Zoning a possibility for Postgate
Parents who want to send their children to Postgate School face a nervous wait as zoning looks likely in order to curb a ballooning roll.
The Whitby school’s popularity has seen the roll climb to 330, with nine new students starting last week. This has forced the decision to turn the staffroom into a makeshift classroom, while the staff use a ‘‘shoebox’’ for themselves, says principal Adam Campbell.
The school’s board of trustees chairwoman Jacqui Edwards says it is not an ideal situation for teachers, and zoning is one option they are looking at to rein in their student numbers.
Children are walking past nearby schools in Waitangirua every morning – some of which have empty classrooms and falling rolls – while some Postgate students come from Porirua East, Ranui and Titahi Bay. Positive word-of-mouth, the ‘‘ Postgate pride’’ that permeates the school and its after-school care has made it attractive to the wider community, says Ms Edwards.
‘‘We’d love the ministry [of Education] to give us more money to keep building and building but the reality is we won’t get it. So we have had meetings among our board and we are talking to our parents, as well as the ministry, about what our options are.
‘‘Zoning is one way forward but we need to digest a lot of information first, especially so we can look at how this will affect our school.’’
She says it is creating some angst among parents, but current students and their younger siblings will not be affected.
‘‘We will not be sending people away but we do have to look at our future enrolments, that’s a given.’’
The zone boundaries are still to be determined by the ministry and Ms Edwards expects them to be ‘‘a little limiting’’. She says the school does not want to see a falling roll come 2013 or 2014.
The school had zoning about 20 years ago and it did cause numbers to fall.
Other Whitby schools Discovery and Adventure use zoning, as do Paremata, Papakowhai and Pauatahanui, while Tairangi, Rangikura and Te Kura Maori o Porirua do not.
A Ministry of Education spokesperson told Kapi-Mana News that formal notice about implementing an ‘‘enrolment scheme’’ was made in June.
Once consultation with the community and neighbouring schools has occurred, the ministry will review the feedback before any final decisions are made.
‘‘ Those students already enrolled are not affected [while] in-zone students have the right of enrolment at any time.
‘‘Out-of-zone students are subject to a ballot process.’’