Chance for parents to weigh school options

College principals will deliver on their promise to supply expert advice to parents at a public meeting on the future shape of Blenheim's secondary education.

At the request of both college boards, the ministry will send three specialists to the meeting on Wednesday to answer parents' questions.

Consultation facilitator Janet Kelly said the three speakers would be Education Ministry local office manager Erika Ross, modern learning environment adviser Les Clapcott and Ministry of Education property expert Stephen Palfrey.

"More information and guidance was requested during the initial consultation process, so both college boards wanted to ensure that was provided this time," Kelly said.

At the meeting, representatives from both boards would speak, along with the three education experts. There would also be an opportunity for questions to be raised informally at a tea and coffee session after the meeting.

The public meeting on Wednesday is the only one planned, so parents and the wider community were being encouraged to attend and have their say.

"If required we would hold another meeting, but at this stage we have only planned for one," Kelly said.

Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty said it was important to provide parents with a way to compare fairly the three options provided by Education Minister Hekia Parata.

The three options are: two single-sex colleges on one site, costing $51.5 million; retaining and maintaining the existing colleges, at a cost of $10.8m; or building a new co-ed college costing $52.6m, excluding land costs.

Hegarty said they had compiled a handout that would allow parents to "compare apples with apples".

The boards had jointly created a vision of what secondary students in Blenheim should be entitled to in the future. Each of the three options were compared to the vision to see how they measured up to the vision.

"The ability of each option to provide these entitlements we hope will play a critical factor in determining the decisions people make going forward," he said.

It was difficult, but very important to both boards that they only guide parents and not push them blindly in a certain direction.

He hoped parents would realise that the best interest of students were at the centre of the vision.

The prepared handout would be available on both colleges' websites from today.

Hegarty hoped all parents would attend the meeting, especially those with preschool and primary school-aged children as it would affect them especially.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 2, at 7pm at the boys' college hall.

July 30 is the final day for written submissions. They should be emailed to or posted to: Janet Kelly, 31 Courtney St, Motueka 7120.


The vision statement created by the college boards.

Blenheim's young people are entitled to: Select from a broad curriculum designed to meet their individual needs. Innovative learning programmes and best practice teaching Modern 21st century learning facilities with access to a wide range of resources Experience a wide range of extra-curricular activities Opportunities to explore tertiary level study Build on the success, culture and history of the colleges.

The Marlborough Express