Meetings on hold until college option chosen

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014

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No more public meetings are planned until one of three options for secondary education in Blenheim is selected.

Consultation facilitator Janet Kelly said no more meetings had been planned to discuss those three options.

The three options are: Two single-sex colleges on one site, a co-ed college, or keeping the status quo and fixing the buildings.

She and the boards would discuss having another meeting if there were requests from the community to do so, she said.

The community had been given the opportunity to ask questions about the options during the meeting last Wednesday, and could also leave written questions to be answered afterwards, she said.

"There were only five questions posted on the school wall, and I received about a dozen other questions from people in Marlborough, and I'm awaiting answers from the ministry on these," Kelly said.

There had not been a flood of questions, and so far it seemed the community were getting the answers they hoped for in the first round of consultations, she said.

Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty said he thought the public meeting, both the college websites and media coverage provided enough information. "There will be further opportunities for consultation as the process goes on, this isn't the end - it's only the next step."

Marlborough Girls' College principal Karen Stewart said she was pleased with the new information provided to the community to help them choose between the three options.

"The new vision especially is helpful information to help parents compare the three options available to the community," she said.

She knew members of the public had questions about the site options, but that would be discussed during the next round once the Education Ministry knew the preferred option and could apply the required formulas and guidelines to determine what would work.

She hoped parents would focus on what would offer students the best academic possibilities in the future.

"We want to offer students more than what they already have. It could include a wider variety subjects, or link with the Pathways programme throughout school classes to prepare students better for their futures," she said.

She has received a lot of positive feedback from parents since the meeting and would encourage parents to visit the college website to read the available information.

Marlborough Boys' and Marlborough Girls' colleges both require significant repair work that would cost millions.

The community has been asked to consider the future of secondary education in Blenheim before money was spent on this maintenance work.

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Submissions can be made online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/MarlboroughOptionsSurvey2014 or by email: janet.kelly@xtra.co.nz or posted to: Janet Kelly, 31 Courtney St, Motueka 7210 by July 31. 

- The Marlborough Express

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