Lots in store for school
Kate Gainsford cuts a contented figure, but she knows there is plenty of work to do.
The Aotea College principal is in her second full school year in the hot seat and is excited about developments at the school.
‘‘Our roll is rising  and the number of in- zone students is rising, which is really encouraging. Our focus is to serve our enrolment zone and I think we are doing that. I want the academic side up further, we want more than 85 per cent of our students achieving at least level 2 NCEA, but overall, there’s a great feel around the place.’’
Although a strategy for the school’s future is required by the Ministry of Education, Ms Gainsford sees it as a chance to involve their community more and map out the physical makeup of the grounds and buildings. Events such as the upcoming Sportacular and public use of the school auditorium is fostering buy- in from Porirua residents.
‘‘The consultation we did came back with great ideas and clear thinking about where people see Aotea College fitting in this community.’’
Initiatives such as Sport in Education, launched last year, and having science students going into Kenepuru Hospital as part of their studies show Aotea is searching for new ways to add to the curriculum. There is a new website, which will have a portal where students’ parents can review NCEA results and attendance.
Sportacular is creating a strong sense of school spirit among students and alumni, and has proven an effective way to fundraise, Ms Gainsford says.
Meanwhile, the auditorium Te Manawa is still in the works for a major upgrade. Civic funding for a feasibility study to look at options for the ageing venue, including making it a public facility, was turned down, however.
Ms Gainsford says working with neighbours the Police College, Carrus, who are developing Aotea, and Porirua City Council over the school’s future design is crucial.
‘‘We are seriously looking at re- development and refurbishement and we need the community’s support as we carry this out. These are exciting times for Aotea College.’’
Second year: Kate Gainsford.