Senior pupils at Whangaehu School south of Whanganui are doing mathematics exercises with their new teacher David Reddish.

Down the hall, Mr Reddish's wife and principal Trish Reddish is working with the junior students.

It is a far cry from the Whangaehu School of three years ago when the roll had dropped to four pupils and was under threat of closure.

The full primary school now has 27 pupils, two big, bright classrooms, a newly decorated break-out space in the hallway and a new teacher.


"It is great to have David working with me," said Mrs Reddish.

"We have worked together at other schools and we enjoy it."

The couple came to New Zealand from the United Kingdom nine years ago and they have previously worked together at Huntley and Fordell schools.

"Working with another teacher would mean waiting hours to share a good idea but with David, I can talk about it while we're out walking the dog."

Mr Reddish has a reputation for great maths teaching and has coached many Fordell School teams to success in annual Mathex competitions.

"We came to New Zealand with a vision of running a small, rural school," says Mrs Reddish "and it feels like we are where we should be."

The couple have support from van driver and administration worker Lyn White who started work at the school in July 2015 and is now employed fulltime.

Mrs White drives a group of pupils from Whanganui each morning and says she is delighted at the way the school has grown.

There is also great support from the Whangaehu Community and local farmer Michael O'Leary sold a couple of his animals and donated the money to pay for renovations at the school.

Community members have also helped to clear bore water and get the school pool in good working order again.

Added support comes from Mrs Reddish's retired parents who live in Marton and have helped with painting and decorating at the school.

Last August, Mrs Reddish took over from former principal Craig Sharp who was employed in 2015 to oversee the winding down of the school.

Instead he enlisted the support of the community and the roll had increased to 18 pupils when he left to become deputy principal Wainuiomata Intermediate School.

Before he departed, Mr Sharp said the Whangaehu pupils and community had become like family to him and the Reddish family are now taking it to the next level.