Record roll growth at Eskdale School

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Hawke's Bay's oldest primary school can't wait for its two new classrooms.

The roll at Eskdale has rocketed from 171 to 263 in less than three years - an increase of almost 54 per cent and a third up on what is thought to have been its previous record of just under 200.

By the time the new rooms announced this week by Minister of Education Hekia Parata on Thursday are in place the number of rooms will have grown from eight to 11, and there could yet be room for more.

Tristan Cheer, who has been principal since 2014, says that as the first room was being put in place last year he was seeing the need for one more.

But even that was short of the mark, for the Ministry of Education had barely had time to consider the application for the extra room, Mr Cheer said the school was telling the Ministry perhaps they should make it two more.

The school did the sums and roll projections as the school packed in the pupils even more, and after hearing the "great news" the relieved principal said: "Currently there's a class in the library, and the library is in the hall."

He said there had been several factors in the roll growth, which had led to the Years 1-8 school bringing in zoning for the first time. In addition to population growth, he said all families in the area are now sending their children to the school, where some may have in the past gone to other schools, including those in Napier, and the pupils remain for their last two years before high school, where many in the past had headed for intermediate schools after Year 6.

On Thursday the Minister also announced Clive School, another of the Bay's oldest schools having opened in 1879, will get one new room to meet the demands of its roll-growth.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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