`Crowing for a classroom’

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An increase in pupil numbers means two Oamaru schools urgently need new classrooms.
Fenwick School’s roll at July 1 will stand at 291, the highest roll the school will have recorded at that time, while Pembroke School is on track to have its highest July 1 roll, expected to be about 270, compared to 260 last year.
The school has 10 classrooms, while Fenwick School has 12.
Fenwick School has applied to the Ministry of Education for one additional classroom to be built, while Pembroke School has applied for two.
Such is the need at Pembroke School, principal Brent Godfery said it has no choice but to take action itself to accommodate pupils.
“The staffroom will be converted to a classroom from term three, and the staffroom will go to the hall. It’s not ideal, but you have to put the kids first.
“Based on the minimum figures, by the first of July we will be eligible for two new classrooms but we have been out of luck due to budget constraints. “It’s all about how much Treasury put into property and how our school gets prioritised.”He said he had his “fingers crossed” for a positive outcome.
Fenwick School principal Lloyd Bokser predicted the school’s roll would continue to grow and expected it to be 312 by the end of term four.
The school is not taking any pupils from outside the school zone unless they are from the family of a pupil already at the school who was originally enrolled while inside the zone.
Pembroke School is not taking enrolments from outside its zone at all.
“Really from mid-next term onwards we will be looking for increased space,” Mr Bokser said.
He said the need for a classroom had become dire.
The Ministry of Education does not take into account pupils from outside the school zone when it considers requests for new classrooms.
Of Fenwick’s School’s present roll of 287, 31 children are from outside the school zone.
“In our case, we have got families with two or three children that we have accepted that are out of the zone. “We’ve kept those families coming in.
“It is going to be an issue … we are only built to accommodate for 270-odd. When it comes to accommodation, because we are not counting out-of-zoners, we are penalised. “We’re crowing for a classroom at the moment. We need one now and are negotiating.”It the meantime, the school, which has a high number of new-entrant pupils compared to other years, plans to use its old dental clinic as a learning space if necessary.
Both principals said staff were doing a great job given the circumstances they found themselves in.