Koromiko loses its school

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 12:00 06/12/2012

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Koromiko School will close for good on the last day of this school term.

Education Minister Hekia Parata has approved the school board's request for voluntary closure with the final school day planned for December 14 and the formal closure date set for January 28, the first day of term one next year.

Most of the school's 17 pupils will move to Picton School.

The Ministry of Education funded Koromiko School for two fulltime teachers and a part-time administrator this year, but when interest in enrolments for next year fell parents were told the school would be staffed by a sole-charge teacher. This news saw enrolments to fall to just five pupils for next year.

Koromiko School board chairman Simon Tripe said the closure of the 139-year-old school was a sad experience for parents and pupils, but the board made the decision for the benefit of the pupils who might have faced a drop in educational standards when the school shifted to a sole-charge position.

"It's very sad, it's been pretty tough on everyone. My children are fourth generation [Koromiko School pupils].

"One will be at Picton School and one at Queen Charlotte College next year.

"I think the majority are going to Picton School, but some are looking at Tua Marina School and maybe one to Linkwater."

Picton School is about a 10-minute drive from Koromiko School up State Highway 1.

Koromiko School, a decile 4 co-ed primary school, received a glowing Education Review Office report in June, but its roll has dwindled from a peak of 70 pupils in the early 1990s.

Mr Tripe delivered a letter to the ministry on behalf of the school board seeking voluntary closure of the school, founded in 1873, on June 5.

The ministry told a classroom full of parents, grandparents and concerned residents that they had 10 days ending on August 29 to send submissions to Ms Parata before she decided the fate of the school.

School staff have planned a fun day for the pupils on their last day but details were being "kept secret" to avoid spoiling their surprise, Mr Tripe said.

Picton School principal Alister McCosh said staff were "absolutely" looking forward to taking on some of the former Koromiko School pupils and a welcome day was planned for them to visit the school the day before the end of term. "They're coming to spend a bit of time to meet the other pupils and we'll introduce them to our school - we're looking forward to it."

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- The Marlborough Express

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