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Frequently asked questions Updated May 2019)


1. What are the benefits of a local high school?

Our community’s preference is for local schooling which maintains community networks as well as minimising travel. Families take pride living in this community and have a strong desire to see it develop more sustainably. A local secondary school will provide a major service. Families will stay, rather than move away for secondary education. It will strengthen our community. Importantly, our children will be able to envisage their future at secondary school and feel they have a role in our community.

2. Does our area have a large enough population to support a local high school?

Yes. We are the only area of around 25,000 people in New Zealand without a high school. When NESE began it’s lobbying in 2008 there were 2,200 children attending six local primary schools. Every day 500 secondary school students travelled more than 7km to attend high school. The population decline immediately after the earthquakes has now been reversed. 2016 school roll numbers increased to 2,300 primary students, and nearly 1,000 secondary students.

3. How do I find out about local secondary schools?

State secondary schools hold open nights in May. The dates are advertised on individual school websites and in local community papers. We recommend visiting secondary schools in both years 7 and 8. This helps students envisage their education path and eases their transition to high school. Every year two or more schools have open nights on the same day. If you can only visit one school it really helps to have seen the other school the year before.

4. How much does it cost to send a student to High School?

Secondary school costs are significantly more than primary school costs. Different schools charge quite different amounts. You might like to investigate this. Individual schools charge different amounts for their stationary, work books, parent donation, music lessons, sports, trips, technology etc. Ask schools to itemise their expenses for you to help your budgeting. There are also considerable differences between the costs of uniforms between different secondary schools. Bus fare – even discounted by using a Metrocard costs about $500 per year. BYOD (bring your own device) is something you should provide for your child if possible. Each school has different requirements for the devices they recommend students have. Get advice from your secondary school about the minimum requirements.

5. The single sex schools are coming to QEII Park. Do I still have a co-ed choice?

Yes. Our closest co-ed schools are Mairehau and Haeata.

6. Are the secondary schools at QEII Park be zoned?

Yes. NESE has written a document called NESE’s School Zone Document which can be read on NESE’s website under the proposal tab. It shares our community’s ideas for well-considered school zones that support local communities. We believe all co-ed schools in suburban areas should be zoned to ensure every residential area has a clear educational direction for their children. Zone catchments should be logically placed to enhance their communities now and in the future. Our preference for single sex schools to have their own zone network layer has been implemented.

7. Will the QEII Park campus be suitable for students with mobility needs or special learning needs?

The campus design includes facilities for students who are disabled including five lifts. A satellite unit of Ferndale Special Education School catering for students with high needs will be located on the campus.

8. What does “two schools on one site” actually mean?

The co-location of Avonside Girls’ High School and Shirley Boys’ High School will provide opportunities for the two schools to share facilities while retaining their own independent identities. The schools will continue to operate independently, with each maintaining their Principal and continuing their individual character and focus. Students will spend most of their day in a single sex learning environment but will have the added educational and social advantages of being able to work alongside and interact with the students from the other school.

9. Will the community have access to the schools?

Yes. Many of the facilities, including the sports facilities, meeting rooms, cultural space and performing arts auditorium and theatre will be available for the community to use creating a fantastic community asset.

10. What is the future role for NESE?

Our community’s desire is for a local co-ed secondary school. Not all of our community’s goals have been satisfied by the co-location of Shirley Boys’ and Avonside Girls’ High Schools at QEII Park. We will continue to invest our time and energy towards positive results for all of the families in North East Christchurch.

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