Have your say on schools

Marlborough risks missing out on a chance for exciting new educational opportunities for secondary schooling, Marlborough Girls' College board chairman Bernie Rowe says.

Mr Rowe said it was extremely disappointing that only 37 submissions had been made so far.

"The way things are going, we are going to be stuck in the same old model.

"It's disappointing.

"No-one is getting too hot about it.

"It's sad really . . . I'm disappointed that we're not getting that much feedback.

"Hopefully we can stir up a bit of something over the next couple of weeks."

The Ministry of Education began consultation with the Marlborough community about the future of secondary schooling in Blenheim about two months ago, starting with a public meeting on December 2.

Another public meeting is to be held on Monday, and submissions are open until February 3.

Both Marlborough Girls' College and Marlborough Boys' College have significant problems with buildings that are ageing, at risk in an earthquake, and leaky.

Before spending money repairing them, the ministry is asking whether there was a different option for schooling that the community would rather have instead - for example, combining the two colleges on the girls' college site in McLauchlan St, in Springlands.

Mr Rowe said the ministry could not impose a change.

There was a real division between single sex and co-educational schooling in Blenheim, with the issue debated for the past 50 years, Mr Rowe said.

While he wasn't bothered either way, he said, there were things to consider about the combining of the colleges.

"There's room for a single school with single-sex classrooms . . .," he said. "It makes sense in your core subjects where everyone is doing them to have them single-sex."

The Marlborough District Council was building new sports grounds at Lansdowne Park, near Springlands, which the combined school could use.

"There are all sorts of possibilities in Marlborough to make it quite interesting for the future," Mr Rowe said.

These included working with the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology to move things forward in providing pathways into careers for students.

"There are lots of opportunities do things better for people."


The next public meeting on the future of secondary schooling in Blenheim is on Monday, January 20, at 7pm in the Marlborough Girls' College hall.

Submissions are open till February 3, and can be made by writing to facilitator Janet Kelly at janet.kelly@xtra.co.nz or 31 Courtney St, Motueka 7120. 

The Marlborough Express