'We are devastated': Big blow for Rolleston College's planned second campus

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
The Ministry of Education has decided to strip back, redesign and delay Rolleston College's planned new campus.

Principal Rachel Skelton said the Ministry of Education has indicated to her it has no "appetite" or commitment to continue with stages two and three of the campus development.

Stage one of the campus has also been pushed back from July this year to 2026 and gym classrooms have been eliminated, alongside hauora services for nurses and counsellors, and essential staff facilities.

Rachel Skelton. Photo: Rolleston College
Rachel Skelton. Photo: Rolleston College
Skelton says the ministry's decision will "have massive implications for our current learners and future generations".

"The ministry's proposed changes to stage one of the new campus are substantial, inappropriate and deeply concerning.

"Instead of classrooms, they have proposed to use makeshift Portacom buildings indefinitely, as learning spaces with no purpose-built fit-outs.

"While the science and technology block will undergo minimal alterations, the gymnasium's redesign eliminates all classroom spaces, hauora services for nurses and counsellors, and leaves staff without essential facilities."

Rolleston College is one of the fastest-growing schools in New Zealand with its roll expected to reach 3000 by 2030.

The current school campus is home to 1800 students.

"As a school community, we are devastated. The presented plan means the campus cannot function as a school and is completely inappropriate to cater to the ministry agreed initial build roll of 1,500 students," Skelton said.

"With 2.5km separating the campuses, whilst under the same umbrella each campus needs to function independently on a day to day basis.

"We believe the ministry is failing to provide the foundational resources necessary for effective learning, education, support services and cater for delivery of the senior New Zealand Curriculum in Rolleston beyond 2025.

"A new campus is not a luxury but an urgent necessity with the unprecedented growth in Selwyn to ensure that every student receives the quality education they deserve.

"Our roll growth is predicted to grow to 3000 by the early 2030s - that’s approximately 1,200 more students we need to cater for in six years.

"Our current campus is already at capacity with a roll of 1,800 students and this will further strain resources, impact learning environments, and place added pressure on students, parents, and our dedicated teaching staff.

"We are actively engaging with Government and ministry officials to convey the critical nature of our situation and the immediate need for a new campus to be delivered, that is fit to deliver the Senior Curriculum, inspire and empower students – not be taught out of transportable portacoms.

"We have also invited Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Education Minister Erica Stanford and Selwyn MP Nicola Grigg to come to Rolleston College, listen to our concerns and see first hand how much of a failure this is for our whole community and district.

"We urge our community to rally together and express the urgency and desperate need for a new campus to decision-makers within the Ministry and Government. As a collective voice, we can advocate for the Ministry to revisit their proposal.

"We encourage all families to attend upcoming meetings where we will discuss the situation in detail, share information, and address any questions or concerns they may have. Please stay up-to-date with all updates on our website or social media pages as we navigate this challenge."