Battling to save a school with two pupils?

Stuff reports:

Only two students are set to be enrolled at Richmond’s next year.

The school has had a dropping roll, with nine girls enrolled currently, down from 15 in July last year and 22 in 2013. There were 80 pupils in 2012.

The school had a lengthy battle with the Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2012 as it threatened to close it, which board member Julia O’Connor does not want to see a repeat of.

Looks like parents have voted with their feet though.

O’Connor, the immediate former chair of the school board, was unsure about what was happening with the school and unable to speculate on its future.

“All the people up the system are saying there is no intention to close it,” she said.

She hoped the school would not have another legal battle to stay open.

Surely the question has to be why has the school gone from 80 pupils to possibly just two pupils in three to four years? A former board chair should be focused on that, not insisting a school no one wants to attend, stays open.

Funding for seven of the school’s current nine pupils would have ended by the start of next year, which could mean only two pupils at Salisbury, with eight teaching staff.

It’s like the episode of Yes Minister with the hospital that had no patients!

There were about 300 students from across the country currently being supported by the IWS.

“More and more parents with children with complex needs are choosing to have their children supported at home. Although substantially fewer in number than boys, proportionally more girls who apply are prioritised to receive the IWS service.”

She said the selection process for all placements for wraparound support – and potentially a place at a residential school – had been independently assessed by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research as fair to all students.

Casey added about one in four parents of students prioritised for IWS request a residential placement for their child, and in the last two years no parent of a student prioritised for IWS who has requested a placement for their child in a residential special school has been refused a place.

Of those requesting a residential place, increasingly more are indicating they’d prefer a place at a co-educational environment which Halswell School in Christchurch provided, she said.

It’s not the fault of the Government, if parents choose a different school.

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