I know lots of people are interested in how our recapitation application is going. Unfortunately, the answer is nowhere fast. We had a meeting with Ministry officials who essentially advised us that the Ministry really does not want us to recapitate. As a result, they advised us to withdraw our application. They said they definitely would not consider recapitation while the three schools most affected – Newlands Intermediate, Churton Park School and Raroa Intermediate - opposed it. However, even if we gained the support of those schools, the Ministry would still not guarantee that they would support our application. Hence, I can state very clearly that year 7/8 schooling at Amesbury School will not be available for students in 2018.
However, rather than withdrawing our application, the Board of Trustees has resolved to put it on hold while we explore a range of options, including talking more closely with the schools to find out why they are continually opposing recapitation. This is our third attempt. Their opposition is a little puzzling given that recapitation does not affect one school at all in terms of potential risk to its school roll and one of the other schools has stated quite publically that it is “bursting at the seams”. The third school is continually outgrowing its capacity and building new classrooms. It seems a little bit surprising that neither the schools, nor the Ministry see the recapitation of Amesbury School as an option for assisting with this capacity problem.
The Board is keen to understand what the “real” issues are. One Intermediate School has said that the reason it is opposing recapitation is because it believes that Intermediate Schools are the best schooling option for meeting the needs of year 7 – 8 students. Our view is that students are all unique individuals and, as a result, have different needs. Unique students require a variety of schooling choices to meet their needs. We were simply hoping to provide another choice.
Just to be clear, we have not given up. We are continuing to work through the difficulties we are experiencing. But it will take time.
Kia kaha. Kia toa. Kia manawanui.
Be strong, courageous and patient.