Middle School Survey Results
At a PCE board meeting several months ago, the matter of expansion of Matamata Christian School to Years 9 and 10 (a Middle School) was tabled. This was then further discussed at the recent AGM. Wider association membership and school community opinion on the idea of a Middle School was canvassed via a survey. Survey results indicated widespread support for considering a middle school expansion.
Respondents were invited to provide reasons for (or against) supporting a Middle School. Of the majority that supported a Middle School, common and important themes were the priority placed by members on continuing a Christian education, reduction in travel impacts where parents wanted to continue Christian Education into the secondary years, and concerns about the prospect of having to enter the secular education if continuing with secondary education locally. There were a minority of respondents who were against middle school expansion and preferred to settle their children into full secondary school before the “high stakes” Years 11 to 13.
In light of the high levels of support for considering Middle School expansion, a small subgroup of the PCE proprietor board undertook further research and sought informal advice about possible configurations for a Middle School. These included a satellite campus of an existing Christian school, a private or home school group model, or expanding on the existing integration agreement. This was then tabled for discussion at the PCE proprietor board meeting this week. Consensus from this discussion was that looking further into the possibility of an integration agreement appears to be the best initial option to explore. Reasons included the scope to continue the special character aspects that are already valued as part of Matamata Christian School, and the advantages that Ministry of Education funding would bring if an application for integration is successful. It is perceived that this option would likely lead to relatively affordable attendance dues for our community. While there is no guarantee of acceptance of such application from the ministry of education, it appears currently to be the most suitable option.
However, the PCE board notes that achieving an integration agreement is a complex process that requires careful consideration of a number of aspects - how to teach the curriculum, what Christian content to teach, what teachers are needed, what buildings and finances are required, and what relationships may be required with other education providers to provide our students with a quality, Christian Year 9 and 10 education. It was agreed that the next step is to visit other Christian schools that have recently been through the same journey and collect more information about the process and potential pitfalls. Proprietor board members thank you for your continued prayers and support as we consider a path forward.