Christian school set to become secondary

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Ashburton Christian School principal Tim Kuipers.

By Mick Jensen

Ashburton Christian School is set to become a fully combined primary and secondary school and expects notification in the next few weeks on when it can begin extending its education programme to students in Years 11-13.

The school has a capped and capacity roll of 120 and offers a Christian-based education from Year 1 through to Year 10.

Principal Tim Kuipers said the school would know soon when it could move forward with its plans, and the changes would start no later than 2023.

He said if 2023 was given the green light, it would mean current Year 7 pupils would be able to stay on at the school for Year 11 onwards.

It was also likely that the Year 11 roll out would include Year 12 at the same time, while Year 13 would start the following year.

Mr Kuipers said it was anticipated that the school roll would be capped at 250 pupils in 2020 and at 345 when the extra years were introduced.

He said if things happened earlier than 2023, more current students could continue at the school, whereas a delay until 2023 would give more time for planning.

Ashburton Christian School was opened in 2009 with just 27 students.

There has been steady growth over the years, before numbers levelled out to 90 for three years and then jumped again to the current capped levels.

Mr Kuipers said it was an exciting time ahead for the school and he was motivated by the philosophy of education the school offered.

The schoolprogramme allowed for the national curriculum.

learning approach is a real game changer in the education field.

A compulsory subject, with optional assessment, going forward for pupils from Year 7 and above is called World Studies and will see students and staff explore and debate a range of topics suggested by both sides.

A topic already debated by older students is transgenderism. Other suggested topics include leadership, the place of pain, music, euthanasia, race, socialism and slavery.

Exploration of those type of topics would inevitably branch out into NCEA subjects, where they could be explored further and in context, said Mr Kuipers.

Teachers would be upskilled to deliver the World Studies component of the programme, he said.

Ashburton Christian School has nine teachers and future school expansion will need more staff to fill roles such as head of secondary school, head of middle school and specialist roles.

The school has purchased 1.3ha of adjacent land, and buildings for future Year 13 pupils will be located there from next year. The extra land will also mean the expansion and reconfiguration of sports areas at the school.