Burwood 'a jewel' of a school

School serves community for 141 years

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 07:00 28/12/2013
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MOVING ON: Burwood School's last ever Anzac Day ceremony.

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Burwood School is losing a "jewel" of the community but one of its long standing principals believes its essence will carry on at its merged school.

The school will be merged with Windsor School from next year.

Doug Watkinson, who was principal from 1990 to 2011, said the school had "good kids, good teachers", and the support of its community.

"When I went there it was certainly never my intention to do more than five or six years, but I became part of the place."

"My fondest memories are of the kids, their parents and the staff."

His wife had attended the school, followed by their three children.

Burwood was the oldest in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch and had some children who were fourth and fifth generation pupils of the school.

"I think the school has served the community very well over the 141 years."

The school was called New Brighton School when it began but was renamed Burwood in 1890.

"It really catered for education of kids from the beach right to Marshlands Road."

It was founded with less than 100 pupils, but it "really took off" in the baby boom. By the 1960s it had about 800 pupils.

The pre-quake roll was 450, and it was down to 245.

Tony Mabin, who was seconded to the role of principal in its final few months, said he had dealt with a "brutal" process.

The staff and pupils had been through a lot through the merger process, he said, but the children were "more resilient than we give them credit for".

"Change happens for them every year with new teachers and classrooms."

The school, which followed the mantra "Working together and aiming high", had "a great tone, a great atmosphere".

"It's a jewel really."

The school's old school bell had been reconditioned, so every pupil would be tolling the bell on the last day.

"Burwood community are going through the grieving stages. It will be a very sad day [on the last day]."

Burwood would remain the "River Campus" for Year 4 to 6, while Windsor would be the "Wetland Campus" for Year 1 to 3, until the new Waitakiri School operates from the one site on the old Windsor grounds.

Burwood School: 1872-2014

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