Stoke School has received a new classroom for the new school year, thanks to its growing popularity. The primary school has about 200 pupils this year, and it is expected to increase to 230 later in the year, marking the largest roll at the school since 1990.
Stoke School, established in 1845, is the second oldest continuous public school in New Zealand. Wakefield School (1843) is the oldest.
Classrooms are added and taken away from schools by the Ministry of Education, depending on roll numbers. In the 1990s Stoke School had a classroom built in the same spot as the one opened yesterday, but it was later removed as the roll number dropped.
Because of the steady roll growth over the last few years, the newly-built class will house 18 year one and two students.
The opening event was celebrated by the whole school, where they sang, and listened to speeches by principal Pete Mitchener and Nelson MP Nick Smith.
"It's wonderful to be invited to be part of the opening for this flash new classroom. It's good to see this school has a strong growing roll," Dr Smith told the school.
He said students enjoyed "excellent education in this old historic building," and encouraged staff to "take a bow, as the Education Review Office as well the as community suggest you are doing an excellent job".
"This classroom is a place where young people can grown into wonderful New Zealanders and continue to be a success story," he said.
Dr Smith also praised the school for its use of solar panels that were heating the swimming pool and providing power around the school.
Dr Smith officially opened the room with the help of student Hunter Butler, 6. The pair cut a white ribbon and then the school walked through the new class.
Mr Mitchener said the school was told in December it was eligible for another classroom because of the roll growth, which had been steady over the last few years. He said this was due to new subdivision in the area.
This year the school was also planning a major paint job for all buildings, and wheelchair access through the school.
The students will be moved into their new class on Monday.
The Nelson Mail