School in 'junior high' bid
A Blenheim primary school will apply to the Education Ministry next year to expand its site to become a "junior high".
Richmond View School in Burleigh wants to start teaching young teenagers in years 9 and 10.
Principal Dave Pauling said the school would apply to the ministry in March but a decision could take until November.
The school planned to split in two - a primary school teaching years 1 to 6 and a middle school or "junior high" teaching years 7 to 10, he said.
Richmond View had discussed its plans with other schools and hoped to work with colleges in the district, he said.
"We don't want to work in competition with them. Ultimately, we want to serve the children of Marlborough."
Richmond View is a state integrated school, which means the Government pays the teachers' wages, enforces the national curriculum and the school is regularly reviewed by the Education Review Office.
The school maintains its special character - in this case, the Christian religion, as overseen by the Elim Church.
The church owns the buildings on Burleigh Rd and is responsible for maintaining them.
Trustee Tom Hatch, a senior pastor who represents Elim Church on the school board, said the school had checked with its community and the application to become a middle school was backed by 95 per cent.
"The others weren't opposed, it was the ‘don't know' category."
Both Mr Hatch and Mr Pauling emphasised the application had been in the pipeline for a while and was not a reaction to the secondary school review.
A new building would have to be built but the school had space for that, Mr Pauling said.
It would still have plenty of playing field space for the students, he added.
"The DNA of Richmond View School will continue . . . this is not a cloistered school. I don't want people to send their children here from fear of the world. Children participate in events with other schools . . . We still have to provide a quality education."
The school had reached capacity with 120 students and had a waiting list, he said.
It would apply to increase the roll cap as part of its application to become a middle school.
"If a school is growing, it's very healthy."
- The Marlborough Express