Sup­port­ers thanked

Auckland City Harbour News - - LETTERS -

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

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.

– Abridged

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