Plea for ‘at least one classroom’

Fenwick Primary School principal Lloyd Bokser says the 323-pupil school, which has used part of...
Fenwick Primary School principal Lloyd Bokser says the 323-pupil school, which has used part of its library for lessons for a year, needs a new classroom. Photo: Hamish MacLean
The Ministry of Education "owes" Fenwick Primary School "at least one classroom", the school’s principal says. Principal Lloyd Bokser said the school, on Oamaru’s South Hill, had 13 classrooms in operation but one was located in the school’s library.

In August last year, the Otago Daily Times reported the school walled off a third of the library to create a temporary classroom — Room 1a — to cope with pressures on class sizes.

At the time, Fenwick Primary was a 304-pupil primary school, but the roll had grown to 323 and 16 further enrolments were expected before the end of the year, Mr Bokser said. The school was due to meet the ministry on Tuesday,  he said.

The ministry’s head of sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, said the ministry was talking to some Oamaru schools "about how they best manage their rolls".

"It’s important to remember that when we are considering additional teaching spaces for an area, we need take into account the capacity of the wider network of schools," she said.

"This ensures that we are making the best use of existing accommodation before any further major investment into new property is made."

The ministry was required to review enrolment schemes regularly to ensure they were effective.  Enrolment schemes ensured pupils were able to attend a school "that is reasonably convenient to where they live".

"As part of the 2017 review of enrolment schemes in Oamaru, we looked at last year’s roll data and enrolment patterns. This shows that there are some schools that are full and others in the area have capacity to enrol more students," she said.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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