Second campus mooted for overcrowded Remarkables Primary

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The Ministry of Education may consider building a nearby second campus for Frankton’s Remarkables Primary to deal with overcrowding.
 
MoE southern regional manager Raymond Webb last night told about 200 angry parents that the board of trustee’s idea of splitting the school “is something that’s worthwhile exploring”. 

“But it’s not something that will happen overnight,” he adds. 

Ongoing issues with land acquisition and a tough fiscal situation is contributing to delays, Webb says. 

The MoE has ordered the school board to amend its existing enrolment scheme – meaning drastic zone changes that could see hundreds of children excluded from attending the resort’s newest school. 

Families in Lake Hayes Estate, Quail Rise, Tucker Beach, Marina Heights and the northern side of Frankton Road could be ineligible from enrolling in the future. 

And, it was revealed last night, younger siblings of current enrolled kids living outside the zone may have to go into a ballot to see if they too can attend. 

Board chair John Stalker says all the school’s proposals had been rejected by the MoE to date – including splitting the school into two campuses. 

“The ministry said ‘no’, but it has recently told us that further discussion could be possible.” 

The board and principal Debbie Dickson would run both campuses, with a possible set-up being that the existing site is used for Years 1-4 and another site used for Years 5-8. 

Dickson says the MoE provided the school roll scenarios in 2009 – “Our current roll figures are tracking above 100 per cent of those predicted figures”. 

The flash $17.3 million, 19-month-old school currently has 341 kids in Year 1-6 on its roll. By the end of term four, the school’s expecting 380 students, and next year it takes on Years 7 and 8. It has a cap of 460 students.
 
“Roll growth and the need for further school facilities in the Wakatipu is a much bigger issue than changing a school zone,” Dickson says. 

“We feel that the ministry’s strategic plan is failing to support our school and our wider community.” 

Furious parents spoke of their frustration with the MoE’s lack of community consultation and future-planning for the issue of over-crowding in local early childhood, primary and secondary education. 

Virtually the entire crowd raised their hands in support of a wider education strategic plan meeting with the MoE. 

To this, Webb said: “The feedback from this meeting is that there is an urgent need from this community for the ministry to front up about education.” 

Remarkables Primary is seeking public feedback on the issue. A survey is available from the school till September 12, when consultation ends.

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