Carisbrook School stretches its wings

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Carisbrook School principal Ben Sincock at the official...
Education Minister Hekia Parata and Carisbrook School principal Ben Sincock at the official opening of Carisbrook School in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
After spending nearly two years organising a colourful outdoor event to celebrate one of its most important milestones in recent history, Carisbrook School was hoping mother nature would be a bit more supportive.

Alas, a beautiful sunny morning was not to be for the school's official reopening yesterday.

But pupils and staff at the new school took yesterday's wet weather in their stride, and even joked about it with Education Minister Hekia Parata who came to Dunedin especially to open the facility.

''I'd like to say it's very unusual for the weather to be so wet like this,'' principal Ben Sincock joked, as Ms Parata cut the official ribbon inside the school hall rather than outside, in front of one of the school's new teaching blocks.

Ms Parata congratulated Mr Sincock for turning ''the chrysalis'' that was formerly Caversham School into the beautiful modern learning environment that was now Carisbrook School.

She encouraged pupils to ''work hard, but enjoy your new school, and engage in your learning''.

College Street School, Caversham School and Calton Hill School were merged into Carisbrook School in 2012.

However, after community consultation, it was decided to leave the Calton Hill site open as a second campus, with an option to review its viability at a later date.

College Street School also remained open during 2012 and 2013 because there was no room for the pupils at the new Carisbrook School site until the $5.6 million two-stage redevelopment of existing buildings was completed.

The project's completion in February this year means the school now has two campuses, not three, and all 100 pupils from the former College Street School have now moved into the 21-classroom Carisbrook School.

Mr Sincock said few would recognise the former Caversham School now. He paid tribute to staff and pupils for their support and enthusiasm, despite having to work and learn in a construction zone and across three sites.

It was clear the pupils loved their new surrounds because absenteeism at the school had never been so low, he said.

''It tells us you're enjoying coming to school and learning.''

Ms Parata also visited St Clair School to view a building redevelopment project there, and spoke at a public meeting at the Mornington Presbyterian Community Centre where she gave an overview of education funding in the 2014 Budget. The meeting was attended by about 50 people, including teachers and principals.


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