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Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, seen from the summit of Mauao. considerable community consultation, that two existing full primary schools (years 1–8) should become contributing primary schools (years 1–6). Such decisions aren’t taken lightly. The ministry’s plan notes, “The provision needed to address the demand for future student places while managing localised growth areas, cope with the effects of changes on current schools, effectively manage travel times and access to schools, and provide educational pathways for students within the area.” Eduational pathways also need to reflect the local environment. Tauranga City Council intends Papamoa East to be developed as a “live, work, play” environment, in accordance with sustainable urban development principles. And schooling needs to fit into this bigger community picture. There are certainly many factors to consider, not least the considerable investment. Yet if we step back to look at the even bigger picture, future development along the proposed Tauranga Eastern Corridor – in the form of residential, commercial and industrial development – is expected to contribute around $8.5 billion to the western Bay of Plenty economy. The scary part about investing in infrastructure to cope with future growth is the risk involved. How far down the track does

the ministry look when making decisions to restructure the education network for an area? Case in point: the development of a town centre likely to be named Modena Beach is proposed as part of the Papamoa East urban growth strategy. Some might argue that the ministry is short-sighted in not factoring Modena into its school building plans. But in actual fact, the ministry has considered Modena. It acknowledges that an additional new primary school site may be required in the medium term, as newer neighbourhoods are created and in the longer term, further planning for the educational network will be undertaken as council plans are realised for the development of the Modena town centre. Opportunities to purchase further new school sites will become available in time, subject to the Tauranga City Council’s rezoning of the area. Given the nature of demographic growth and timing of residential development is largely

developer driven and influenced by economic conditions, it is probably prudent for the ministry to move one step at a time, albeit one step ahead of growth, in order to avoid system failure. The ministry therefore must proceed boldly ahead with plans for new schools but, somewhat paradoxically, with a degree of caution. In the case of Papamoa, the ministry has striven to provide a school network with enough flexibility to cope with different rates of growth and changing demographic age profiles. The network should be able to expand and contract as individual school capacity is needed to meet local demands. For the moment, life is peachy in Papamoa. The two new schools are performing well in their first year of operation and certainly appear to fit the “live, work, play” environment that Tauranga envisions for this rapidly growing part of New Zealand. n

Education Review series ICT & Procurement 2011

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New Zealand Education Review ICT & Procurement  

Information and communications technology (ICT) is an increasingly core part of education, as is procurement. The ICT & Procurement edition...

New Zealand Education Review ICT & Procurement  

Information and communications technology (ICT) is an increasingly core part of education, as is procurement. The ICT & Procurement edition...

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