School plans up for public debate

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 09:51 17/06/2014

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A date has been set for the first public meeting in the formal consultation process on secondary education in Blenheim.

The boards of Marlborough Boys' College and Marlborough Girls' College yesterday announced that the first meeting would be held on Wednesday, July 2, at 7pm at the boys' college hall.

They said consultant Janet Kelly, of Motueka, would again serve as the facilitator for the second round of consultation.

Kelly collated a report on the future of secondary schooling in Blenheim following a series of public meetings on the issue late last year. That report, which has yet to be released to the public, sets out three options: relocate one or both schools as two single-sex colleges on one site or in close proximity, retain the colleges as they are, or to build one new co-educational secondary school.

The school boards were working on an analysis of each of the three options, with the aim of providing information so that the community could make an educated decision. The analysed information would be made available to the community prior to the meeting on July 2.

Marlborough Girls' College principal Karen Stewart said the community had until July 30 to make their submissions. At this stage the exact process of consultation was still being confirmed, she said.

Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty said the Kelly report had raised many questions and prompted the colleges to seek further answers from the ministry. "We have asked more questions that weren't clear to us and we feel the community needs as much clarity in this process as possible," he said.

The second round of consultation was given the go-ahead on May 28, after Education Minister Hekia Parata read the report.

The first round of consultation was criticised, with many slamming the lack of information given to the community, particularly in regard to the financial side of the debate. Many people felt that without knowing more details it was impossible to assess what options would be the best.

TIMELINE

May 27 – Education Minister Hekia Parata receives the report

May 28 – Parata starts formal consultation

June 16 – Janet Kelly selected as facilitator for the formal consultation process

July 2 – First public consultation meeting at Marlborough Boys' College at 7pm

July 30 – Deadline for public submissions to be received

August 1 – Deadline for submissions to reach education ministry

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- The Marlborough Express

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