School may have to turn pupils away

Liberton Christian School's board of trustees is worried it will have to turn new-entrant pupils away by the middle of 2013, following the Ministry of Education's decision to disallow a roll cap increase at the Dunedin school.

Principal Fiona Sizemore said the roll was restricted to 75 pupils, a cap the school reached by July.

Earlier in the year, the school applied for a roll-cap increase to 100 pupils, but this week the Ministry of Education turned down the application.

''We will have a full roll for next year,'' Mrs. Sizemore said. ''We're hoping not to be in a situation where parents will have to be told there's no room.

''We could find ourselves in that situation by the end of term 2.

''We are disappointed, but we understand the decision.''

Mrs. Sizemore said the ministry denied the application because it believed there were still plenty of spaces for pupils at other North Dunedin schools.

However, she said the majority of the school's pupils came from outside the Pine Hill area, and it provided special-character education.

The school was not in competition with other ministry schools, and she believed parents should be able to have the option of sending their child to Liberton if they wished.

Despite the ministry's decision, Mrs. Sizemore said the school would forge ahead with its plans to build a fourth classroom, in the hope the ministry would approve a new roll-cap application, to be lodged early next year, she said.

The school was established in 1982 but was integrated into the state system in October 1999.

While complying with the ministry's national curriculum framework, the school's years 1 to 8 curriculum is taught from a Christian perspective, as set out in the school's special-character statement.

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