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Taking shape . . . The construction of two new classrooms is under way at Pembroke School, much to the delight of principal Brent Godfery. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Pembroke School expects to open two new classrooms by April, which will ease the pressure on class sizes, according to principal Brent Godfery.

The school first applied to the Ministry of Education for funding for the new classrooms about three years ago.

However, its application was knocked back on more than one occasion due to a greater need for classrooms elsewhere and funding already being allocated to other schools.

Mr Godfery was relieved the ministry had approved the funding of the $633,000 project after three years of waiting.

“It’s fully-funded by the ministry. Originally they were not going to fund it, but they changed their decision because we have shown good roll growth, and said they would fund the classrooms.”

The classrooms will allow pupils to study in a modern environment that catered for their changing needs.

“They are normal, standard-sized classrooms with the new, modern learning environment. In between there will be a breakout space that will be shared.”

composite class will be housed in the classrooms, which can cater for up to 56 pupils.

Mr Godfery said issues involving lack of space at the school had become dire.

“Last year it became quite untenable because we lost our staffroom, which became a classroom, and the student numbers in the classes became too big. It’s going to be really good to have the new classrooms.”

Pembroke School has about 250 pupils.

He was thankful the ministry approved the funding, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis and took into account how well-resourced other schools in the vicinity were.

“We had some people in the ministry that supported us, so that’s been really good. They have been helpful in making sure we’ve been looked after.”

Fenwick School, which has a roll of 293 pupils with another 31 new entrants to come, is also in need of a new classroom.

However, despite applying to the ministry more than 12 months ago and being eligible under the ministry’s criteria, the school’s request had not yet been granted.

Fenwick School principal Lloyd Bokser said the school library was being used as a classroom, with the library now based in a space above the school hall.

“Really, we are just hanging in there . . . if they (the ministry) don’t come back to us as a board, we’ll go to them and see how things are going.”

Meanwhile, Pembroke School opened the final stage of its expanded playground last last week.

It was funded by the Pembroke School Home and School Committee and New World Community Trust.

“The kids were really happy,” Mr Godfery said.