Gladstone School expects to hear shortly whether its suggested zoning amendment will be accepted by the Ministry of Education.
The school board has applied to the ministry for approval to remove the Unitec Institute of Technology land from its zone.
While the Unitec block at present has no homes – and, therefore, no children – the medium-long term plan is to build a new campus in a more compact space and create up to 3000 new homes on the rest of the land.
With its suggested amendment, Gladstone is effectively planning for the future – allowing it to retain its core catchment to the east of Carrington Rd, and to the south of the Unitec land.
As Mt Albert Inc has reported, the ministry is making no provision for a secondary or primary school within the Unitec development. It is satisfied Avondale College, Avondale Intermediate and Waterview Primary can handle the pressure.
Gladstone principal Dave Shadbolt says the Unitec zoning change, if accepted, will make no difference to families covered by the existing zone.
The school roll has stabilised and, at a little over 930, is now 10-15 children down on last year’s total. While more intensive housing means there is the potential for the roll to expand in the future, the school is “managing fine with no big class sizes”.
Mt Albert Primary has introduced a zone that extends west and south-west to Alexis Ave and Asquith Ave, but a wide belt overlaps with the Gladstone zone – allowing parents to choose between the two schools.
News of the planned overlap produced raised voices on social media from the Gladstone fraternity when it was revealed earlier this year, but it is now in place.
The local fears seemed to be based on the theory that in time Gladstone – one of the biggest primary schools in New Zealand – might be forced by a rising roll to cut its zone, leaving Mt Albert Primary exclusively with much of the overlap.
But with the school roll looking stable and with some room to move – and assuming the ministry supports the bid to cut the Unitec land – the Gladstone zone looks secure, at least for the foreseeable future.