School to close in February

The Ministry of Education has given permission for Dunedin's High Street School to close permanently, early next year.

The board of trustees at the school was recently notified by the Minister of Education, Anne Tolley, and the 123-year-old two-teacher primary school will be closed officially on February 28 next year.

Board chairman Allan Cole said no pupils were expected to return. Only the principal would return at the start of term 1 (January 31), and would remain there until the closure on February 28.

Mr Cole said the decile 7, year 1-6 contributing school had 106 pupils in 2006, but the roll had declined to just 21 when the school closed for the year on Tuesday.

He said the school break-up was a "subdued affair" for staff and parents in the community.

However, the pupils were excited, not because it was the last day, but because they were looking forward to next year in a new school.

"That's the thing about kids. They all look at the future with an excitement that we all marvel at."

High Street School is one of six Dunedin schools which have closed or applied to close in the past two and a-half years.

Declining rolls led to the amalgamation of Ocean View and Brighton Schools in mid-2008, and the closure this year of Tomahawk, Waldronville and Corstorphine Schools.

St Patrick's School in South Dunedin will be the sixth primary school to close in the city - again because of declining rolls, and the consequential strains on governance and management.

The school has not yet been given approval by the Ministry of Education to officially close. An announcement is expected early next year.



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