Funding delays Marlborough School of Wine to 2017

Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan hopes a School of Wine for older students will be up and ...

Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan hopes a School of Wine for older students will be up and running in 2017.

Plans for a School of Wine in Marlborough are still on the cards but will be postponed for a year, says Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan. 

The scheme, aimed at year 12 and 13 students from Marlborough Boys' and Marlborough Girls' College, was proposed to the Marlborough District Council in July.

It was originally planned to start in 2016, and the first year of the course was estimated to cost between $80,000 and $100,000. 

Ryan said the colleges had not yet secured the funding they needed from the wine industry to go ahead, but were hopeful the school would be launched in 2017.

An investment from the Marlborough Grape Producers' Co-operative had given the colleges the opportunity to plan the enterprise further.

"They see that this will be a great initiative," Ryan said. 

"We want to take our time and produce a really high quality programme." 

The course would initially be aimed at year 12 students. In 2018, it would become a two-year course for year 12 and 13 students. 

Students would work with achievement standards in subjects such as English, biology and chemistry, which would be "contextualised" to make them relevant to the wine industry. 

An example could be titrations in chemistry, finding the pH of a solution. 

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Eventually the school would hopefully be housed on the colleges' new co-located site, which is due to start operating in 2021. Whether or not tutors would include Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology staff was "all up in the air at the moment", Ryan said. 


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The colleges had hoped the programme could use NMIT's facilities before then, but they were being used, Ryan said. 

Queen Charlotte College, in Picton, was supportive of the scheme, whose students could also enrol. Ryan said he hoped Marlborough students would get "a taste" of the wine industry before they left school, encouraging them to go onto further study or work in the region.

Students' options would be kept open; after completing the wine course in year 13 they could work, continue studying at NMIT or go to university and study something different. 

Linking the School of Wine programmes into NMIT's programmes while still giving students choices would require planning, Ryan said. 

The colleges would be joining a network of schools getting involved in primary industries. St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton was developing an agribusiness course, Ryan said. 

St Pauls' deputy headmaster Peter Hampton said his school's programme encouraging senior students to learn more about agribusiness had "massive" industry support from Dairy NZ and Beef + Lamb NZ. 

Schools from around New Zealand had expressed an interest in the programme which would be trialled in 2017, and would hopefully be available nationally in 2018.  

Marlborough Girls' College principal Karen Stewart said she was "very happy" with the community response to the Marlborough scheme, but it was "very much at the pitching stage". 

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said there was an "amazing amount of interest" from the wine community in the project. 

It would be good for the province and a "great stepping stone" for students, he said. 

Wine Marlborough endorsed the programme but were waiting for "a bit more information" before they worked out how to support the scheme in the future. 

 - The Marlborough Express


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