College meeting tonight

20:49, Jul 01 2014

Students perform better in a social and interactive environment with easy access to technology and a range of teachers, a modern learning specialist says.

Ministry of Education consultant Les Clapcott is one of three panelists who will talk at tonight's meeting on the future of secondary education in Blenheim.

Clapcott yesterday emailed the Express a summary of what he will be discussing with parents at the Marlborough Boys' College hall at 7pm.

The term "modern learning environment" was just another way of referring to the most up-to-date and best teaching practises and the interaction between different factors at a school, Clapcott said.

When schools were built or reconfigured, they had two objectives: make the best use of the available footprint and make the spaces perform at their best with the help of technology, he said.

He would explain to parents at the meeting why the size of spaces and how they worked together were important to consider.


The personal needs of students and teachers should also be recognised and addressed, with work and social spaces provided for both, he said.

Every opportunity must also be taken to ensure students with special needs were accommodated, Clapcott said.

He directed parents to a website created by the Ministry of Education for more ideas. The website,, was updated as new projects were completed.

Consultation facilitator Janet Kelly said the aim of the meeting tonight was to provide parents with more information so they could make a decision confidently.

Ministry office manager Erika Ross and property expert Stephen Palfrey would also be speaking at the meeting.

Marlborough Girls' College principal Karen Stewart said: "This is a chance for everyone to get answers before making their choice. A decision will have to be made and we want it to reflect what the community wants."

She hoped parents with early childhood and primary school-aged children would attend, as this would determine their future education.

Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty said: "We have been offered an opportunity that other regions would die for. I want the public to understand the dilemmas caused by [Option 2] retaining the status quo, and what it doesn't offer compared to the other two options."

A ministry focus was to provide engaging courses for students who did not aspire to tertiary education, Hegarty said. The boards wanted more space to allocate to courses like horticulture, forestry and construction.

The Marlborough Express