The ageing condition of Gore High School’s buildings is providing a “unique opportunity” for the community, its board of trustees chairman says.
Brendon Harrex said the board had been speaking with the Ministry of Education for several years regarding the future of the buildings.
“Our buildings were built in 1953,” Mr Harrex said.
“The funding we receive is struggling to maintain them because of their age, let alone improve them to be a modern learning facility.”
The board was in a similar position to the owner of an old home.
“It’s time to determine how best to deal with it.”
As part of the discussion, the ministry asked the board to prepare an education brief that outlined the board’s vision of how the school would cater for the needs of pupils in the future.
“They call it pedagogy, which is the way we deliver learning and how that is unique to us.”
In the process of writing the brief, board members realised the Longford Intermediate board of trustees needed to be part of the discussion.
“Most of our intake comes from Longford, so we said if we are going to consider the future of us, we need to give Longford a chance to consider their future.”
The two boards of trustees were now working together to work out how the schooling of pupils from year 7 to 13 would look in the future.
“Should we continue to have an intermediate and a high school?
“Should we just have a high school that goes from year 7 to 13?
“Should we have a separate year 7 to 10 school and a year 11 to 13 school?
“There are myriad options available for the future of schooling in our town.”
The ministry had hired independent consultant Dr Gabrielle Law to oversee the process.
Four public workshops would be hosted by Dr Law and people could give feedback online.
“It’s a unique opportunity for the community, because there’s not many places where the community gets a say in what the future looks like,” Mr Harrex said.
Usually, the ministry determined what schooling was provided, he said.
“That’s why it’s really important that we hear the voice not only from those current students but from those that have kids at primary school or even preschool.
“It’s a privilege not many communities get.
“It really is a fantastic opportunity for Gore.”
Dr Law would present a report containing what people considered important in the provision of schooling to both the ministry and the two boards.
Then it would be decided what was platform to deliver what’s important
However, the report would not be binding for either the ministry or the boards, Mr Harrex said.
Longford Intermediate board of trustees chairwoman Leah Wilson said it was important people took part in the discussion.
“It’s really about community consultation and engagement, getting them to put their point of views across, and we can use that as a board of trustees to plan the future of education for Longford Intermediate,” Mrs Wilson said.
“We’re excited to hear what the community .. thoughts are.”
Ministry of Education sector enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey said the ministry was working with the two boards to help plan for the future education needs of Gore.
“The boards initiated the discussion with us, and we have worked together to develop the community engagement process,” Ms Casey said.
Dr Wall would lead the engagement process, which would “look at the current education structure as well as other options for intermediate and secondary-aged students, to help consider if there should be any changes made in the future”.