her teacher will work with him or her to create an education plan for the year. This will include setting goals, and charting, and keeping a track of progress against these goals.

You then choose which method of learning will best suit your child – whether it be online using online blackboards and interactive classrooms, or by the more conventional means of paper and pen followed by post or fax.

Work is completed then sent back to your child’s teacher at TCS who marks and reports on your child’s progress at different periods during the year.

TCS has guidelines to help you organise a timetable for your child’s learning. This also helps ensure you cover the seven curriculum areas.

Being a supervisor to your child

It is not the expectation that your child learn on their own. They need support, encouragement, direction and often focusing just as they would receive at a face-to-face school. This is the role of the supervisor. With your child being enrolled at TCS as a primary school student, it is likely that you as a parent or caregiver will also be your child’s’ supervisor.

Your role as supervisor includes:

  • Supporting your student as they develop skills and knowledge
  • Encouraging your student to become an independent learner – (this means not doing everything for them)
  • Encouraging your student to take responsibility for their learning and schoolwork
  • Helping to plan learning programmes for your student
  • Checking your student’s work before it is sent for assessment to TCS.

There is a great deal of support available from TCS for supervisors. The school is able to detail for you how to go about your role as supervisor and give you tips and guidelines for carrying out the role to the best of your ability.

There is also a Home Supervisor’s Allowance you may be eligible for. For more information on this read The Correspondence School in the Education Overview section.

What will it cost me?

If your child fulfils the enrolment criteria set by the NZ Ministry of Education, then there are no fees. However, as with state and state integrated schools, full-time students of TCS are asked to make a voluntary donation to the school of $50 per school year per student or a total of $70 for a family with two or more students enrolled.

As with any school your child attends there will be a need for you to purchase school stationery items and materials for special projects and the like. It is also recommended that your child have a tape recorder that plays and records, although if they are a full-time student, then the school will provide them with one of these.

If you choose to have your child do a lot of their school work online, then you need to also consider the cost of your dial-up or broadband internet connection.

Contact with my child’s teacher

You have as much access to your child’s TCS teacher as you would a teacher at a face-to-face school, the difference again being the distance. You are encouraged to phone, e-mail, fax or write to your child’s teacher to keep in touch.

Do we need to have a computer and internet access?

The short answer is no. Computer and internet access are not essential, but are very useful for distance learning in this day and age. TCS provides a lot of online support and teaching materials. However, ‘hard copy’ resources are also readily available through the school and the extensive library.

How is my child’s work marked and reports written?

Your child will receive school work packs that, once they are completed, are returned via post to their teacher. The teacher will assess the work where appropriate, including supporting comments and notes. This work will then be returned to your child with a new set of work.

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Kylie Valentine is a qualified secondary school teacher, trained journalist, and the mum of two fabulous children.

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