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Last week we conducted our school tours as part of the annual enrolment process.

Interest is high and numbers coming through on the tours have been far bigger than in previous years.  Obviously the rate of progress on our new build is attracting attention, as well as the quality of education on offer here.  A delightful email from one of our visitors states that:

“Our students are a credit to the school – they were great at answering questions from young and old, and in such an open and honest way.”

At present Springs’ roll sits at 1460 students – a really good size for a secondary school, I think.  Our re-build is sized to cater for up to 1700 students – more than enough, I think. Remember too, we haven’t taken any out of zone students since 2009.  If we get any bigger, I believe we will be in danger of sacrificing the special character of this place.

I want to share with you the nervousness of the Ministry in relation to demographic projections for this area.  The bulge currently enrolled in primary schools will hit us in 2021, one year after the completion of the new school.  How many extra students, who at present go elsewhere will be attracted to our wonderful new school? It is very hard for the Ministry to get accurate figures on this aspect, but anecdotally they do say there are significant roll spikes after major refurbishments/rebuilds.  The officials are very clear “that it is a bad look for the Ministry to vacate a rebuild site in one year only to come back the following year to cater for unplanned roll growth.”  Can I assure you that we are working collaboratively with the Ministry officials to ensure that this does not happen here.

Following on with this theme I note schools in the Unitec area are closing down their enrolment zones in anticipation of pressure from the 4000 housing units being planned for the site as Unitec consolidates.  To state that a school will “possibly” feature in the planning seems incredibly short sighted as Gladstone Primary school, the biggest in the country, grows beyond 1,000 pupils and Pat Drumm at MAGS informs me that his roll has just pushed through 3,000 making it the second largest secondary school in the country.  Sticking to our in-zone only enrolment policy has certainly paid off for us!

Finally, acknowledgements and rounds of hearty applause to Simon Henley, one of our treasured Learning Centre staff, who has been recognized for his outstanding service to the students of Western Springs College with a nomination for the New Zealander of the Year awards; and to Maggie McKenzie, retiring at the end of the term, from serving thousands of students since 2004 with her own home cooked specialties in the school canteen.  

Ivan Davis


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