MAGS looks to fu­ture

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

ROCK­ET­ING de­mand has seen a cen­tral Auck­land high school re­ceive a fund­ing boost.

Mt Al­bert Gram­mar head­mas­ter Dale Bur­den says the school is so pop­u­lar par­ents of tod­dlers are buy­ing houses in the area now to lock in a spot in the school zone.

‘‘A lot of fam­i­lies I’ve been made aware of have got kids aged three and four and are look­ing at Bal­moral School for pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate and MAGS for high school,’’ he says.

‘‘So they are bit­ing the real es­tate bul­let and com­ing in. Then they don’t have to move, they’ve got the whole pack­age at once.’’

With a roll of 2700 stu­dents Mt Al­bert Gram­mar is the sec­ond largest high school in the re­gion, be­hind Ran­gi­toto Col­lege.

Mr Bur­den says in the eight years he has been at the decile 7 school there has been sub­stan­tial roll growth and a shift in the ra­tio of out-of-zone stu­dents ac­cepted.

‘‘When I first ar­rived about 60 per cent of our stu­dents would have been in­zone, now there is about 83 per cent in-zone,’’ he says.

‘‘So we are tak­ing more stu­dents over­all, but a greater pro­por­tion of them are in-zone.’’

As a re­sult of the roll growth the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has signed off on fund­ing for the equiv­a­lent of 19 new classrooms, es­ti­mated to cost be­tween $5 mil­lion and $10m.

Mr Bur­den says a por­tion of the money will be used for build­ing new classrooms and the maths, per­form­ing arts, tech­nol­ogy and sci­ence de­part­ments will also ben­e­fit.

The school will in­tro­duce more mod­ern learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments – spa­ces that dif­fer from the tra­di­tional class­room.

‘‘It’s a class­room that’s a bit more flex­i­ble,’’ Mr Bur­den says. ‘‘ We know more about learn­ing than we ever have be­fore.

‘‘We know that a teacher stand­ing at the front of the room just talk­ing, or hav­ing kids write things off the board, that’s not the only way to do it any­more.’’

Mod­ern learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments are larger, well-lit rooms that in­cor­po­rate a va­ri­ety of fur­ni­ture which al­low stu­dents to work in groups while the teacher acts as a guide.

There are no de­signs for the new fa­cil­i­ties yet but it is hoped the con­struc­tion will be­gin in March 2014.

Mr Bur­den says that phase will prob­a­bly take the school to 2015, but then it will need to look at more con­struc­tion.

‘‘The min­istry is be­ing a bit more strate­gic th­ese days so they can see the bulge com­ing through from pri­maries and in­ter­me­di­ates,’’ he says.

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Grow­ing roll: Mt Al­bert Gram­mar head­mas­ter Dale Bur­den is wel­com­ing more stu­dents to his school each year.

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