Repreive brings joy

20:53, Feb 19 2013
Yaldhurst Model School deputy principal Ann-Marie Garden celebrates after her school is told it will not be merged.

PARENTS ARE looking towards the future in two of the schools reprieved from possible merger or closure in and around Selwyn.

The Government's change of heart on Monday had already led to new enrolments at Yaldhurst Model School and Burnham School, while at Greenpark School the interim decision to confirm its closure and push forward the date left staff and parents weighing up their options.

Yaldhurst Model School assistant principal Ann-Marie Garden said it was a "massive weight off" the school's shoulders when it was told merger plans had changed.

There had been a lot of concern and anxiety around the school after last September's announcement, and Monday's news brought instant relief to the school and the wider Yaldhurst community.

"Teachers are already telling us there is more energy coming out in the students and there is renewed confidence in our future."

"We did one enrolment on Monday afternoon and two on Tuesday, so parents are already showing more confidence now the uncertainty has been removed."


She said there was a feeling of satisfaction after the school tried so hard to promote and bring publicity to its plight in protest of the closure.

Ms Garden said the teachers had always been focused on what was best for the children, but expected as the news sunk in over the coming days, job security would be a "huge relief" for teachers at Yaldhurst.

Ms Garden said the question was put to the Ministry of Education if the new decision was delaying the inevitable, but the answer was "extremely encouraging".

"They have pledged us their support in the future and are committed to making repairs around the school."

The Ministry acknowledged the potential growth for the area as the main decision for its about- face.

Now the good news has been delivered, the school is questioning whether it was necessary to drag them into the initial announcements - but Ms Garden said it was not something the school would focus on.

"There are three major subdivisions around us that could potentially house 1100 homes, but they are not new - they have been in the pipeline for a very long time. We are just happy we can get back to doing what we do best, giving the children a Kiwi, country education."

Burnham School board of trustees chairwoman, Jackie Freeman, said she was ecstatic at the news the school would remain open, and they already had new enrolments - one at 1pm on Monday - though the announcement was only an hour before.

She said the possible closure had put the school in the spotlight and now parents in Rolleston were more aware of the school as another option.

The cost of repairing the school was more than a rebuild, so there could also be new facilities in the offing, but the details had yet to be discussed with the Ministry.

She said no words could describe how she felt about the school being saved.

She thought the school's future was now assured, as the Ministry recognised its unique relationship with the New Zealand Defence Force.

For Greenpark School near Lincoln, which had its closure confirmed, the outlook was very different.

Board of trustees chairman, Geoff McMillan, said the decision was not completely unexpected: "We were always battling, but it was still a shock".

It was the early closure of the school, now the start of 2014 - a year early - caused the most consternation. He said the "botch-up" had hit the staff hard.

There would be a meeting next week to decide on the possible course of action.

Schools have until March 28 to respond to the latest proposal, with a final decision expected in May.

(Live Matches)