No room for extra students


Pupils at Nelson College will be forced to take classes in the school’s boarding houses this term as the student population outgrows the number of desks and chairs available.

The region’s oldest college will welcome 1210 students when it re-opens next week, up on the 1080 at the same time last year, and headmaster Gary O’Shea says that’s putting pressure on the school’s resources.

Several classes will be held in the school’s boarding houses until four new classrooms are built, which is expected to be around May this year.

Gary says a fifth “pre-fab” classroom was borrowed from Nayland College and will now remain at Nelson College permanently.
He says the growth has come from the Tasman district, with some families opting to send their boy to a single-sex school. “But if you look at the trends in Nelson and Atawhai, those areas will keep growing and in the next few years our growth will be from Nelson.”

He says the school has enrolled 40 year-8 boys from Broadgreen Intermediate.

The school is expecting another 8-15 students in the next few weeks, but he wouldn’t like to see it get much bigger.

“If we got too much bigger we’d start to lose that sense of community.”

Meanwhile, Nayland College’s new principal, Daniel Wilson, will preside over a smaller school than his predecessor Rex Smith. The school has suffered another drop in its roll, with 1021 students enrolling for 2015, down on the 1081 at the start of last year and 1120 in 2013.

At Waimea College, the roll has remained steady with almost the same number of students enrolling this year as last, 1541.  But acting principal, Graeme Smith, says that will change in the next year or two with Waimea Intermediate taking a record number of enrolments this year, up to 670 and still turning away 30 out-of-town students.

Garin College has recorded an increase with 510 students enrolling this year, up from 488 last year.

Nelson College for Girls principal Cathy Ewing says 1120 students are enrolled for 2015, slightly up on last year, and she says that number is likely to increase before next week.

Most of the colleges are back next Tuesday, but some, including Waimea, start this Friday.