ROLL GROWTH CLASSROOMS
Extra classrooms for Fernside School as roll hits 300
JONATHAN LEASK (Northern Outlook, 21st Oct 2016)
About $750,000 will be invested to build two new classrooms at Fernside School in Canterbury.
The small school on the outskirts of Rangiora reached a significant milestone this term, with the school roll surpassing 300 for the first time.
Principal David Taylor said the roll increased from 240 to 304 in the last five years.
"This growth has been gradual with increases across all year levels," Taylor said.
"This expansion has placed a significant squeeze on classroom space and teaching resources. We have a small group of students operating as a classroom in the school library.
"As a school we have been creative with the use of spaces, adapting our library and multi-purpose spaces as required."
With the expanding numbers, Fernside School recently advertised for two new teachers for next year.
Tuesday's announcement from Education Minister Hekia Parata that the school would receive two new classrooms should ease the crowding, once the additional classrooms were completed, Taylor said.
"The board [of trustees] is presently considering the appropriate site with two possible options.
"These are new classrooms and are additional to the present 10 teaching spaces. Our understanding is that they will form a joint double classroom space. The board will have good flexibility on the layout and configuration so it meets the learning needs of students at Fernside.
"In addition to the new classrooms, we are also planning a refurbishment of three classrooms linked to the school's administration block. Money for this has been allocated in the school's five year plan."
The budget for the additional refurbishments was about $400,000 Taylor said.
Fernside is the latest North Canterbury school to get a welcome investment from the Government.
Other schools in the Waimakariri and Hurunui districts to have work under way or funding approved by the Ministry of Education are: Oxford Area School, Ashgrove School, Rangiora Borough School, Southbrook School, Swannanoa School, Rangiora High School, Amuri Area School, Kaiapoi North School, Kaiapoi Borough School, Woodend School, Kaiapoi High Schools and Pegasus Bay School.
More announcements as part the second round of investment in roll growth classrooms will be made over the coming weeks, and a third round of investment is expected to be announced in February next year.
The first round of investment was announced in May and June this year.