Thank you to supporters of our quest to change the Mt Albert Grammar School zone to include the small part of Mt Albert which is not in zone.
After many hours of community volunteer work preparing a submission, myself and five other passionate community members presented the submission to the Mt Albert Grammar School Board of Trustees meeting on March 28, 2012.
We received a favourable response from the board, suggesting they had some ‘prep’ work to do (shrinking their ‘out of zone’ intake and building extra classrooms), before this could be a reality but were positive and suggested aiming for a 2014 introduction date.
Recently I followed this up to see how their prep ideas were going.
I was told it had never gone any further than the meeting and hadn’t even been mentioned at their their yearly zone review with the Ministry of Education because they were concerned with overcrowding.
If overcrowding is a concern, why do they continue to run open evenings for ‘out of zoners’ and why has yet another enrolment ‘priority’ been formed?
MAGS seem to have lost sight of being a local school and prefer to hand pick from further afield.
The school’s lack of communication regarding this matter has been very disappointing.
This was certainly far from the image portrayed on presentation night.
Given the school’s high calibre, surely it would have been common courtesy to inform us of their apparent change of heart. Do not give up! We can have another go before the next zone review in early 2015. PHILIPPA NASH
Mt Albert Grammar School headmaster Dale Burden replies:
I completely sympathise with Mrs Nash’s situation and I can completely understand why she and her supporters want to have their streets included in the MAGS zone.
Mrs Nash and her supporters gave a very good presentation to our board of trustees and it was received positively.
An undertaking was made to look into the matter further and I did say that, until such time, we could safely accommodate more students we could not increase the zone.
This has been fully supported by the Ministry of Education.
For Mrs Nash to say that we have not looked into the matter is not correct.
The ministry official responsible is well aware of their request and the reasons why that, at this stage, it is not possible to grant their request.
Mrs Nash states that we run ‘‘open evenings for out of zone students’’. This is not correct.
We have not had an open evening for five years. We hold information evenings for our contributing intermediate schools.
Local intermediate schools supply us with approximately 85 per cent of our new students.
The rest are mostly either siblings of existing students, boarders in school house, international students or the over 100 students that arrive annually into our zone from schools all over Auckland.
Mrs Nash accuses us of ‘‘hand picking students from further afield’’. Apart from the 100 boys in the boarding hostel and the hundred or so international students this is not correct.
Even if the school had good reason for wanting to increase its zone the Ministry of Education official has told us that they will not allow us to do so.
The reasons for this are very clear and lie in the current and future demographics of Central Auckland, the Auckland city plan and the unpredictable nature of internal and external migration.
We have considered the request very seriously. However, we need to be mindful that any changes need to be strategic and futureproofed and not a quick short-term fix. It is our view that it is better to maintain what we currently have knowing that student numbers will grow than to be forced in the future to shrink our zone in a knee-jerk reaction to unplanned overcrowding.