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Covid co-ed: primary school separates boys and girls to help keep best buddies together

Flagstaff Team

Single-sex start-ups… Both girls (above) and boys (below) have enjoyed Hauraki School’s temporary switch away from co-ed classes. Holidays loom in less than two weeks time.

Having girls and boys attend school on different days has a gone down a treat at Hauraki School, says principal Clarinda Franklin.

“Mostly the boys play with the boys and the girls with the girls at that age,” Franklin said. Different options had been looked at to manage numbers when school returned recently, but the gender division was chosen because the idea of children connecting with their friends on their return was a part of ensuring their wellbeing.

“If you split them by alphabetical order, as some schools have done, then some will find their friends are in different groups. This pretty much guarantees everyone’s got a friend.”

Parents overall were fine about it and understood the reasoning, said Franklin, although one or two had had questions about the move.

“Certainly the children are loving it,” she said. When a class of girls was asked if they were missing the boys, one said, “It’s heaven.”

Hauraki hopes that after having boys in on Mondays and Tuesdays and girls on Wednesdays and Thursdays (with Friday as a learning-from-home day for all), it can wind up the disrupted year with a joint send-off for all its final year students.

“We will set up a grid on the field, and each child will sit in their own square.” Certificates and cups will be presented and songs sung.

Due to restrictions on numbers, parents will miss out. “But we still wanted to mark what is a big occasion, with children moving on after six years at school.”

Franklin is hoping for a return to normal schooling in 2022. But some learning catch-up would be involved as children had missed a lot of classroom time this year, she said.

End-of-year tests would also be carried over, as the focus since getting students back in mid-November had been to re-energise them in a fun way. “They’re really enjoying being back, definitely.”

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