Posted by Simon Gundry on 02/05/2014
Cyclone Lusi arrived with a lot of fanfare and disappeared with a great lot of disappointment to most weather watchers, including my eldest son. The only decent thing we got out of it was great surf apparently, up on the East Coast. It was a lot different the Thursday before Easter with the remnants of Cyclone Ita from Australia – it gave the North Shore area one hell of a belting, the worst I can remember for many years. I have never seen Narrow Neck Beach, Cheltenham Beach or the inner harbour suffer such turmoil.
It was nature’s fury at its best, encapsulating a very high tide, and a cyclone blowing straight up the harbour. The flooding of Tamaki Drive and the Devonport waterfront was without precedent in all my memory. It all goes to show that Nature has the last word at the end of the day, and how wonderful it was to see Nature in full flight.
I think it would be a very good idea to integrate Belmont Intermediate School with Takapuna Grammar School into one identity. It would be collectively known as the Takapuna Grammar Schools. I believe Intermediate schools to be a thing of the past. The reason for this is, they are all on the same piece of ground bordering Winscombe St and Lake Road. All the pupils come from the same socio economic areas and the majority of Belmont Intermediate pupils end up at Takapuna Grammar anyway. I believe there would be huge cost savings for both current identities. The pupils would start at Year 7 with the knowledge they would go through the Grammar system until Year 13. They would not have to, as they currently do, change their thinking with the big step of going on to a secondary school.
I believe it is good for the Year 7 and 8 pupils to be mentored by the Year 12 or 13 students at the ‘big school’ it gives the younger ones someone to look up to and teaches the older ones to care for the younger ones. I also think it would be helpful for the teachers to have some sort of background for the Year 7’s and 8’s as they come through, and guide them into choosing their subjects wisely for their secondary school years. It also gives the pupils a great sense of community in their school, with a wide spread of ages as they go through, much the same as a family. I’m sure there would be cost savings, with uniforms alone. It seems silly to have everything branded for one school for two years and then have to start all over again at secondary level.
With regards to administration and support staff, there must be savings of tens of thousands of dollars as everything is doubled up currently within the two school system. When it comes to headmasters, you could have a Headmaster for the Senior school, who is overall in charge and a first Lieutenant type teacher as head of the Junior School. The school would be approximately 2500 pupils. To
my way of thinking, the parental support and support from the Community would enhance the amenities for the school as the Grammar School currently needs a few more amenities, but the most desperate one needed is a new swimming pool. The current pool was built in the 1960’s. The pool area could be very easily converted to into a 50 metre covered complex to be used by not only the school,
but all the community. We’d have to overcome some of the whingers up on Winscombe Street to allow this to happen.
This whole concept has worked very well at two of the North Shore’s most respected schools, Rosmini College and Carmel College. The integration of the Year 7 pupils into the schools from primary school has not been a big deal at all. In fact, it’s been a lot easier on the kids starting their secondary school years, not having the big upheaval of starting all over again.
I’ve had a couple of observances whilst wandering around the Devonport area at Easter time – why would somebody build a block of concrete apartments on the waterfront adjacent to the former gracious old Masonic Hotel and use timber
construction in the upper floors? Why would they not just construct concrete floors to those areas to save all the squeaking and creaking of timber floors? Is it cost cutting or plain ignorance?
Another point is, doesn’t the Windsor Reserve look so lovely without the library there? What a wonderful expanse of reserve land we have been enhanced with, and how come we are spending $10 million on building a new library on this piece of reserve land?
And, why was Devonport invaded by parking wardens over the Easter Weekend? Are they not entitled to holidays also? Or do we need those parking
revenues to go towards the construction of the new library?