Space at a premium as Bathgate roll grows

The Bathgate Park School roll has just topped 200 and the school may soon need new classrooms to cope with the growing numbers. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The Bathgate Park School roll has just topped 200 and the school may soon need new classrooms to cope with the growing numbers. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Bathgate Park School's roll has broken the 200-pupil mark for the first time in nearly a decade, and the school may soon start to feel the pinch as classroom space becomes tighter.

Ironically, the Ministry of Education removed five classrooms from the school during a merger at the start of last year.

Bathgate Park School principal Whetu Cormick said the school now had 208 pupils, plus five pupils with special learning needs from the Sara Cohen Unit.

The school, formerly known as Macandrew Intermediate, neared 400 pupils in 2001.

But in 2006, it recorded a March roll return of 190 and the roll dropped to as low as 96 in 2011, just before it merged with Forbury School.

Since then, the roll has been creeping upward again.

''We had 117 at the beginning of 2012, when the school opened last year, and our modest estimation is that we'll have 240 pupils by the end of next year. Our capacity is 255.

''I think their decision to take classrooms away lacked a bit of foresight because we're going to need more classrooms soon.''

Mr Cormick said the school needed only another 50 pupils before

the ministry would have to consider building new classrooms or establishing an enrolment scheme.

Mr Cormick was delighted with the school's growth.

''Our staff and board of trustees have worked hard to transition the 90 new students we've enrolled this year.

''We've done a little bit of marketing, but we haven't been going out there and blowing our bugle at all.

''We're fostering a positive reputation in the community and parents are bringing their kids here. It's word of mouth - that's what we're finding works the best.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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