No students but Chris Hipkins will probably fight to save it

Five years ago, Tuturumuri School in Wairarapa had 22 students. Today, it has none.

In fact it has had no students all term. But the school is determined to remain open.

Board of Trustees chairman Mike Firth said student numbers dropped as farm owners aged, as forestry replaced farms that employed people, and as parents took children to Martinborough where they work.

Instead of accepting its seemingly inevitable fate, the school is battling on thanks to a healthy savings account.

It will pay its three staff for the first term of next year on the chance of students enrolling.

If students do not enrol, another option is to buy a bus to transport students from Martinborough.

Any students enrolling will enjoy the highest staff-to-student ratio in the country, a heated indoor swimming pool and the best in technology.

Teacher aide Charmaine Potter said small schools were often superior.

Yes just like Partnership schools who unlike this school actually have students and huge waiting lists. They too are fighting for their very survival. Will Education minister Chris Hipkins keep the school with no students alive or the successful Partnership schools alive?

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[…] “I have had the beauty of seeing what a lot of one-on-one teaching can have on the children and the classroom, especially when they can get lost in some of the bigger schools,” she said.

“It is kind of nice when you are in a little school with a small amount of students and you can actually spend that time helping them and watching them grow and learn.”

Yes, that is one of the key benefits of Partnership schools. They are already successfully providing that exact kind of experience for students failed by the State school system and unlike Tuturumuri school there is actually a demand for their services.

Should the school be forced to close, any children moving into the area could face an hour’s drive to school in Martinborough.

If Chris Hipkins closes the Partnership schools the students currently thriving in the charter school environment will be forced back into the State schools that failed them. Those who were suspended or expelled from State schools will find themselves on the outside and out of educational options.

What is more of a tragedy? An empty school closing because there is no demand or a full school being forced to close by Chris Hipkins despite a high demand?

-NZ Herald


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