One-year-old on school waiting list
Gemma Henry has been on the waiting list for a popular rural Horowhenua school since she was 9 months old.
It’s a school so popular that names are drawn from a ballot by the principal under police supervision.
Gemma, now 1, and her parents will wait for years in anticipation to see if Koputaroa School will be Gemma’s stamping ground.
Her 4-year-old brother, Evan, finds out in November whether he’ll be attending. Mother Katrina Henry said she would have one heartbroken boy if his name is not picked in the school lottery.
Koputaroa School is about 10 kilometres from Levin in a small farming community. It has a teaching system where three teachers share three year groups. It has a vegetable garden, lamb and calf day and a computer for each pupil.
Henry would rather have Evan enrol there than at a Levin school just metres away from home.
If her son’s name doesn’t get picked, plan B is moving into Koputaroa’s zone.
‘‘He’s got his heart set on it,’’ Henry said.
Evan and his sister are among about 50 children on the waiting list, which also includes 4-year-old Liam Woodmass from Levin.
Liam’s father Kieran Woodmass said he would move in with his mother-in-law, who lives in Koputaroa, if his son didn’t get a spot.
Renting out their Levin home and moving in with family was going to great lengths, but it would mean Liam would get automatic entry to a school that offered a rural Woodmass said.
About two-thirds of the pupils are out of the school zone – an experience, area that does not include Shannon and Levin.
The school is already bursting at its seams, so principal Danielle Maclean has no choice but to run a ballot system.
There was so much interest in the school that one parent even tried to put her unborn child on the waiting list, Maclean said.
But, no matter what age they join the waiting list, their chance of getting a spot didn’t increase, Maclean said.
There are 13 primary schools in Levin, but Maclean said Koputaroa School appealed to parents because of its country feel.
‘‘We are an urban school in a rural environment.’’
Linton Country School, about 15 kilometres from Palmerston North, also offers children a rural experience.
But principal Katy Marsh said a lot of people didn’t know the school, of six pupils, was there.
Linton Country School is tucked away on Akers Rd, off State Highway 57, surrounded by farmland.
At the start of 2017, Cruiz Strickett, 7, was the only pupil.
Despite losing the classmates he had last year, Cruiz stuck it out at the rural Linton school with a swimming pool, gardens and enough space for hundreds of children.
Since then the roll has slowly increased and Marsh said it would continue to grow.
Each child had their own lamb or calf to care for at the school and soon the pupils would learn how to cook with vegetables from the garden, Marsh said.
The environment allowed children to learn things they wouldn’t in city schools, she said.