Fundraising for extra teacher

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Omarama School is fundraising to muster an extra teacher.

At present, the school has two teachers for its 46 pupils – which is four pupils short of the required 51 to be funded for a third teacher.

So the school’s board of trustees and wider community is raising money to fund the shortfall itself by holding a fundraising event – an art auction and dinner – at the Heritage Gateway Hotel in Omarama on August 23.

Omarama School’s pupils are divided into two classrooms – years 0 to 4 and years 5 to 8.

Because of the size of the school, the numbers fluctuated above and below the required number for an extra teacher, Omarama School principal Kim McKenzie said.

“At only two classes, there is a large gap of levels in each class, and within those levels there are mixed abilities,” she said.

“In some ways it is good because the more capable children can help support the teachers, but an extra teacher would support the children and allow for more one-on-one teaching.

“It would give us extra support when we are sitting on high numbers, and allow us to help individual students.”

funding given to schools for each student on the roll after 47, but that was not guaranteed year to year as the school roll fluctuated.

Board of trustees chairman David Anderson said he accepted the Ministry of Education was bound by rigid fundraising rules but thought funding should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

“The workload is too great to give the students the time they require when you have a teaching principal and classes well over 20 students.

“If it comes off it will be an ongoing thing, and if we raised extra money we will look at reinvesting it and using it further down the track,” Mr Anderson said.

Friends of the school member Pene Radford, who has been involved with obtaining art for the coming fundraising auction, said the response from the community had been fantastic.

The pieces of art being auctioned were by local and national artists.

Some had been donated and some had set their items at a lower reserve.

Mrs Radford said the response from artists approached had been “really positive”.

“We have had fantastic support from sponsors. Everyone has really got behind it.

“It is like anything in the education sector at the moment, if you want it you have to do it yourself a little bit, the little rural school especially.”