Shotover gets Ministry pass


Shotover Primary School is doing its job when it comes to the curriculum, the government says.

Last week Mountain Scene revealed a dozen senior pupils had been pulled from the school by parents concerned about open-plan classrooms and their readiness for high school.

One of the parents, who asked to remain anonymous, said she felt the school’s open learning environment focuses on teaching social skills at the expense of core subjects.

But the Ministry of Education says it’s confident the school is delivering the New Zealand curriculum.

Ministry enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey says the school’s board of trustees contacted the ministry in July “to discuss the withdrawal of some students and the action the school was taking to identify the issues that need to be addressed”.

The ministry has since received complaints from two parents, who were encouraged to follow the school’s formal complaints process, she confirms.

“We are also aware the school is actively addressing concerns to reassure parents that their Year 7 and 8 students continue to be well catered for at Shotover Primary School.”

Principal Ben Witheford says: “We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a well-balanced education to our students – one that sets our students up for success at high school and beyond, academically, socially and culturally.”

He says the school teaches the curriculum, “which includes a wide range of learning areas and key competencies (these are skills critical for success in life today, such as thinking, participating and contributing, managing self, relating to others, using language symbols and text)”.

Casey says the curriculum sets the direction for teaching and learning, but schools have the flexibility to design their own local curriculum that will “best meet the needs of its particular community of students”.