Strong response to consultation on schools

The Ministry of Education has received a strong response to consultation on the South Dunedin schools review.

Submissions closed at 5pm yesterday, by which time the ministry had received 40 proposals from southern Dunedin school communities about how they would like to see the increasing number of empty classrooms in the area dealt with.

The consultation process was launched by Education Minister Anne Tolley last month in response to the 620 surplus pupil places at Calton Hill, Caversham, College St, Forbury, Macandrew Intermediate and St Clair Schools.

Mrs Tolley said demographic projections showed no significant rise in pupil numbers over the next few years and the schools had lost a fifth of their pupils during the past decade.

The ministry was aware roll declines led to reduced funding, reduced staffing and fewer educational options for pupils, she said.

Last month, she presented two options for dealing with the issue.

One option was to merge Forbury and Macandrew Intermediate schools into a years 1-8 full primary school on the Macandrew site, merge Caversham, College Street and Calton Hill Schools into a years 1-8 full primary school on the Caversham site, and change St Clair School to a years 1-8 full primary school.

Another option was to close Macandrew Intermediate and merge Caversham, College Street and Calton Hill Schools into a years 1-6 contributing primary school on the Caversham site.

Mrs Tolley called for other options to be presented by school communities, and submissions officially closed at 5pm yesterday.

An education spokesman said the submissions would now be collated and a report sent to Mrs Tolley. She will then chose one or more options early next year for further consultation, before choosing one to be implemented in 2012.



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