Staged opening for Shotover Primary School

The Ministry of Education has announced a staged opening for Shotover Primary School, Otago's newest school, for the beginning of term one next year.

The primary school will open on term 1 with years 1 to 4 , and to pupils from years 5 to 8 in term 1, 2016.

The $14 million year 1 to 8 school is being built on 3ha of land at the Shotover Country residential development and will cater for 500 pupils.

It is needed to ease overcrowding at the resort's other primary schools.

Shotover Primary School Establishment Board of Trustees chairwoman Sally Mingaye-Hall said the decision was made to ensure the first pupils gained a solid foundation.

''We have two learning communities due open in 2015 term 1, which will meet the needs of the first intake,'' she said.

''The further additional learning communities are due to open later in the year, but rather than attempt to take year 5 to 8 students mid-way through the year, we will concentrate on ensuring everything is in order in that first year, and welcome them in 2016.''

The draft school zone released by the ministry proposes including houses in Shotover Country, Lake Hayes Estate, Quail Rise, Dalefield and some of Arthur's Point.

''The proposed enrolment area is wide, so we also need to be ready for all eventualities.''

Stage 1 of the build will include an administration block, as well as classrooms.

A learning community provides a space that can contain up to three class groups and three or more teachers and is a format being adopted in most schools throughout New Zealand.

In recent months, members of the Shotover Primary School community have had the opportunity to meet principal Ben Witheford, share their opinions and become involved in developments including a logo, uniform development and the proposed zone.

''The community have decided that they do want a uniform. We have sent out tenders which are due back next month ... from there we will send out a sample garment and decide from there.''

The board, principal and new associate principals Claire Buist and Helen Ahern will now look at equipment purchases and recruiting additional staff.

An executive assistant and team leaders will be recruited over the next few months.

- Alastair Lynn